December 19, 2013

Randomly on a Day Close to Christmas

 1. Yesterday wasn't a good day, if we're defining good as "things were accomplished that are appropriate to the time of year and the normal march of time."

2. Despite drinking enough coffee that I could totally feel my hair growing, and once I think I stopped blinking for a while, I got almost nothing done.

3. I spent hours ripping up the house looking for a vital piece of paper that I didn't find.

4. Then I spent hours putting the house back together, which is sort of the opposite of cleaning for the holidays.

5. Whenever I can't find something like that I always think I threw it out, even though I would never throw out something like that.

6. Solstice is this weekend, and at the last minute I remembered to make the ice lanterns, but after I filled the molds there was no room in the freezer and I had no idea what to do until I remembered that this is Canada, and the whole country is a freezer at present.

Problem solved.

7. I almost forgot to make the peppermint bark before tomorrow, also - what is up with candy canes having green on them, or coming in strange colours or flavours like egg nog or french vanilla or gingerbread.  I almost bought cherry by accident for crying out loud. Is it too much to ask to rein in a simple thing like candy canes?  I want red and white only, and they should be peppermint.  Is this a world gone mad?

8. I knit almost nothing yesterday.  Two inches on a sock and a half a sweater front.

9. That kind of progress is serious problem, especially since I have two appointments today that are really, really going to screw with me.

10. I have wrapped nothing and I don't know what's going to happen with that.

11. I am starting to freak out a little bit.

12. Please don't make me go to the mall.

Posted by Stephanie at December 19, 2013 10:52 AM

Gift bags. And I know, right? What's up with the weird candy canes?

Posted by: Meredith at December 19, 2013 10:55 AM

Remember: This holiday is about fun and love. It's not an achievement test. Just relax.

Posted by: Jody at December 19, 2013 10:57 AM

I don't do Christmas anymore. I don't need to eat any extra calories so I don't bake Christmas cookies or make Christmas candy, I don't need any material things any more, in fact, I'm trying to down size, I don't decorate but I do enjoy the neighbors' efforts. I send a few cards and give gift cards to my sons, that's about it. Oh, and I play the organ at my church so I get plenty of Christmas there! When over-doing things just makes you crazy, what's the point? Good luck and I enjoy reading your posts very much!

Posted by: Mary Lou at December 19, 2013 10:59 AM

Oh how I feel your pain!!! Once I dismiss my second graders this afternoon, it will be full on Christmas panic mode! And item #7 on the list? Thank you for asking cos I had the same thought when trying to buy some plain old candy canes!!! Stay strong my friend... :)

Posted by: christine m east of toronto at December 19, 2013 11:02 AM

The candy thing? The answer is Yes. This is a world gone mad. Good luck today.

Posted by: Gina at December 19, 2013 11:04 AM

I'm already gone, I have today then I work Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights and on call for Monday. The house is a disaster, nothing is baked and the wrapping thing??? Totally over it this year.

Posted by: Allison at December 19, 2013 11:09 AM

I feel much better about the candy cane thing knowing so many are sharing my problem.

Posted by: Carrie at December 19, 2013 11:09 AM

This morning I bought some bacon flavoured candy canes. Why?

Posted by: Susan at December 19, 2013 11:12 AM

I feel the same way about candy canes. Candy canes should NOT be fruit flavoured. Inner peace, my love. Get Zen. Who cares if things get wrapped? I can honestly say I cannot remember the wrapping on a single present I have ever received. Presents? yes. Wrapping? No.

Posted by: kashurst at December 19, 2013 11:13 AM

No one will force you to go to the mall.

Will the world come to an end if you don't finish each knitted project? I think not. The Universe is sending you a very loud message: START CHRISTMAS KNITTING IN JULY. Why wait until the Holiday season with all the built in stresses to start 14 knit projects on top of everything else that has to be done and factoring in all the unseen, unplanned events that are sure to happen. EGAD, you're only human.

Posted by: Joan at December 19, 2013 11:16 AM

I'm totally with you on the candy cane thing. The two stores I use most for groceries were OUT. Weeks ago. What the hell?

Posted by: Kimberly at December 19, 2013 11:22 AM

Usually I'm a purist when it comes to original things, but I have a confession that's sure to make me unpopular....I despise candy canes. Well, I like the image of candy canes but I don't like peppermint flavoring. That being said, I hope you find them. And I hope they're somewhere besides the dreaded MALL. No place is worse this close to Christmas, it can and will suck the cheer right out of you.

Posted by: Ginny at December 19, 2013 11:22 AM

Nice to know someone else is in the same place I am! Thanks for making me smile during all this chaos!

Posted by: Susan N at December 19, 2013 11:24 AM

"And the whole country is a freezer at the moment..." Love that, and yes it sure does work!

Posted by: Laura at December 19, 2013 11:24 AM

I think you and I may be riding the same crazy train. Any idea where we're going? Or why we have these handbaskets?

Posted by: hollyk at December 19, 2013 11:25 AM

I proudly state that I NEVER knit for Christmas. Why, then, did I decide this year that I would make 4 striped adult-sized elf hats (you know, the kind with the long point and a tassel) in 3 weeks, needing to be done by tomorrow?? I understand.

