Make It an Arts and Crafts Holiday

Thanksgiving, besides being my favorite holiday, is always a transitional weekend. For most of us, it signals the end of Fall and the beginning of Winter, the final blowing of the leaves and the first parking of the car inside the garage. Which, in my case, also means it is time to start moving my stuff from Leigh Ann’s half of the garage back onto my side: projects I never quite got started or finished, extra woodworking tools, and boxes I had planned to open, sort and organize this summer.

For most of us level-headed individuals, it also means that this week, not last Grey Thursday or Black Friday, is the true beginning of the gift shopping season for us. One advantage of our family growing older and farther apart geographically is that we are less dependent on holiday gifts to fill our basic needs. If it is important, we figure out a way to get it, regardless of the time of year. And if it is not, as more and more things seem to be, then why waste the time, energy or money on it?

Being the Arts and Crafts collectors that we are, regardless whether our focus happens to be antique Weller pottery or contemporary Frank Glapa metalware, gives us a distinct advantage over the typical holiday shopper. We don’t have to buy someone on our list another pair of gloves they don’t need, another kitchen gadget destined to break in six months, or a sweater they’ll never wear.

We can make it an Arts and Crafts Christmas.

But even we can fall prey to the lure of the neon lights, the super savings sales, and the lines of lemmings slowly filing into crowded parking lots and off their own fiscal cliff.

But when we remind ourselves that we can give, in the often repeated words of William Morris, something that is both beautiful and useful, then shopping for the holidays becomes an enjoyable experience.

Provided you avoid the weekends.

If you are fortunate to have an antiques shop nearby that specializes in Arts and Crafts, drop in and take a closer look at what is tucked away in those glass display cases: a sterling silver pin, a Roycroft letter opener, an unsigned tile, a small vase or bowl, or a pair of bookends. All handcrafted, all Arts and Crafts, all better than any sweater.

And don’t forget your living craftsmen and craftswomen, both online and in galleries. With a few clicks of your keyboard you can have access to nearly every contemporary craftsfirm in the country: handcrafted jewelry, pottery, tiles, furniture, lighting and artwork, all waiting for you to choose it over something pushed out the backdoor of a Chinese sweatshop.

Make this an Arts and Crafts holiday. It’s a win-win opportunity for everyone: the antiques dealer, the craftsperson, the person on your list, and you.

Give the gift that truly does keep on giving.

Until next Monday,

Have a great week!

– Bruce