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Uncle laughs at 12-year-old niece's homemade Christmas gift, 'it looked really bad.'

Uncle laughs at 12-year-old niece's homemade Christmas gift, 'it looked really bad.'


In order to become a good artist you have to make a lot of bad art.

Art, like any skill set, takes practice before you develop the technical skills and 'muscles' to create something both you and others feel pride in.

On top of that, the concept of 'good art' is deeply subjective in itself. Style, medium, and personal preference all go a long way toward determining how people will respond to any given piece of art.

All this is to say, if you've ever looked at the work of a budding artist, or you've made art yourself, you know just how steep and difficult the learning curve is.

A little support goes a long way when it comes to encouraging an artist to keep going. But a lot of people, particularly those not in the arts, don't know how to give that.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for laughing at his niece's homemade Christmas gift.

He wrote:

AITA for laughing at my niece's gift?

My 12-year old niece is really into arts and crafts, and recently got into crocheting. Before Christmas, she told me that she had a surprise gift for me, and seemed really excited about it.

I told her I was really looking forward to it as well, and prepared her gift myself (which was actually art supplies). On Christmas when we had our family gathering, she brought me her gift, and was super excited for me to open it.

When I opened it, I saw a crocheted animal, but if I'm being honest, it looked REALLY REALLY bad. To give you an idea of what it looked like, imagine something from r/badtaxidermy but in crochet form.

I couldn't help but burst out laughing, and I couldn't stop laughing no matter how hard I tried to suppress it, so I had to excuse myself to go to the washroom, where I locked myself for nearly 10 minutes.

When I came out, my niece was in tears with her parents trying to console her, and I apologized profusely and told her that I really liked her gift, but she kept crying and shouted at me, calling me a liar and that she sucked at art.

My niece avoided me for the vast majority of the party after that. I tried to make her feel better by displaying her gift on my living room cabinet.

But my wife pulled me aside later in the day and told me to take it down after the party because it was in her words, 'really ugly' and made her uncomfortable.

Surprisingly, all the adults were very understanding of my situation, but I feel really bad because I feel like I destroyed my niece's confidence, and I'm not sure how I can make it up to her.

The thread soon filled up with suggestions for how OP should move forward in his relationship with his niece.

schoobydoo42 wrote:

YTA. She's twelve and she worked really hard on something. Man, it breaks my heart just to think about her getting laughed at. Poor kiddo.

Edit: OP if you see this, I bet there are a ton of us who would love to buy one of your niece's crocheted creations if you can get her to start making them again, and help her with an Etsy shop. I'll buy the first one.

Edit 2: Really wasn't expecting this to be the top comment. And a lot of people have rightfully suggested that maybe the next best step isn't the niece selling her creations on the internet. Point taken.

But I'd still totally buy one of these crocheted animals, so hopefully someday I can.

LimitlessMegan wrote:

Holy sh*t. YTA and so is your wife.

BTW if you actually want to fix this, this is what you do.

You look up “amigurumi” (which is what she was doing and you find a class or a book that makes something your nice would like. YOU BUY IT. You look at the supplies needed for the project and you make a shopping list.

You call your niece (not her parents, her) and you apologize profusely. You tell her you know you behaved rudely and hurt her and that was wrong.

Then you tell her that you learned that making crochet animals is called amigurumi and that you now know it’s actually really challenging.

You tell her that you don’t want her to feel discouraged from making art, and that sometimes learning something takes more time.

Then you tell her that. Apologize and show her that this is about learning and practice, you’d like her to teach YOU how to make one.

Tell her you bought the book/class and you’d like the two of you to do it together and she’ll be your tutor (because she already knows the basics).

Tell her that it’s only right you experience how hard that animal was for her to make so she knows your apology is sincere.

Send the shopping list to niece + parent so they can tell you what niece sissy has and what you’ll need to buy two of. Buy the shipping list.

Make a date to work on the project together and actually follow through.

THAT’S how you sincerely apologize and help her to know she doesn’t suck at art and encourage her to keep going. It’s also how you get some perspective on what it took for your niece to make what she made.

booksycat wrote:

Any normal adult knows a kid MADE THEM A GIFT braces for the worst with a smile on their face. The fact that it took you over 10 minutes to pull it together says a lot about you.

You tell people their babies are ugly too, don't you? Absolutely YTA.

sfjc wrote:

This story makes me appreciate my family all that much more. My 12-year-old likes making things out of cardboard. For the family this year, she made mid-evil weapons for them all.

I was not sure how this was going to go over and was concerned because no matter how silly the idea may sound, she put a lot of work into them and spent a lot of time figuring out who should get what.

Better than the weapons themselves was the way she wrapped them. To my delight and hers, the family loved them.

The image that will stay with me forever is Mom trying to stab my nephew with her sword and Dad swinging the mace she made him. The only thing better was the look on my kid's face.

Dapper__Hippo wrote:

YTA. Laughing at a gift somebody was looking forward to giving you is just mean. You've likely permanently damaged your niece's self-image with your inappropriate reaction.

OP needs to do something big and intentional if he wants to save his relationship with his niece, and even with that, this may have irreparably damaged their connection.

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