Homemade Birthday Gifts

Are homemade birthday gifts good enough? Yar!

Mail came for my daughter, Georgia. “A Pirate Party!” she could tell. “What does it say?”

“You’re invited to a Pirate Party for Lance’s birthday, that sounds fun! I wonder what kind of gift Lance would like?”

“I know! I’ll make him a pirate doll of me and a pirate doll of him!”

“Wow, that sounds great!” I said, worrying about what that might entail.

“…and I’ll make him a pirate sword too!” she continued.

“Ohhhkay, we’ll see how much we can get made before the party.” I advised.

Georgia has a great book filled with pirate, princess and wizard crafts. It’s filled with very inspiring ideas, and she turns to it a lot when she’s looking for a fun project. She knew just what she wanted to make — pirate finger puppets, with little paper pirate boots, and a cardboard and foil sword. It was settled, she was happy.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t let it lie. I kept feeling like I needed to buy something, like I needed to augment her idea with something from the store. I don’t really know Lance, but I suspect like most of the fortunate kids in her kindergarten he’s got loads of toys and not too many real needs. But something inside me couldn’t trust Georgia’s judgment.

The day before the party I asked again what Georgia wanted to do for Lance, and her answer was still the same. After she went to bed I got the materials out and did some of the preliminary (boring) work so she could just decorate the finger puppets and cut them out in the morning. I didn’t have time to do all the sword work too, but I was still imagining augmenting her present with one of the little generic things I have stashed for last minute gift emergencies. Hova suggested we give him one of our Greasy Kid Stuff CDs, he too feeling that a handmade gift wouldn’t pass muster.

Georgia painted, cut, pasted and decorated the finger puppets, and was extremely pleased with her work. “Lance will LOVE these!” she gushed. And I realized that THAT was the gift. She made something with love, for a friend that she loves, and was sure that he would love it. There was no way I was going to suggest it wouldn’t be enough.

It was a drop-off party, so I skedaddled for a while, and got back just as they were finishing up the presents. Lance’s dad came over with a huge smile. “You just missed the puppet show! Lance and Georgia put on the finger puppets and made them do a dance, it was great!” He enthusiastically showed the puppets to other waiting parents, and it was clear that they were a huge hit. And as we were leaving he said to Georgia, “When we battle with those puppets, I’m always going to be the Georgia puppet and I’ll make sure she wins every battle!”

On the way home Georgia was pleased and pensive. “That was sweet of Lance’s dad to say he’d make the Georgia puppet win.” And then a minute later she gasped, “Oh! We forgot to make the sword!” I assured her, “Those puppets were a great present, but if you want to make a sword later you can do that too.”

Lance might not remember who gave him the bubble wand, but he’ll probably remember the pirate puppets. I think I’ve learned my lesson: nothing is as good as a gift from the heart.

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