Etsy gets it right with a simple human truth about gift giving

—Touching, thoughtful Christmas advertising is a lot like that ugly pillow you made for your mom in home economics, says Craig Redmond—

In grade nine home economics class, I sewed a throw pillow for my mom for her Christmas present. Its cover was made of orange burlap that was so coarse it would shred the skin off your face more efficiently than a cheese grater. And the stuffing inside was made of an equally rough poly-fill that felt like shards of glass sticking through.

Aesthetically, it was as much an epic failure as it was flawed in its ergonomics. I piloted the sewing machine like a drunk Zamboni driver, so the stitching was outrageously askew. And the crudely cut, yellow felt sun hand sewn onto the pillow’s front resembled something more akin to a hastily fried omelette.

It may have been the greatest criminal aberration in the history of interior design. And it must have been especially frightful to someone like my mom, who was an expert seamstress in her own right.

But that ugly pillow sat on the rocking chair in my folks’ den for a lifetime, and would still be there if they hadn’t finally downsized. My mom was so enamoured with my handcrafted—er… hand butchered gift—because it was made with my heart, not bought from a store, she would explain.

It’s that simple human truth and important difference that lies at the soul of this lovely Christmas campaign for Etsy.  And it’s what restored some of my faith in our ability to tell touching, thoughtful Christmas stories that happen to sell products along the way. Instead of product ads that happen to befall the Christmas calendar.

And while helping exorcise the inner Ebenezer demons that haunted me while critiquing this year’s British Christmas ads, these spots also reminded me of a mother’s loving pride in her son, despite his dextrously challenged, mechanically woeful, and artistically hopeless self.

So, this is for her and all the other loving and merciful moms out there just like her.

Our Santa

Bus Stop

The Recipe

Craig Redmond is a Creative Leader with Palmer Stamnes and Co, an independent family of marketing communication companies.