Posted by: ElizabethD at December 19, 2013 11:25 AM

For the love of all that is holy, don't go to the mall.

Never underestimate the cuteness and handiness of gift bags.

Define your days as good days based on the fun you had with loved ones. If it was just spent on a piece of paper, you're right. It wasn't good. Check your knitting bag for that paper. Lost stuff always hides in the knitting bag.

Posted by: Laurie at December 19, 2013 11:31 AM

Why, why, why? Why do women put so much pressure on themselves every Christmas? Time to rethink the whole thing.

Posted by: Frances at December 19, 2013 11:34 AM

re: the peppermint candy canes. It's a Mad Mad World!

Posted by: Lenora at December 19, 2013 11:35 AM

Reiterating the point above: Gift Bags! Just stuff the gift in - and cover with tissue. AND - they're reusable next year when the same thing happens.

Posted by: askbew at December 19, 2013 11:36 AM

First, I'm with you on the PEPPERMINT CANDY CANES!!! What next? Blue snowmen? Yellow snowflakes?
Second,as a suggestion, make all cookie dough, freeze and begin the knitting olympics on the American Thanksgiving weekend(we get 4 day weekend!). I can tell, you like knitting under pressure. But that's how I got started this day waiting 7hrs in emergency, the other 2days between cleaning and watching tv. It may allow for all the down time you have at airports when you do one of your knitting labs. I love reading your blog, especially this time of the year, and notice increased anxiety watching your progress and trying to get my knitting gifts and baking done. I love the way your home looks with tree, cookies, knitting and guests.
What are snow lanterns? How do you make them? The look really nice.

Posted by: Teresa at December 19, 2013 11:36 AM

I believe I can see Presbyteria sitting back in her chair, sipping some wine and enjoying herself to the MAX!

Posted by: zoogardener at December 19, 2013 11:45 AM

Big Hugs.

Posted by: Katherine at December 19, 2013 11:48 AM

Wow. I'm trying hard to work up some sympathy here, but 2 inches of a sock and half a sweater front is a damned good knitting day for me :-) But I'm with you on the candy cane thing. And what we all need is another week...Onward...

Posted by: georgia at December 19, 2013 11:56 AM

I have candy canes - do you have ground almonds? We seem to be having a national shortage - perhaps we could arrange a mid Atlantic swap!

Posted by: Carie at December 19, 2013 11:59 AM

Personally, I'm not wrapping everything. I crochet my grandson 5 different Angry Birds...and one green pig. My plan is to perch them among the Christmas Tree Branches. DD says "he won't find them!" Heh - they are 5 inches in diameter (make that about 13 cm for our Canadian knitters).

Posted by: Barbara Seiver at December 19, 2013 12:00 PM

I think I may be in denial. I'm attempting to release a book, why did I thnk that was a good idea? I was just Informed that everybody - EVERYBODY - is coming to me for the 24-26th, when I was fairly certain they were all staying put so I invited a reasonable amount of friends to join us for those days.

I have also have our huge holiday party in the 22nd. The baking isn't done. The cookies haven't been iced.

I have no gifts for my father. Not one.

I have a hat on the needles. A very pretty hat for my sister. As well as three more hats that are currently cakes of yarn. But when am I supposed to knit?

The tree has lights but no decorations.

At least there will be food. I can guarantee that part because I have to at least feed myself.

Hang in there baby! I'm with you.

Posted by: Meghan at December 19, 2013 12:09 PM

Love you ice lanterns. I have room in my freezer, but I would have to light them in there too. Because they would probably last a 1/2 hr. outside in LA.

Posted by: Deb at December 19, 2013 12:11 PM

Most drug stores stock candy canes, and it means you don't have to brave the mall.
Once it's in the bark, the green doesn't show at all. Unless you're using white chocolate, in which case I'm not sure what it would do.

Posted by: Emily at December 19, 2013 12:18 PM

I get this panicked feeling every year at this time. Then I take a deep breath and tell myself what's done is done. I am most excited about having my girls (and son-in-law) home, if only for a few days. I did get 17 hats done for gifts (and charity), but still have one on the needles for my husband since it was cold last week and I gave him the one I had already knit for him. As a side note, I consider myself an atheist or the very least an agnostic and yet when I lose something I find myself praying (if only in jest, but not really!) to St.Anthony- the patron saint of lost things. Give it a try sometime...! Happy holidays and thank you for the gift of your blog.

Posted by: Judy at December 19, 2013 12:22 PM

No tree. No gifts. No special food. No knitting for family. No baking. Two turkeys for two separate family dinners. This is the pared-down, depression-era Christmas revisited. No Christmas pudding, no cake,no trifle (no money to buy sherry or other ingredients) so by Golly we are going to have a decent dinner with lemon meringue pie for dessert and be grateful for what we have, which is each other, a roof over our heads (for now), and food on the table. I find that I'm really quite as content to do it this way than to go berserk with the gifts, wrapping, decorating and the baking that starts in October. One thing I will change for next year: all my Christmas knitting will be done in summer and will be sold at craft sales and at fall and winter fairs; and people who think they can phone me in December to place Christmas orders will be out of luck. I appreciated the business but not the frantic, frenetic, disastrous month of power-knitting I just put in. Never, never again.

