Making stuff has been a critical component of my preparations for Christmas ever since the early year my mum suggested I make chocolate fudge for presents for my sibs, and then helped me do it. I still remember putting the perfect squares she cut into newly-washed plastic food tubs, which we'd wrapped with pieces of Christmas paper to conceal their origins.
(actually, now that I think of it, this is still an awesome gift idea. and so much quicker than socks!)
I think my problem now is that the days when I was sensible and made something special for just one person per year are long past. Lately it's more likely that I will buy something special for just one person, and make for all the rest.
And this way lies the crazy. Who can keep that up year after year without starting in, say, June and working right through till December without a sideways glance at a personal knit?
This year, it's gonna be different
This year, I find myself in the odd position of putting the holiday back into perspective by shopping. But I am shopping in the same spirit I do the making: with a focus on small pieces of happy. See, the way I figure it, everybody who celebrates it has complicated feelings about Christmas, unless you're three years old and it's all magic and love and new toys and getting to stay up late. But one thing that we are all pretty likely have in common?
We all get at least a few minutes of down time. Or less frenetic time. And most of us are ready for it - we're pretty tired after a whole other year of life.
Even a purchased gift that lovingly captures that moment is, as far as I'm concerned, always great - and if you find a thing that's really special and universal, why not buy ten? It's not always necessary to match 'the perfect thing' to 'the perfect person' after all. The really core people in your life? okay. but the many other people you want to reach out to at this time can be touched by something much simpler. Something delicious to eat, something lovely to look at, something soft and cozy to put on, a lyrical book to read: ideal.
Even more ideal: me not filling the entire season with out of control stitching that leaves me a nervous wreck.
This year... okay, maybe not so different
Of course I say this even as I am stocking up on the crazy.
1/ Last week I sent off for a bunch of craft materials to do a really big Make that is over the top unnecessary... but if I don't have time in the end, I can always do the Make over the holiday anyway and have it ready for next year.
2/ Remember the blue and black scarf I wove that I ended up not feeling good enough about to give it away? Well, I decided on a perfect solution and set aside two lovely things I'd bought ready made (but made with love and skill by artisans in their respective fields) to compensate. And then yesterday I got a great idea for a different, more perfect, and much faster Make. GAH. You know I'm not gonna be able to leave that one alone.
3/ Gift socks. What was I thinking, casting them on three weeks from their gifting day? And then putting them aside to knit another present for myself? (more on that tomorrow.)
4/ Pattern-making. Yep, I am on that track again, working on an easy fast unisex pattern to share for last minute use if you find yourself stuck with eight or so knitting hours to fit in between all the other things you're doing right now.
5/ Wrapping. In the past, presents have gone out my door in a brown paper lunch bag tied shut with a piece of scrap yarn run through hole-punched eyelets. Apparently that's not good enough for me this time because I've been stockpiling pretty labels and tissue.
On the upside
I do have a survival plan. I typed up a schedule for all my downtime between now and December 23 (at which point I plan to give up and go with what I've got) and I can toss out all sorts of too-evil schemes as I go if they start to bog me down.
Think I can pull this off? Think you can? (yeah, I know you're in the same boat!)
Have a great day - see you tomorrow, with pictures of knitting.