As a rule, I do not get my feelings hurt easily, so I'm gonna blame this on perimenopause weirdness. Or on general Christmas-associated grouchiness.
I love quirky things, and I especially love quirky, homemade things. I'd say probably 60% (and possibly more) of the decorative items in my house are not from stores. They are items I've purchased from artists and/or craftspeople, things I've made or up-cycled, or things other people have made for me, or things other people bought from artists/craftspeople.
While I might look at store-made stuff at Target or Hobby Lobby, I generally don't want it because those are what zillions of other people have in their homes. I like seeing the stuff in my house and remembering who made it for me or who bought it for me during their travels. I like for my house to have a story.
The problem is that not everyone values this. Some people really, really seem to value gift cards.
Now I am not anti-gift card at all. I think gift cards are the perfect gift for teachers because if even 10% of their students give them gifts every Christmas or teacher appreciation week, they will run out of room in their houses very quickly.
My family does a dirty Santa gift exchange every year, but it has gotten increasingly less fun because all everyone buys is gift cards. Gift cards with a little bit of candy tucked in the bag with the gift card.
I have made the mistake of trying to give fun, quirky gifts. A few years ago I painted a picture (the one with the rust-colored flowers), which I thought was actually kinda pretty and gave it as a gift.
Last year I went to a local business that sells fair trade items made in developing countries and bought a bowl made of curled magazine pages and a wooden sculpture for holding one's glasses. I like that these are handmade items and that the money generated from them goes to sustain people.
This year, I made a mug and a vase in pottery class.
Every year, I feel like my gifts go over like a lead balloon.
I know this is not a statement about me, although the middle-schooler who lives inside my head tends to say, "See, you've always been the black sheep, and you always will be."
I know this is more of a "We like different things" issue.
Which makes me think I might be done participating in the dirty Santa gift exchange.
I don't want to buy gift cards. I think it defeats the whole purpose of a dirty Santa exchange.
The worst part of this is it has me looking at my pottery and thinking it's crap when I know it isn't crap. It isn't great pottery, or even good pottery, but it is my pottery, and I enjoyed making it, and I think it is cool.
The above is a small bowl/tray.
Another small bowl/tray.
I am keeping this one.
These will be hung together in my house.
A little dish for kitty treats.