Posted by: StrongCat at December 19, 2013 12:25 PM

I have candy canes - my panic is for almonds! Do you have ground almonds? We seem to be having a national shortage - perhaps we could arrange a mid Atlantic swap!

Posted by: Carie at December 19, 2013 12:25 PM

I personally *detest* peppermint candy canes, so the different flavors are a wonderful thing, but possibly they have gone over-board. Saw "sour powder filled" candy canes yesterday. I thought that was a little far gone.

Posted by: 1horsetown at December 19, 2013 12:26 PM

I seriously am not going back to the mall, even going downstairs in the TD towers is insane! I literally cried when I went to Sears yesterday. There's no way that I'm getting my knitting done. My hands started cramping two weeks ago. The presents aren't wrapped, the stocking gifts aren't sorted, the baking isn't done, the house is a mess (but then when isn't it?), and my son has an eight o'clock hockey game on saturday. And I've run out of ideas for elf on the shelf. If anyone finds a crazy woman walking around on Toronto's streets, talking to herself and pulling her hair out, just back away from her slowly...she may lose it! Needless to say that I know how you, so, much. If you can't find candy canes, I have the right kind...we can exchange, if you want.

Posted by: Jenn at December 19, 2013 12:29 PM

I just want to say, I am TOTALLY WITH YOU on the Candy Canes. Seriously.

Posted by: LizFM at December 19, 2013 12:31 PM

I wrapped the kid's gifts ( great-nieces and great-nephews), but their parents got THEIR gift with just a gift tag on it as I ran out of room in the mailing box (made them to small) so the 'adult' gifts sort of got stuffed into the box. Woven table runners, so no harm done.:)

Posted by: Becky Nelson at December 19, 2013 12:33 PM

I'm going to give you your own advice back to you. As you know, your family wants you sane for the holiays. As much as you (and we all) want our knitted projects done for the holidays, your family would prefer you sane. They know you're good for those finished projects. Give it to them unfinished or the promise of a finished gift and enjoy your time with them! My wish for you is some peace during this holiday time.

Posted by: Marcie at December 19, 2013 12:38 PM


Posted by: Jofran at December 19, 2013 12:39 PM

I echo what Jofran said: BREATHE.

Candy canes have come in all sorts of wonky flavors here in the states for years (cherry, raspberry, and lemon head being the favorites....) I agree with you on peppermint.

With what's left on your list, is there any way to delegate anything so that the rest of your family can assist you?

Posted by: NY Phoenix at December 19, 2013 12:41 PM

Susan @ 11:12, where on earth did you find bacon flavoured candy canes?!?!?! I wants some!

And, Teresa @ 11:36, as Frank Zappa said, "Don't you eat that yellow snow."

Posted by: Allison at December 19, 2013 12:49 PM

First world problems, all of them. Family and friends first, then presents. However, I agree about the candy canes. My experience is that sometimes the mini canes are only red and white.

Posted by: amaryllis at December 19, 2013 12:53 PM

It's time for you to employ all of your adult children to help you with Christmas. My mom made me wrap all the presents (and sneakily one year-mine included)and go grocery shopping. Break the lists down, get them to agree to help (mentioning that this will help make you a lot less stressed out which will make them a lot less stressed out) and let go of some of the control. (that part will be be more frightening for you. shhh. It'll be fine. I promise) You can do this with help.

Posted by: Wen at December 19, 2013 12:56 PM

I am completely in awe of the ice lanterns. Grew up in Arizona, now live in Northern California - the whole concept of those beautiful things just enthralls me. As a child, the slightest prospect that our temperature would dip to freezing even for a little bit overnight had me setting out pie tins with a little water in them just to see the magic. Poor little desert kid... So your ice lantern molds sitting in the snow just knock me out.
Breathe. Have a glass of wine. Your holiday will be beautiful. You have ice lanterns and beautiful gingerbread.

Posted by: uptownknitting at December 19, 2013 12:56 PM

Well, we all know that feeling but take heart: no matter what you do, it will be Christmas and I'm 100% sure it will be wonderful. :)

I have only two washcloths and a dachshund to knit. Sounds like I'm bragging but I actually just decided to buy everyone presents this year so those are the only two knit things and they're not done. Whoops.

And cherry candy canes are my favorite! I hate peppermint.

Posted by: Caitlin at December 19, 2013 12:58 PM

You rock! You always get done what you need to and let go of what you need to. I am so there with you, though.

Posted by: Pat at December 19, 2013 1:00 PM

Twenty three presents to wrap and three rum cakes to make. (It will actually be six rum cakes because I make them in the smaller pans). Gift exchanges in three different towns on the 24th, 25th, and 26th.

Still waiting for a certificate stating that ten trees are being planted in honor of my brother.

I need to stop looking at the computer and start wrapping.

Posted by: Nancy at December 19, 2013 1:09 PM

I'm sure it will all come out just right. Enjoy your family! Now, when you mentioned the mall all I could think of was "How I Met Your Mother's" song by fictional Canadian Robin Sparkles, "Let's Go to the Mall". I'll bet you could find it on YouTube, but wait until after the holidays.

