Posted by: jinniver | December 7, 2008

Why I WILL be knitting for Christmas

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.)

knitting for Christmas 1

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.

knitting for Christmas 2

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.

knitting for Christmas 3

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.



  1. Ahh, you sound so Zen and so free, so detatched. I tend to THROW myself into things, so it’s hard for me to feel that way, but I know that, honestly, when you GIVE something, it should be for the receiver. Which is why I’m buying gifts, since I can’t think of a family member that wants anything that I would knit—at least, not that I could knit in the time until xmas!

  2. This is why I knit things, that feedback has decreed the recipients will like. One SIL loves my handknit socks. She even came to visit around Memorial Day, and bought the yarn this year. Another wound up with dishcloths for her bridal shower last year, and wanted more for Christmas last year, and more this year. FIL is impossible to knit for, so I let hubby pick out whatever tools or gadgets he might like, and MIL recently started wearing a stole I knit her a couple of years ago and gets all kinds of complements on it (and needed help on reblocking it since it was getting longer and narrower). Most other handknits have been scarves or hats–not the most exciting things, maybe, but easy (if endless) knitting. And the hubby doesn’t usually get the handknits–because he never wears the scarf, and has only worn the socks a few times.

  3. OOooo!… the blue/teal pic looks just like the yak down I made my fingerless mitts out of!
    I am also knitting (a few things) for Christmas.

    love your site ;D

  4. Good for you. 🙂

    The gift is for them but the knitting is for you. We should always keep it that way.

  5. you are entirely too sensible. I don’t expect falling off the chair gratitude, but after I spend 100 in yarn don’t ask if I’m “saving money this year” just say thank you. I have cut my Christmas knitting to my daughter, my mom, a girl at work, a friend in San Antonio, and some annonymous seniors at the nursing home our church “adopts” and now I have the offseason afghan to work on. I’m sure those kids appreciate them too.

  6. Any gift has the possibilty to delight or dismay the recipient- why not give one that gives you joy to make it.

  7. I generally don’t knit for Christmas, mostly because I don’t like deadlines! Sometimes I’ll knit a gift, but only if it’s small and unexpected and I can sub something else if the project goes south…


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