Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gifting Your Hobby

Hobbies are wonderful ways to spend our time doing something we really enjoy. Many people find that they can while away the hours working on their hobby without much thought to the clock. Then they look up to discover that they have spent four hours working on a project and are well on their way to a finished piece.

One of the problems, though, is that these people often find that they cannot find space for all of their hobbies. For example, I have been writing about my new hobby painting birdhouses. I love the hobby, and it is one I plan to continue. I have to be honest with myself, though. There is only so much space at my house for birdhouses. So I must consider what I will do with my birdhouses when I have enough to go in my own space.

Gifting your hobby is one of the most compassionate gifts you can give, and it is one that I believe I will do with my birdhouses when I am done. You can give something that you have made to people who need it, such as the elderly in nursing homes. You also can donate your hobby products to stores that will sell them for fundraisers. For example, if you make greeting cards, that may be a great gift to give out to people in nursing homes, particularly because they are unique and personalized. Many of these people do not get many visitors or gifts, so donations of either are appreciated. If your hobby is something like singing or playing a musical instrument, then you definitely can perform for people who would love to see a show.

You also can donate the fruits of your hobby labors to groups that can donate them. For example, if you craft angels, you can donate a couple to the Salvation Army or to your local PTO. Those groups often have fundraisers that they do to raise money for their causes, and they can use your hobby donations for their auctions. Many groups also use items to give away at prizes, and your hobby can come in handy there. If your hobby is doing repairs, such as on televisions, radios, or even cars, then there are plenty of charity groups that could use your talents! Many of these groups need refurbished items that they can give out to people in need or that they can sell, so you can volunteer your time to help them out.

You even can go one step farther here if you are really devoted to a cause. Let us pretend that you are interested in the gay right movement, and you make scarves, t-shirts, and other rainbow-themed items. If you are not interested in selling your items but want to keep making them, set up a deal with your local pride group. Set up a booth (for free, of course) at their annual festival and sell your products, donating the proceeds to their cause. You also can set up fundraisers specifically with your product; just be sure that you can keep up with a large number of orders.

The final place to gift your hobby is to give them to friends and family. This year, you can make presents for your family members instead of buying them. These gifts are wonderful because they are less expensive for you (in most cases) than buying a gift from the store. They also can be personalized. If you are into woodworking and staining, you can make nameplates for your nieces, nephews, and little cousins. Those gifts mean more than something you picked up at the local superstore on your way home. You will be spending more time and energy on each person, and that means a lot to the people receiving the gift. Of course, you will have fun while you are making the gift as well, which will make it wonderful for you.

Gifting your hobby is a great way to feel good, not only about the hobby you have selected but about how you are spending your time. So often, people are content to spend their time in front of the television, but making items to gift to other people is a much better use of your evenings that watching another CSI marathon.

By Julia Mercer

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