On not knitting for the holidays, while knitting in the holidays

This year I decided not to knit any Christmas gifts.  This might not seem like a big deal, but for a knitter with little time for knitting, this was a fantastically free-ing decision.  I knit a beautiful hat for Doug a few weeks ago.  Instead of trying to knit it in bits and pieces while he was not in the room and worrying about deadlines, I knitted it, blocked it, and then plopped it on his head with a “This is for you!”.  When it was done, I was able to go with the flow for a few weeks of no-knitting-mojo without having holiday-induced panic, and then spend time contemplating which project I felt like casting on next.  How different from the last few years where I struggled to get a far too unrealistic amount of knitting projects done for Christams gifting and managed to stress myself out about it to boot.

Let’s consider two facts:

  1. Holidays are stressful.  No matter which holidays you celebrate, and no matter how much you may love them, holidays – particularly those that entail gatherings of family and friends – involve a lot of work.  There is the physical work – cleaning, shopping, baking, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and, dare I mention, more cleaning.  There is the psychological work – planning, budgeting, coordinating, fretting (my specialty).  And then there is the emotional work – keeping a houseful of friends and family from killing each other, or at the very least from fighting over politics, the state of the world, or who really ate the last piece of pumpkin pie.
  2. Knitting is supposed to be the opposite of stress.  Knitting is what we do to relax.  It is our yoga, our meditation, our glass of merlot, and our flu shot wrapped into one.  It allows us to zone out and to let the creative juices flow, to forget about work, the news, and other pesky things.

Given these two facts, I would like to suggest, dear Reader, that turning your knitting from relaxing hobby to “just-one-more-thing-that-has-to-be-done-before-the-holiday-damn-it!” is counter-productive.  If you don’t believe me, give it a try next year!

On the other hand, doing some relaxing knitting over the holidays is a fantastic idea and one which I can highly recommend.  What a sensible, fun, and creative way to cope with all of the stress, and to keep your hands busy while enjoying time with friends and family!  (Note that it also gives one a great excuse to avoid cleaning: “I just need to finish this row before I can wash up, dear!”)

I have had a grand time knitting over the past few days.  I cast on a new pullover last Friday, and in five days of knitting, I managed to knit both sleeves (in the round on DPNs), and do the ribbing for the body:

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This will be a gift (but NOT a “holiday gift”) for Leah.  I have had some trouble photographing this because the grey looks washed out, but here is a shot taken inside which is true to the actual colours:

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Here is hoping that whatever holidays you celebrate, you spend some lovely, relaxing time knitting IN the holidays, and avoid knitting FOR the holidays.  That said, I’m off to do some knitting…

7 thoughts on “On not knitting for the holidays, while knitting in the holidays

  1. All good points! I always wind up gift knitting, or at least gifting things I have knit. In part because it’s something I can make people, and I like to give handmade gifts, but also because it’s cheaper, and money is tight the past few years. How is it cheaper, you ask? Well, I would be knitting anyway, might as well knit presents! I do try to plan ahead so I am not scrambling, and I am not above wrapping a WIP, as I did with a sweater for Mom this year. I didn’t stress over it as I had no chance of finishing it, I knew that going in. I will get it done in the next few weeks, and she will be happy.

    Love that sweater you are making Leah! Very nice!

  2. I don’t join in the celebrations, and confess feeling very lucky not to when I see how much stress most people pile upon themselves at this time of the year. I much prefer unexpected gifts that come from the heart. I just went on about my knitting as usual. These sleeves already look beautiful, can’t wait to see the finished product, which I’m sure will be greatly enjoyed by the recipient.

  3. You know…I’ve always wanted to knit gifts for Christmas, but I never organized myself to do it. I don’t think I want to do it either. I don’t have enough time in the day / week / year to knit in the first place. I’ll gift some things, but it will be done on my time. I love these points, knitting is a stress reliever–I don’t want to add that kind of stress when I’m supposed to be relaxing.

  4. Agreed! Way back in 2010, I knit a bunch of presents and I did not even get a thank you from some of the people, and the others said they did did not want to use them “because they were too pretty.” And thus ended my very brief experience with Christmas knitting. I now only knit a couple of dishcloths for my one cousin who appreciates them, and this is a very low-stakes Christmas knitting. It is VERY freeing. I don’t really understand Christmas knitting, because even if your family and friends love you, do they really understand the time and money commitment that knitting a nice project for them is? Usually not.

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