Sunday, May 2, 2010

alphabears: the case for handmade gifts

I must have been in pre-school when my aunt drew my name for the Christmas gift exchange. I don't remember receiving the alphabears she made for me, but I remember playing with them often. What is an alphabear?

An alphabear is one in a set of twenty-six handmade bears, each made from its own unique fabric, each with its own unique letter of the alphabet. These alphabears left an inpression on me long after I could recite my ABCs by heart. Sometimes I would think of them when I was older. I could still remember the pattern of the fabric of the letter N. I could still remember the soft fuzziness of the letter E. I wondered what happened to them. Did they surive our two family moves?


One weekend I was sitting in my mother's living room about a year ago. In the middle of a conversation between my husband and my mother I spotted my bag of alphabears in the corner. I shrieked and darted across the room turning the bag over and spilling alphabears onto the floor. I started spelling words and examining my favorite bears while my husband looked at his thirty year old wife like she was crazy.

The next day at a family gathering I showed my aunt the alphabears and explained how happy I was to see them again; how special they were to me. With tears in her eyes she explained how her family did not have much money that Christmas and she could not afford to buy me a present. She told me that she had to raid her mother in law's fabric scraps to come up with twenty-six different fabrics. She said that she drew and hand cut each letter because it was cheaper than buying pre-cut letters. I could see her reliving that difficult time in her life; a time when she gave a handmade gift out of neccesity. I'm sure she was concerned that her handmade gift was not as good as a store bought gift. And yet her gift was more special to me then and more special to me now than any store bought gift she would have purchased.

So when you need to give someone a gift and you aren't sure if your handmade gift measures up; remember the alphabears!!!

14 comments:

Rebecca said...

I love them!!! What a wonderful gift and what a great story.

dottycookie said...

I love them. Our beloved reception class teacher is due with twins soon and I've been trying to think of a gift to make for her 4 year old son so he doesn't feel left out. Alphabears will be PERFECT.

areyoukiddingme said...

Those are fantastic! I swear, I'm going to learn to sew. Immediately.

Gumbo Lily said...

What a terrific idea and what a gift!!
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Jody

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

What a wonderful story! I think I need to make these for my granddaughter. Thank you for sharing.

olivia said...

i love this story! i love the alphabears! i want to make these, thanks for the idea.

Colleen said...

What a great story and what a wonderful toy! I think these would be a great gift for any child. :) Thanks for sharing them with us. I have some barbie clothes someplace that my mom made for me, out of necessity/lack of money. I specifically remember an orange printed dress that she made for my one barbie doll. I think handmade gifts have some much love in them, they can't help but be remembered and loved themselves.

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

Hi Megan! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice note. These little guys are so sweet! Great idea. Warm regards, Connie

M. Lubbers said...

That's a wonderful story. My family has also recently cut back on our gift-giving budget, and I have been wondering how my handmade gifts have been perceived. I hope as well as your aunt's!

Carolyn said...

What a lovely lovely story. Sometimes you spend so much time making something for your kids and they instantly move on - sometimes something you make just sticks.

Thanks for stopping over at my blog - I'm following you now :)

Cook Clean Craft said...

They are so cute! I'll have to make a set for my son (and number 2 on the way). What a great idea - and I can see how much you loved them.

Thanks for stopping by CookCleanCraft, and for some more inspiration!

LenaBug said...

I am totally making a set of these for my new (first) neice's birthday!! :) Thank you for the wonderful, heart-warming story, and the great idea! :)

Rae said...

Oh wow what a cool story! It makes me think more about the toys I can make for my babies.

Bionic Baby Mama said...

great story *and* an idea i will very likely be stealing one of these days.

Sugar and I have been too broke for store-bought gifts for a few years, and it is certainly stressful, even though we try to make things people will like and so on.

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