the only good thing about christmas knitting stress is trying fancy yarns!

Dealing with Christmas Knitting Stress

Christmas knitting stress is a real thing.

It’s easy to dismiss it as a pressure we put on ourselves, but I think that’s only part of the picture. I mean, you have to get presents for people, don’t you? That’s just part of the social contract, and one it’s hard to opt out of. And once you’ve set a knitted Christmas gift precedent, it’s hard to back away from it. Everything the shops have on offer – cocoa and slippers and themed cookbooks – start to seem a bit… small. Do they really express the depths of my feelings for the giftee?

Leslie Knope is known for her over-the-top gifts

I know I’m ridiculous about gifts, and especially around Christmas, but it really makes me happy to find the perfect gift. And honestly, I’d be over the moon if someone gave me cocoa or slippers or a themed cookbook: it really is the thought that counts. Usually present-hunting is a fun game, but this year, I’ve had an attack of Christmas knitting stress.

I thought everything was in hand. I started early and trimmed the list of gifts. My spreadsheet is keeping me on track with anything I haven’t delegated. But somehow, Christmas knitting stress has snuck up on me. It’s not quite time to panic, and I’m not beating myself up about my lack of progress. Hey, I’m simultaneously planning a wedding, and an international move. That’d stress anyone out.

I have completed a hat and a pair of socks… but only because I made them mid-year! They’ve just come out of their blocking bath, and are napping on the spare bed. The recipients are really knit worthy, which makes me happy.


A simple hat in nice yarn, plain Christmas knitting. Simple socks in fancy yarn.

I’m not thinking about how they still need to be wrapped.

Here’s the rest of the list:

  • Three mermaid tail snuggle sacks for my three nieces, who are all about three years old. This is the biggest chunk of work. I’m crocheting them to my own pattern, which I hope to share with you soon. They’re big, but chunky glitter yarn is fun and fast!

    Crochet with glitter yarn

  • A hat for sister in law’s father, who has just come to live with them and finds London a lot colder than Brazil. No surprises there! I think a wooly hat could help ease the transition, in more ways than one. I haven’t started this yet, or even settled on a pattern. To keep things simple, I’ll pick one from this post.
  • A drinks mitten as a joke gift for a birthday… on December 8.
  • Something cute for my (soon to be) sister in law’s baby shower… On December 17. This is also not started, and I also don’t have a pattern. I could just buy something, but I know the family will be expecting me to make something. Plus, let’s be honest: I love knitting baby things.

My game plan: I’m going to order everything by priority, and commit to at least an hour of knitting and crochet each day. I have a lot of TV lined up to watch, and I could use an excuse to take breaks from sorting out things for the move!

The mitten comes first. Because it’s nice and small, it’ll get done quick. The snuggle sacks come next. They’re an easy pattern, good for TV crochet and general de-stressing, but because they’re bulky, they’re definitely a home-project.

The hat and potential baby shower gift will be travel projects. I only have a week left at work (hooray!) but I can take lunch hours and maybe even squeeze in a few rows on my commute. I don’t have yarn or patterns yet, but that’s not a problem: that’s the other side of Christmas knitting stress, getting to try new yarns and patterns!

the only good thing about christmas knitting stress is trying fancy yarns!

If it’s starting to sound do-able, well, complicating matters is the deadline. The birthday gift in early December is just about manageable, but the rest of it is a bit stressful. We’re spending Christmas in New Zealand this year, and are flying early on December 15. This means one snuggle sack and the hat have to be delivered on the 14th at the latest.

Ideally, I’d like to have everything done by then, and be able to board that plane with only a pair of plain socks to knit on.

But of course, it’s not that easy.

I’ll have my bridal shawl to work on. Our wedding’s January 7th, but luckily the flights to get home take at least 24 hours(!), so I’ll have a big chunk of time to get it finished and nothing better to do. The beading and complicated lace is done: I need to do one more lace repeat and then the boarder. I don’t dare underestimate how long that might take though!

Then, I have two birthdays at the end of January: my sister in law’s, and my niece’s. I’ll be staying with them for the second half of January, so I’d better come up with something nice! Fortunately, I’ll be on holiday from when I board that plane in mid-December. Once I put the Christmas knitting stress behind me, it will be time for holiday crafting!

Making this list, I’ve been thinking about the cocoa and slippers and recipe books I listed at the top of the post. Would it be easier to go to the store and pick everything up? I’m really not sure it would. First, the mall is manic in December, and I avoid it at all costs. Secondly, there’s a real price-pressure in store. Is just a fancy cocoa in a mug enough of a gift? If it’s only £8 and I’m Leslie Knope? Yes, of course it is, it’s the thought that counts, but even if the same amount of love and care has gone into it, even the most saccharine cocoa isn’t as sweet as a knitted hat.

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