A handmade gift can go terribly wrong but it can also go wonderfully right . . .
Imagine you’re in love.
Everything is going so well and seems so perfect.
But you’ve been invited to Christmas at his grandparents’ house and need to get a gift for his grandmother.
The pressure is on . . .
Oh, and, by the way, his grandmother is the Queen of England.
I love the story about now-Duchess Kate, who found herself with this dilemma.
How do you impress the woman who has everything? How do you set the right tone, hit the right mark, choose the right gift?
Kate Middleton seems to have gotten it just right. She turned loving hands to the task and made her gift, chutney from her own grandmothers’ recipe.
According to the reports, Kate says she thought, “’I’ll make her something.’ Which could have gone horribly wrong. But I decided to make my granny’s recipe of chutney.” Kate was reassured when the chutney appeared on the table at dinner the next day.
It seems we can learn quite a lot from Kate’s decision and from Queen Elizabeth’s response.
From Kate we learn to trust our instincts. A handmade gift, done reasonably well, communicates differently than any purchased gift can. It speaks to a confidence that the receiver will understand the gesture and be moved by it. It acknowledges that gifts are about something other than cost. And it hints at Kate’s respect for and connection to her own family, to use her grandmother’s recipe.
From the Queen we learn that it’s important to use and enjoy a handmade gift in the presence of the giver. I think the handmade gift giver is often anxious about the reception of such a gift. Is it good enough? Will the receiver think the gift is tacky or that the giver is a cheapskate? Will the receiver understand the spirit in which the gift was made and given?
Kate Middleton took a chance and Queen Elizabeth understood and appreciated it. And from this, one expects, a certain kind of connection was made that should serve them well.
So, you, you with a gift for baking or knitting or growing beautiful flowers—trust your gift and make a gift of it to others.
And you who receive such gifts—use them and enjoy them in the presence of the person who did the making.
After all, if it works for the Queen of England and the Duchess of Cambridge, it can certainly work for the rest of us!