Posted by: Katie Jo at December 19, 2013 1:12 PM

Christmas waits for no least there are 12 Days of Christmas.

And yes, it is loving to pick out gifts at the mall. However, if it is for your daughters, have you ever considered cash? They would enjoy the shopping more and there are bargains to be had after Christmas!

And who should we e-mail about messing with the red and white peppermint candy canes, anyhow?

Posted by: Leslie F at December 19, 2013 1:31 PM

I couldn't resist! Love HIMYM!

Posted by: Allison at December 19, 2013 1:33 PM

I personally love cherry-flavored candy canes and buy them every year. But I agree that there are now way too many flavors (I've been eating the cherry ones since I was a kid). The miniature candy canes are almost always red/white peppermint (and simpler to crush)!

Posted by: Greta at December 19, 2013 1:47 PM

I am officially entertained.

Posted by: Presbytera at December 19, 2013 1:51 PM

"Is this a world gone mad?"

Yes. In any context - candy canes or just in general.

Posted by: Kristi at December 19, 2013 1:56 PM

I'm so there on numbers 2 through 4. In fact, I think we just lived through the exact same day (minus the knitting and the candy canes.) Hang in there!

Posted by: Amy S. at December 19, 2013 1:58 PM

Here here Sister friend on the candy cane issue. I needed peppermint for my daughters candy cane marshmallow tarts, and every flavour but. I had to go to the dollar store to find them and they all were red green and white. Arrrrggghhh. I have to finish my daughters "Minecraft" scarf and then knitting for the season is done...or until I remember that one person I want to have a knitted something. Oh the woes of a knitter. Happy Solstice to you and yours!!

Posted by: kirsten at December 19, 2013 2:04 PM

I won't make you go to the mall if you don't make me, deal?

Posted by: BlondEngineer at December 19, 2013 2:08 PM

Seriously, candy canes in flavours??? Only peppermint ones here, and that's exactly how it should be. malls and traffic here will be nuts today, so I will be avoiding malls at all costs. I do have to go across town for work this afternoon...and to the airport tonight to pick up hubby....

Posted by: Sarah at December 19, 2013 2:15 PM

Oh, I love you! You give the people to feel the Christmas spirit, even you and we are so busy and stress about holiday.

Posted by: Jenna at December 19, 2013 2:20 PM

Stay away from that coffee!! Drink TEA - Soothing, calming, Zennnnnnnn. If I were your companion, I'd tie you up & spoon feed it to you. This is a family HOLIDAY - not a race to perfection. If it doesn't get done - to hell with it! Delegate Girl! Delegate!! This is why you have Children. And Friends. Let them feel the Joy of Participation. If this doesn't work, Lock yourself into a room with Beer until it's done.

Posted by: Sharon in Surrey(Can) at December 19, 2013 2:25 PM

I agree with everyone bags....unfinished knits as their gifts - absolutely....candy canes - drugstore/pharmacy....your family will love you even if everything isn't perfect. And don't go near the mall - I gave my BF's kid and others like him Visa gift cards (available in our markets and drugstores). Or give "coupons" for a post-holiday shopping trip (when everything is on sale) - easily made with fancy type on the computer. and last but not least, have a BIG glass of wine and thank you for a wonderful year of blogs.

Posted by: Helen SF at December 19, 2013 2:28 PM

I decided a long time ago that I was not going to be the one person doing everything for Christmas. So I knit and buy all year long, setting it all aside to be put into gift bags for shipping to family in December. I LOVE this season and want to enjoy it as much as possible. So I learned to say no, and organize what to do and when. And everything is fine. We all get to enjoy the holiday, and have no stress. I do go to the mall, to watch all the "crazy" people. I get a hot beverage and sit for a spell and watch them running around, and smile to myself, knowing I am done! LOL MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Posted by: Donna at December 19, 2013 2:36 PM

Hi. I'm brand new to your blog and brand new to knitting, but loving them both, enormously. I'm also in knitting panic mode. Glad to know that even an expert feels that way, sometimes. And I'm in total agreement about candy canes. And yes, Canada is one big freezer right now. And I just wish it would stop (I'm such a wimp for a Canadian.) Anyway, very pleased to make your acquaintance.

Posted by: Kari McNair at December 19, 2013 2:44 PM

Presbytera! I thought you'd be out shoveling snow all these days and nights. I see that you are having a heat wave in Michigan. Enjoy! Then ice pellets. 32 years I lived in East Lansing - 'twas time for a change. Thought of you when I saw the "Presbytera" in Avignon! What fun that was. Enjoy those holidays, Everyone!

Posted by: hockeyirene at December 19, 2013 2:46 PM

Dearest Steph, thank you for making me feel normal. That's a tough thing to do right now.

Posted by: MamaSue at December 19, 2013 2:52 PM

"And, Teresa @ 11:36, as Frank Zappa said, "Don't you eat that yellow snow."

LOL See what you did there Allison at 12:49 p.m.? I knew someone would make the Frank Zappa reference as soon as I sent it!

