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Up until the Industrial Revolution, all gifts were handmade. However, mass-produced items soon replaced handmade gifts, leading to a small cultural backlash against mass-produced gifts. In the early 1930’s a group of advertisement writers devised a manifesto to explain the superiority of handmade to mass-produced gifts. Their reasons are:
- Handmade items are able to distinguish themselves from the uniformity of mass production and are one-of-a-kind.
- The gift giver makes the item with the recipient’s tastes in mind, making the gift more personal.
- It took more time to produce handmade items than to go out and pick out a gift for a friend, symbolizing the giver’s commitment and willingness to give their own time to please the recipient.
- Handmade items were not contaminated by profit-seeking companies.
Adapted from: The Modern Christmas in America: A Cultural History of Gift Giving by William B. Waits.