Peace of Mind is the Greatest Gift

Since my last post there has been a flurry of activity, but not, perhaps, in the way you might think.

Oh yes, there has been the mad rush to finish and wrap gifts, not to mention the last minute grocery shopping. My way just happens to be slightly different from the mainstream.

Over the last 7 years, I’ve made almost all of our holiday gifts (with the exception of a few giftcards sprinkled here and there). Sometimes it was due to financial circumstance, but mostly because I’ve come to realize that I just don’t *get* the retail culture any more.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I was a champion shopper once upon a time. I used to love shopping for the perfect gifts at Christmas. But what has changed is my viewpoint. I want to know where the items I give have come from, what energy they carry. I want to know that they will be used and appreciated. Most of all, I want to make sure that they bring some value to the recipients’ life instead of simply creating clutter for them.

One way I can do this is to personally make useful (and sometimes whimsical) items for the people in my life. I give of myself, my time, and my skills to express my gratitude to them for being who they are.

A gift from the heart, made by my hands to express: “Be warm. Be happy. Smile. You are valued.”

That said, here are some of the holiday gifts I’ve made this year (most of which have been received already) and all of which were made from yarn that was on hand in my stash (project links given at end of post)…

Hats:

Mom's Poinsettia BeretSage Bucket HatRussian Swirl HatBlue Swirl Tri-Peak Hat Emerald City Jester HatCharlie Brown Hat

Scarves:

Fluffy MIL Dress ScarfDanny's Rustic ScarfPheonix Purl Scarf

Mittens:

Christmas Cruiser MittensPicot Posey Mittens

Slippers:

Faroese SlippersFIL Holiday Slippers

In lieu of gifts this year for the adults in my husband’s family (other than my in-laws), I instead made a bunch of hats for charity:

Chunky Red WatchcapSimple Pleasures CapBlue Swirl HatSnow Palace BeretNature Hike HatGreybriar Hat

~~~

The biggest difference, I think, between my “busy” and that of most of North America is that instead of bringing oodles and oodles of new things into the house this time of year, I’ve been clearing stuff out hand over fist.

The de-cluttering bug bit and bit hard. I’ve gone through everything from books to underwear with a razor sharp critical eye, nerves of steel and brutal honesty.

I sorted, re-organized, re-purposed and most of all *purged* anything that doesn’t work for us where we are now and where we want to go in the future.

(This included getting rid of our huge TV – we watch everything online anyway. We gave it to my MIL who needed one in her bedroom. She’s thrilled and the large black hole in my living room is gone – totally win-win 🙂 )

Poor BadgerDan thought he was married to a woman possessed – but he was thrilled and relieved when he could see the top of his desk again LOL.

Several garbage bags and two epic trips to the local thriftstore (with the assistance of a friend’s truck) later and things feel so much better.

My holiday decorations are all things that we love and will fit into two small plastic stackable toteboxes when we take them all down again.

We can walk into our storage room without thinking something is going to collapse on us and we can FIND whatever we’re looking for quickly and easily.

All the books we’ve kept, we are going to read in the very near future, refer to constantly or are such old friends that we couldn’t bear to be parted from them. They all fit into a standard tall bookshelf.

*THAT* my friends, is a holiday miracle.

Next, I tackled my WIP pile. I ripped out projects that gave me the merest hint of stress or guilt and concentrated on finishing those that I knew I could complete quickly and would make me happy.

Woodland Rustic Shawl

Woodland Rustic Shawl – a version of my own Classic Crocheted Shawl pattern worked in a self-striping recycled sweater yarn (what I used to call my “faux Noro” sweater) trimmed in my own handspun natural dark brown Coopworth wool.

Woodland Rustic Shawl - Complete

It’s warm, more comfortable than a cardigan and looks really good over a shirt and jeans. I luff it.

Not So Plain Winter Socks

Not So Plain Winter Socks – my take on Nancy Bush’s Gentleman’s Plain Winter Sock pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks done in a yarn from a local indie dyer (Liza Handdyed Sock carried by Needles & Knits in Aurora, ON) in a one-off untitled colourway that I’ve dubbed “Koi Pond”.

Insane colourful pooling goodness for a grey winter’s day. I dare you not to smile :D.

Right now, I have a mere 3 active projects on my needles and I couldn’t be happier:

Countdown to Yule Scarf
Evenstar Shawl
Moderne Log Cabin Blanket

So what if my scarf wasn’t finished for Yule? (I’m currently on working on the Day 16 chart.) It’s my knitting and I can always wear it on New Year’s. No pressure.

~~~

Holiday plans have been surprisingly simple this year and instead of running around Ontario like headless chickens ping-ponging between family celebrations, we are having a quiet holiday – just BD, myself & the cats.

My parents are flying out to Jamaica on vacation (good on them!), my sister is spending it with her new husband and his family in our nation’s fine capital and my brother will most likely be working the weekend, then going home to a quiet holiday of his own with his girlfriend.

Most of BD’s family is spending Christmas with other relatives and other than a quick get-together with my SIL, her husband & my in-laws tomorrow – we have to be at home as we are on-call at the building for the weekend.

We have a full refrigerator and cupboards, wine & Irish Cream, each other and a stack of movies.

Peace, Comfort and Joy.

We wish you all the same.

Happy Holidays

Christmas Fireplace Wineglass

~~~

Project Links

Hats (L to R):

Mom’s Poinsettia Beret
Sage Bucket Hat
Russian Swirl Hat
Blue Swirl Tri-Peak Hat
Emerald City Jester Hat
Charlie Brown Hat

Scarves (L to R):

Fluffy MIL Dress Scarf
Danny’s Rustic Scarf
Pheonix Purl Scarf

Mittens (L to R):

Christmas Cruiser Mitts
Picot Posey Mittens

Slippers (L to R):

Faroese Slippers
FIL Holiday Slippers

Charity Hats (L to R):

Chunky Red Watchcap
Simple Pleasures Cap
Blue Swirl Hat
Snow Palace Beret
Nature Hike Hat
Greybriar Hat

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Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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