It is noon time now, I'll be leaving work before it starts to rain (yes, that's right, going home just to finish knitting my son his "Bigfoot" slippers.) Must.Get.Felted. by this weekend. And I am going to have a big glass of red wine doing so.

Posted by: Teresa at December 19, 2013 2:55 PM

DO NOT attempt this for this year.

But *after* Christmas, consider going to the fabric store and getting (discounted) holiday fabrics. Make a bunch of draw-string (w/ ribbon for the drawstrings) bags of a bunch of different sizes. Use *next* year for "wrapping" presents. Still festive-looking, way less time involved in "wrapping", and a good way to save paper and mess.

Posted by: hilary at December 19, 2013 3:05 PM

I have enjoyed these Christmas posts, though part of me feels guilty about enjoying the writing and photos you've taken time to provide when you could use that time to knit, bake, find paperwork, and wrap gifts. I stopped reading the comments because they were causing me to panic ~ I have baked not one cookie [bought the ingredients today], wrapped one gift [bought paper today], decorated the tree, cleaned the house, or started any of three sewing projects. Not to worry because we have three days of snow/freezing rain/sleet headed our way. I shall emerge from hibernation on Monday victorious and ready for Christmas! I wish for you weather that keeps you housebound and knitting all weekend:)

Posted by: Sharon at December 19, 2013 3:08 PM

I hate to say it, but in answer to #7, the answer is Yes. Yes, this is a world gone mad. Just in case you wondered. (Bubble gum-flavored vodka? ::shudder::)

But it also feels like Christmas really is upon us whenever you reach this point in your pre-Christmas panic. It's part of the ritual now. Try to relax, but if you can't, take comfort in the fact that it helps a lot of other people to know how freaked out you are since it means you share our panicky state!

Posted by: Laura at December 19, 2013 3:08 PM

As to the wrapping ordeal, this year I went to Jo-anns and bought several very on sale or fat quarter pieces of a Christmasy theme and wrapped my presents in those. At least I did for the people who might possibly use fabric. Set the item down in the middle , fold and tie in a knot. Add a gift tag, and done!

Posted by: Robin P. at December 19, 2013 3:10 PM

I am with you 100% on the candy cane issue. I saw pickle flavored candy canes the other day. I love pickles--LOVE them--but we do not need to pickle flavor all the things.

Posted by: melissa at December 19, 2013 3:16 PM

That's a wonderful amount of knitting, even if it's not as much as you'd hoped for; I'm glad you got it done and I imagine it helped out on an otherwise stressful day. Wish I'd gotten some done--I could have used it.

My hubby bought new outside Christmas lights a few days ago, y'know, LED ones, low energy and all that. They are still in the box.

The nurse last night said (he having had outpatient surgery yesterday, go home same day stuff and all that) that they might keep him in the hospital till after Christmas. Well, *I'M* not installing those lights, gitcher bod back here, dude!

Posted by: AlisonH at December 19, 2013 3:19 PM

I can't believe that you have time to take pictures and post! Roger on the wine I really need some now! Beer will have to do tonight after I get back from the post office. A hat is almost done. Problem is that it has to travel to California before Christmas...maybe after Christmas! Be Merry!

Posted by: maureen at December 19, 2013 3:50 PM

Less is More, does that help? Probably not. But it's still true. Good my family notes in boxes were perfectly acceptable. As were "knitting kits". That was all before Christmas gift giving became a much smaller enterprise.

Posted by: eliza twist at December 19, 2013 3:50 PM

I totally agree with you on the candy canes! Peppermint! It's a tradition. It's an icon, don't mess with it. All the other holiday flavors you can get thru all the other holiday food. Geesh. Although, I would make an exception for a candy cane flavored like Baskin-Robbins Winter White Chocolate ice cream. :)

I love the ice candles.

Posted by: Janelle at December 19, 2013 3:51 PM

P.S. I'm eating a piece of Nanaimo Bar right now. *sqwee*

Posted by: Janelle at December 19, 2013 3:54 PM

It is nice to have all the support for mint only candy canes. I made a giant batch of bark last weekend and was not happy to find out that the candy canes were watermelon flavored. Watermelon, the most wintery of all fruits. (Am I using my sarcasti-font?) And for once I'd been good and hadn't snitched a bit!

Posted by: Amy EM at December 19, 2013 3:59 PM

Hi Stephanie....awesome project progress you have there...i just finished a pair of Bella's Mittens from Ravelry for my mother in law...the pattern was free and i used stash yarn...three birds w/one stone..Christmas gift - stash reduction - no money spent! see you at Madrona...

Posted by: Melissa in Fairbanks at December 19, 2013 4:04 PM

Thankful for all the comments today, and the reminders of how lucky I am to also have such first world problems. Happy Holidays -- I'm sure they will be wonderful!

Posted by: Sarah at December 19, 2013 4:11 PM

Thanks for being the only one who understands me this month. your blog has kept me sane, I am not alone! I am sitting up in bed trying to keep my eyes open whilst knitting I have had a three hours a day knitting target since the start of December and I am not hitting it big time. You can do it Stephanie! Keep going!

