Friday, November 17, 2006

NO SOCKS FOR YOU!!! I'm not gonna knit one damn thing for the holidays. Not. gonna. do. it.

I was sitting at my folk's week-early Thanksgiving dinner last night and my mother, bless her heart, love the woman, but she's making me grey early (payback for my teens and 20's I know), anyway, the woman was making fun of the socks I knit for Jeff. Here's the love of my life, WEARING the socks I knit for him with all the love in my heart. They were the very first pair of socks I ever made and it warms my heart to see him wear them. I love that about him. Mom was cracking up because they were so wild and colorful. They were in the plainest, most blandest colorway of artyarns I could find. I'd pointed them out to mom because she had mentioned she'd like to try a pair of my knitted socks with the thicker wool and I wanted her opinion on the style of the stitching. I had been shopping around to try to find just the right yarn for her, worsted but superwash and soft, and was getting ready to spend money and time on this gift of love for the woman.

THEN she told the funny story about the wrist warmers I made her last year. She wore them to school and one of her students asked her about them. She told the girl her daughter made them for her. The student asked "Was she too poor to make the rest of the gloves?" OH the whole table laughed. My mom had tears running out of her eyes. I chuckled, ha ha funny funny.

The old Christine would have been wounded. Upset. This new and improved Christine realized it just makes life easier for her. Hence the Seinfeld Soup Nazi theme....NO SOCKS FOR YOU!!! Then I came to a realization..... this could be scandalous in a knititng blog, but here it is...

I'm not knitting one damn thing for a Christmas present! Not gonna do it. Seriously.

I came to that realization last night. Every freaking holiday season I make my self crazy, shopping, running around, buying massive amounts of yarn, counting down the time not just to the day we're celebrating with each person, but the TIME of actual present opening, knitting, crocheting frantically until the last possible moment the finished beast gets stuffed unceremoniously into a bag with a piece of crumpled up tissue paper (recycled from holidays past) crammed on top of it. Normally I have about 4-6 separate holiday celebrations at different homes in different cities on different days. My sense of holiday spirit isn't one of "joy to all" but "GET OUT OF THE GAWDDAMN WAY I'VE GOT TO GET TO MY FRIKKING BAG DAMMIT!!!! I CAN'T GO TO SLEEP YET, THERE'S STILL 4 AND A HALF INCHES TO GO ON THIS DAMN THING!!!....." rinse and repeat. and repeat. and repeat. and repeat.

I'm not very pleasant when I get stressed. It's not pretty. I had an actual ephiphany on the drive home. What if I actually ENJOYED the holiday season this year? Simplified our lives down to what matters? Family. Friends. Food. The whole baby Jesus Christmas story? All that good stuff. What an amazing idea. Could I do that? Is it against some rule of knitting if I'm not bleary-eyed and raving like a lunatic by Dec. 21st? Isn't it?

For example, off the top of my head, last holiday season I made...6 pair of wrist warmers, 4 scarves, 2 felted bags, a dozen felted crocheted flower pins, 24 plastic canvas coasters (6 sets of 4) with plastic canvas holder box things, a crocheted capelet, a knitted toddler poncho, a crocheted and then woven afghan for Jeff, and a lacy baby blanket crocheted for my nephew's baptism in early January. I am not one of those craft the whole year in preparation for Christmas people. Nope, I had a NOVEMBER start for most of those babies, and actually started many in the middle of December. I didn't sleep, I hardly ate, I was a raving lunatic. No joy in the creation, almost no joy in the giving. I've been like this since I can remember way back in my childhood.

I will still be knitting and crocheting, don't get me wrong. I haven't lost my entire damn mind. The things I've knitted or crocheted or sewn for others give me as much joy to create as it does those who receive the gifts. All the rest of the year, I knit socks or scarves or gloves or whatever and can think about the person I'm creating the item for instead of how many minutes I've got left to cram this thing together. I do actually make things with love in every stitch, as corny as that may sound. I pulled out a few items I'd like to finish that I bought in one of my late December runs to the craft store, LYS, etc manic trips. I'm working on a crocheted blanket for my son (that I started LAST Dec. 15th) and would like to finish that matching doll & child quilt for my daughter. If I happen to finish them in time for Christmas, I'll give it to them then. If not, I'll give it to them on a Tuesday or a Thursday or whatever day it happens to be finished. For now, I'm going back to my socks. With no stress whatsoever.

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