After reading thread after thread of people bemoaning Christmas knitting–people too hard to knit for, too picky to please, too ungrateful–I considered writing a thread about why these knitters would bother. And then Genuine had to do it first and much better, so go ahead and read her highly amusing Polemic on Holiday Knitting. Just remember to come back…
Are you back? Good.
Instead, I figured now I’d write about why I am knitting for Christmas. This is a first for me–last Christmas my skills were at a level where I wouldn’t have been willing to inflict the finished product on my worst enemy. This year, I’m working on something I know I can complete successfully, because I’ve done it already. It’s also easy and fun to knit, and the end product is useful.
(You know, it’s a little hard to talk about these projects so…circumspectly. “The end product” isn’t exactly an inspiring description. But I suspect at least one future recepient might be a blog reader, so…anyway, I’m digressing. Again.)
Hardcore Christmas knitting sufferers right now are probably screaming at their computer screen: “No! No! Don’t do it! It will cause you unending agony! It will destroy your relationship! It will cause you to wake up screaming every year for a month starting on Black Friday! (Or maybe Black Monday, if you’re an internet shopper!) Whatever–just NO!”
You can go ahead and stop screaming now; it won’t do you any good. In the second place, I can’t hear you over the internet. But in the first place, none of that will happen. And not because I know the recepients will be delirious with joy over the gift…but because it’s okay if they’re not.
It seems to me, from my research (also known as reading threads on knitting forums) that the biggest problem with Christmas knitting is expectations. Too many knitters seem to expect that just because they searched for hours for the perfect pattern, bought the most expensive yarn they could find, and knit their fingers bloody, the giftee should faint with delight, wear/use the item every day for the rest of his/her life, dedicate a book of thank-you poetry to the knitter, and sing the knitter’s praises to all and sundry. No wonder knitters are devastated when those fingerless gloves get a confused look and they get a, “Oh…that’s nice. Um…thanks.”
Me, I don’t expect any of the above. A well-known Ravelry wise woman pointed out, in response to a question about handcrafted gifts, that a gift should be given “freely and without reserve.” That’s what I’m doing. I am knitting these items simply for the joy of gifting them to people I love. I am having fun knitting them, and I did my best in trying to make them into something the recepients will love. But that doesn’t mean they have to in order for me to be happy…and that’s part of why these are not the giftees’ primary gifts. It’s just a little something I’ve knit for them from my heart because I care for them. And if they love them and wear them to rags, that’s just an added bonus.
But if they open the present and say, “Oh…that’s nice. Um…thanks”…there won’t be any Black Friday nightmares in my future.