Posted by: Sharon at December 19, 2013 4:13 PM

You forgot a gift for a knitter. I would suggest shopping for a knitter, whether at a retail store or grocery. Maybe wrapping for the knitter if that is your thing. Whatever your non knitting talent is, feel free to share it.

Posted by: Judy in Indiana at December 19, 2013 4:25 PM

Okay, the end of the world is officially upon us. BACON-flavored candy canes? WATERMELON? I can accept cherry (it's a red fruit), and even spearmint (at least its a mint), but c'mon, candy cane manufacturers, if you want to use other flavors, encourage candy cane eating in other seasons, like summer, when eating a watermelon-flvaored candy cane would make sense. Though BACON - that's too weird period. What is all the whoosh about bacon, for heaven's sake?

Posted by: Atsani at December 19, 2013 4:33 PM

The evil Mother Nature (not the nice one, which we like) decided to drop what the weather people are calling "a little" ice storm on us this afternoon. Just in time to cause problems getting home from work...never mind stopping at the store or taking packages to UPS. Aargh. (And I heard a foot of snow is possible Sunday night). Aargh.Aargh. Aargh.

Posted by: rachel at December 19, 2013 4:36 PM

Hoping that your day went better today! whether or not you met your goals...

...also, hoping that all of us can get through this busy time of year without sacrificing our sanity or letting our anxiety spill over onto the people we most care about, or strangers, for that matter!

I've almost decided that the smallish loaf cakes for the neighbors could be a Ukrainian Christmas thing... but then, won't everyone have had enough sweet stuff by January?

Posted by: lanajoh at December 19, 2013 4:56 PM

Darling, please, remember to breathe!!
Many times.
So your body can realize you're not in danger of any kind (no, you're not) and you can think better and solve everything. And maybe you'll realize this is something to enjoy, not to freak out.

Good breathing to you... :-)

Posted by: Lia Domingues at December 19, 2013 4:58 PM

I am with one of the commenters - gift bags are definitely the way to go. I love the lanterns. Where did you get your lantern molds?

Posted by: Seanna Lea at December 19, 2013 5:01 PM

I mistakenly went into the mall yesterday (meeting nearby and an urgent need to use the facilities) caused this. It wasn't that bad. When I run out of time knitting Christmas presents I wrap up the WIPs and then ask for it back when its opened.

Posted by: Amy at December 19, 2013 5:03 PM

Yes, use bags, the bakery's have beautiful treats this time of year and if you have to go to the there in the morning when they open...get in and get out. We were there this after noon and it wasn't too bad. Lot's of great deals! I also love the ice lanterns!!

Posted by: Reneelynn at December 19, 2013 5:36 PM

I went to the mall. It is a place to avoid at all costs.

Posted by: Jo-Anne at December 19, 2013 5:38 PM

Oh, yes, the world has gone mad. Would that it were only about candy canes.

Posted by: Eva at December 19, 2013 5:42 PM

Hang in there, Steph! You always pull this off! And gift bags are a wonderful thing.

To Meghan at 12:09 How about turning your Christmas Party into a Tree Decorating Party?

Posted by: Michelle at December 19, 2013 5:44 PM

Ditto to most everything shared above, including, but not limited to:
+ yes: gift bags!
+ agreed: candy canes: what-the...?
+ search knitting bag *AGAIN* for lost stuff
+ search hidey holes for lost knitting bags containing lost stuff (good luck)
+ house? let's have it at yours! -- wink-wink
+ knitted presents: NEVER AGAIN! ... well, maybe coupons in envelopes ... redeemable in summer??
+ breathing! almost forgot!
+ hugs to all!

Posted by: George at December 19, 2013 5:45 PM

I'd like some new tops, but will wait to go clothes shopping till after the holidays--besides I keep spending my clothes budget on sock yarn--that counts as clothes, right?

P.S. If someone needs a gift for a knitter go to Etsy & put in "Sock Dock"--it's a wooden holder to hold your knitting needles to protect your knitting bag from getting stabbed. It's about $20--I have two & use them both all the time.

Posted by: Lucie at December 19, 2013 5:47 PM

I hear you on the mall. I seriously need some stuff for me, but the soonest I would go would be Dec 27. And my hands are sore from knitting. I was 1 pair of socks short of my goal and decided I couldn't do any more. I'm taking a break. Drinking scotch. Maybe wine next.

Posted by: Ellen at December 19, 2013 5:57 PM

There were peppermint flavoured candy canes in Canadian Tire when I was in today. (Also peach flavoured ones, but never mind that.)

Of course, I've been looking for the Sriracha-sauce flavoured ones that I heard were out this year. Can't find them anywhere.

Posted by: Ted at December 19, 2013 5:59 PM

Ice Lanterns? They look lovely, but how do you make them and how do you then use them??

Posted by: Marilyn at December 19, 2013 6:07 PM

Before you know it, it will be the day after Christmas, the sun will still come up in the morning, your chest will still be rising and falling, and you will wonder why (why, why) you got all crazy -- again. Remember to breathe.

Posted by: Jen at December 19, 2013 6:40 PM

Big deep breath five times. You will find bits of time here and there also. Hang in there. (It could be much worse-both hands in thick bandages....)

