In times past, but not remote, icons were a strong part of the resistance in the Church against the iconoclasm and oppression du jour. They can still be used very effectively in this way.
The people would buy an icon (or more) from a master-iconographer or the advanced students in the master’s workshop, have it blessed in the appropriate manner and set it up with ceremony in their home. Those unable to afford an original icon would make sacrifices to buy one – that is how vital the icon was considered to be in regard to one’s relationship with God, one’s faith and the Christian spiritual journey. They would never dream of buying something plastic when this started to exist. Others would trade some of the tools they used in everyday life – for example, farmer’s tools – for a real icon until they could pay for it. Yet others would take lessons over a period of time in order to learn how to write an icon or two for themselves, which was cheaper in the long run than buying a single icon outright – in particular if one then managed to get set up writing icons for the whole neighborhood. Read the rest here.