Before You Buy Those Christmas Gifts

Horse Sculpture by Alan Potter

“Giving gifts to others is a fundamental activity, as old as humanity itself. Yet in the modern, complex world, the particulars of gift-giving can be extraordinarily challenging.” ~ Andrew Weil

“I think it would be bad for culture and the art if artists and people who develop the apparatus to support those artists don’t get paid.” ~ Lyor Cohen

“We have to support our local artists. It’s just that simple. Otherwise, we will have no art.” ~ Al Jourgensen

My husband and I are lucky. We have lots of artist friends and our house is filled with beautiful artwork, much of which my husband has created, or traded for. Yet, only recently, since I published my first book, did I understand just how important it is to buy original artwork.

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting the gift cards so I can buy the things I’ve been wanting, and the other thoughtful gifts people give me. But the most meaningful gifts are when someone gives me original artwork. On a recent birthday my mother-in-law gave me a pair of hand carved busts of an African man and woman. I cried when I opened them, they were so beautiful. And I love the handmade earrings and necklaces, and other artwork my husband buys for me from his artist friends. And, of course, I love getting books.

This past week was the annual Art in the Park in our home town. We took Barry’s parents so they could buy a gift for their neighbors who have been picking up their mail. I thought it was nice that they wanted to give them a handmade gift. After they purchased the gift, we visited a potter friend of Barry’s. He and his wife had invited us to dinner one Christmas season when Barry’s parents were visiting. It was fun for them to connect again. Alan creates whimsical figures, mostly of animals. I have always loved his horses. As I looked around the booth I saw the beautiful horse figure pictured above and I decided to buy it. I did this following advice I recently read about supporting fellow authors. It’s important to buy their book, even if you aren’t going to read it, because it supports all the hard work they put into creating the book, and it’s good karma. I think that principle can be applied to supporting local artists as well. Art is a reflection of someone’s soul. Buying those that speak to you enriches our life. Yet, often people balk at paying so much for a piece of artwork not appreciating the time and effort expended in its creation.

One day when my sister and I were talking about the situation in this country, a kind of radical idea struck me. We have been brainwashed into thinking that buying goods and services for the least amount of money possible is a good thing. That’s why Walmart, Costco, the Dollar Store and other stores of that type have sprung up all over the country. We have been encouraged to buy cheap, kitchy stuff that we don’t really need. Slowly the idea of buying cheap, then when it breaks, buying another equally cheap item to replace it, has become the norm. We’ve never stopped to think who benefits from planned obsolesce? What happened to the notion that when we need to make a purchase, we should first consider the quality of what we want to buy?

Barry and I spent last Christmas with his family, and I was happy to hear our nephew and his wife say that they were saving money to buy a dining room set made by a local master craftsmen. It was going to be an expensive purchase, but they wanted it BECAUSE it was handmade with great care and would last many, many years. I loved that!

There are certain things that are worth spending a great deal of money on. As my father used to say, “Buy the best and you will never be sorry.” So, I’ve begun to change my ideas when it comes to buying clothing, books, and other household items. Knowing that I’ve purchased the best just makes me feel good. Buying artwork to enrich my home gives me very much the same feeling. I’m not only paying for the piece, but the time the artist spent making it, and their artistic vision.

I hope to begin a trend of showing appreciation for wonderful craftsmanship by taking the time to consider giving quality handmade Christmas gifts this year. They don’t have to be expensive, but it would be nice if they were unique and well made. If you do this, you will help support an artist so they can continue to make beautiful things for us to admire and appreciate.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and liking my posts. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

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