Posted by: Denise at December 19, 2013 6:46 PM

Breathe. Have a glass of wine, or six. Delegate shopping and wrapping to those lovely young women you raised. I'm Jewish and I don't have to do anything at this time of year but it bothers me to see friends freaking out. The world has gone mad but you don't have to.

Posted by: Risa at December 19, 2013 6:52 PM

Right there with you on the candy canes.

And I love the ice lanterns.

Good luck with the holiday knitting!

Posted by: Charlotte at December 19, 2013 7:01 PM

Perhaps it's time to start pretending Christmas is actually November 25th.

...Yeah, it wouldn't work for me either. Good luck!!!!!

Posted by: Jenny at December 19, 2013 7:19 PM

I went to buy candy canes for stirring hot cocoa and almost ended up with Sriracha flavored candy canes. Now THAT is a world gone mad.

Posted by: Abigail at December 19, 2013 7:25 PM

I am sorry about your dilemmas (one or two s?). Your writing is wonderful and your commenters are equally entertaining. I look forward to reading your posts! And, would love to attend one of your events next year, but how do I know ahead of time?

Posted by: Ines at December 19, 2013 8:08 PM

I never knew I needed ice lanterns until right this minute.

Posted by: pacalaga at December 19, 2013 8:21 PM

We were just discussing the super-weird and totally non-candycane candycanes out there. What the wha'?
Going to the mall where we both live will be so out of the question tomorrow due to impending weather "systems" that you might as well just break out the chequebook! I will not risk my life for more socks and undies.
Good luck in the next few days..

Posted by: Melissa at December 19, 2013 8:28 PM

Sorry - but couldn't help thinking as I was reading #6 "why would you need a freezer when you have the outdoors". Glad you thought of it too!

(from a Duluthian - who uses the front porch as a freezer on a regular basis).

Posted by: wildknits at December 19, 2013 8:33 PM

First of all... breathe.

And yes! absolutely on the candy cane thing. Some things are good enough as the thing itself.

Posted by: Cath at December 19, 2013 8:51 PM

Absolutely go with the gift bags! You can get them in sizes to fit almost anything and they save soooo much time. . .especially if your cat likes to fight you for the ribbon or gift cord, as mine did!

Posted by: Anonymous, too at December 19, 2013 9:34 PM

No peppermint candy canes in Nashville either. Spent more time than I had looking for them today. I totally don't get it! We (collectively) are smart. We should figure this out so that the same thing does not happen every year. Just saying.

Posted by: Suzanne at December 19, 2013 9:39 PM

No mall this year - but that's only because I fell on the ice and squished my hand and because almost every online store has free shipping this year. Yay! And I can type (see?) and I CAN KNIT despite my splint and ace-bandaged hand!

Posted by: Mary K. in Rockport at December 19, 2013 9:51 PM

Not all of Canada is in the deep freeze, the wet coast is still green. But snow is predicted tonight in Vancouver, so chaos will rein tomorrow. At least you guys know how to drive in the stuff.

Posted by: islandspindler at December 19, 2013 10:42 PM

Yes, the wet coast my be turning white but it is never a reliable freezer. And 2 inches on a sock would often be a good day knitting for me....and a sweater front too would be a bonus. Remember it's all about the family, not the stuff.

Posted by: bmcg at December 19, 2013 11:11 PM

I love your Number 6. I can just feel the coldness when I look at Canadian winter photos. There's no doubt about the fact that snow is very pretty to observe! It's just that I'm feeling cold now even thinking about this.......

Posted by: Melissa at December 19, 2013 11:13 PM

It is 8 pm here in California. I just got out of the shower for the first time today. I usually shower at 6 am.

That is how my day went.

I wasn't sick.

I don't have toddlers or babies (unless you call my youngest a baby, which is hard when he's 6'6" tall and turns 18 in two months).

I did my first "knitting" of the day at 5 pm (tubular cast off on a top down hat), just before the rest of the family arrived home. This hat, which I have been working on for the better part of a week (Xmas gift for a niece), is clearly WAY too big for her. It is too late to knit another, so I will make do with one in my gift stash.

I still need to knit a scarf for my daughter's beau, a cowl for her, and maybe a manly cowl for my father-in-law (then again, I might get him a really nice box of chocolates).

My 8 house guests arrive Sunday afternoon.

I think I am hosed.

Posted by: Jamie at December 19, 2013 11:17 PM

OMG! I love you more than ever after reading this. I feel for you too, because I get it.

Posted by: Lori Barker at December 19, 2013 11:54 PM

very wonderful...the whole country is a refrigerator. Not the mall...anything but that. really. Life is not worth The Mall - people who love you don't want you in that place.

Posted by: cecelia at December 20, 2013 12:21 AM

I, too, want to join the chorus of Vancouverites and Victorians who want you to know that our part of Canada rarely freezes. Yes, we're forecast a grand two inches of the white stuff tomorrow but it's also forecast to disappear on Saturday when the temperature rises.

As to the mall - I went to Toronto once. I'm sure I saw shopping streets lined with small independent stores. Why not shop there? Small stores outside of malls are less crowded and the staff knows their stock and shopping in them is just a gentler experience all around.

