I know that knitters (and crafters more broadly) can work themselves into a bit of a frenzy around the holidays. I’m one of the worst offenders. I design for myself an insurmountable list of gifts I want to make for people, and then work on them like crazy as the deadline approaches. Many years I have sat up long into the night in Christmas Eve, frantically trying to finish things in time to wrap them before the rest of the family woke up the next morning. But nice as it is to give a handmade gift, is it really worth making yourself crazy over so that you will be tired, grumpy and stressed rather than able to spend a nice relaxing holiday with your family and friends?
I have always been the queen of the last-minute handmade gift. It has taken me years to learn to slow down just a little bit, and even now I am still finding excuses to add more things to the list of what I “need” to make. Knit more, bake more, how about embarking on a complicated craft project I have never done before at the last minute? Even today on December 20 I am fighting the urge to knit just one more pair of socks! But, the holiday season is stressful enough. It’s a time of massive, mostly self-inflicted stress, whether it is unnecessary shopping or unnecessary crafting. It’s easy to forget that this is supposed to be fun. That’s why we knit, crochet, spin and weave. It’s not because that’s the only way we can procure clothing. It’s not because making clothing is cheaper than buying it (we all know that’s not true). It’s about enjoying the process of making something with your hands. To not enjoy the process is defeating the point, even if it is a gift.
So, how about giving yourself a gift too this year—the gift of relaxing, spending quality time with people you care about, and remembering that making things is optional and supposed to be fun! Although I am still making plenty of gifts this year, I’m also trying to remember to take a bit of time out and enjoy the season without adding endlessly to my to-do list.