Posted by: Adele at December 20, 2013 1:36 AM

Just ate a flipping strawberry banana smoothie flavored candy cane and it was the worst thing i have ever put in my mouth. And i couldn't find peppermint candy cannes to save my life last year for my peppermint bark. Good luck on that.

Posted by: coolquacker at December 20, 2013 1:52 AM

I totally agree on the candy cane issue. Peppermint only. I hate hate hate when I get cherry instead.....Then I use them as decorations.

I have freaked out need a good calm me down pill.

Going bag and tissue this year.

Posted by: Catriona at December 20, 2013 2:50 AM

Come on you had to see the candy cane thing coming! I think of it as "The Candy Creep"... as in all the seasonal M&M's and Peeps for every holiday in every shade. Candies don't stay in their proper season any more! It was only a matter of time for candy canes! Next dogs will be living with cats!
And I too busted a gut reading "the whole country is a freezer". The front porch (enclosed but not heated) was always my mother's secondary freezer for food during the Christmas season.
We already think you are superwoman, and I'm sure your family does too. You don't have to prove it all the time. Breathe in and let some of it go?

Posted by: Helen at December 20, 2013 2:53 AM

Several years ago I had an epiphany. I can delegate! So while the majority of the thinking/planning falls on me, my husband does all the wrapping and cleans the house before the company comes. Does the wrapping look the way it does when I do it? Nope! But its done, and trust me, no one notices. Our family is also celebrating this weekend. Wishing you joy and peace with you and yours.

Posted by: Carol at December 20, 2013 5:48 AM

I love your blog/life. You make me feel normal! Thanks

Posted by: Lisa B at December 20, 2013 6:39 AM

This part of Scotland isn't a freezer... well not all winter, just occasionally, but it is a fridge. We used to store the Christmas fizz out on the balcony, to leave more room for food in the fridge :-)

Posted by: Laura at December 20, 2013 7:39 AM

#12. I don't want to go to the mall, either. EVER. . .

Posted by: Gloria at December 20, 2013 9:15 AM

Happy Solstice. You will have more time after tomorrow. Yay.

Posted by: Cheryl at December 20, 2013 9:20 AM

The ice lanterns look beautiful, how do you make ice lanterns? Do they actually light?

Posted by: Heike at December 20, 2013 9:27 AM

I can SO relate to #5. I'm sure it is in the 'safe' place that you meant to put it!

Posted by: bam at December 20, 2013 9:37 AM

Wouldn't dream of making you go to the mall. I have successfully avoided the mall this holiday season. You'll get done what you get done, so relax and enjoy the solstice!

Posted by: Diane at December 20, 2013 9:50 AM

For the person who ran out of ideas for Elf on a Shelf. Our elf has hidden in the fridge, the cupboards, under the bed, climbed the Christmas tree (after toilet papering it), curled up in my daughter's bed, climbed the curtains, gone outside to check out the snow and the trees and the mailbox. Does that help?

Posted by: Jo-Anne at December 20, 2013 11:39 AM

I totally agree with you on the candy cane thing. CHERRY? YUCK. My mom gave us all rootbeer-flavoured candy canes a few years ago, and they were disgusting. I only buy the little teeny ones now (the big ones are too much for me) and enjoy 2-3 a year.

I stay away from malls in December. *shudder*

Posted by: Lynne at December 20, 2013 11:57 AM

At least you're on the right continent to find candy canes at all! The last time I saw them (last year) was in a pound shop, and yes, they did have green on them. I only buy them for peppermint bark!

Don't stress, please. Things will not go all to hell if you don't finish your gifts. I know that's practically a nonsensical sentence to your ears right now, but really, they won't. The people you give your beautiful knitting to love you, and they know what you're up against. Chill, enjoy Solstice and Christmas. :-)

Posted by: Ellie at December 20, 2013 1:10 PM

Steady on. Pace yourself and delegate (bribe if necessary). Also, go to a place that has spiritual meaning for you and soak up the peace. Then return to the delightful task of creating for those you love, and know that no one who cares for you wants you to stress, so if some promissory notes are needed, so be it.

Posted by: Victoria at December 20, 2013 1:20 PM

I bought some bacon-flavored candy canes as a gag gift! Hope they don't make us gag!

Posted by: Marji at December 20, 2013 3:34 PM

about losing things , and even St. Jude can't help? Try this: "St.. Anthony, St. Anthony, Please come around! Something is lost, and must be found!" (It seems to work best, if you use a Joisey accent - eg: St Ant'ony, St. Ant'ony ....)
and then walk away from it. When it shows up (usually within 12-20 hours - yes, I DO know that!!!), just look up, and holler: "Thank you!"

Posted by: Jenni R at December 20, 2013 6:38 PM

Stay sane. This season tests that.

I can't stand the sound of wrapping paper being ripped off. I got husband and the kids to use my fabric stash one year and loved it. No waste, no noise. He hated it. We use paper. I love him.

I haven't done ANY Xmas baking in about 4 years and 2 kids ago. Was hoping for this year, but it's beginning to look hopeless.

I'm knitting 2 scarves - one with the 5yo's name knitted in. The 5yo is driving me INSANE.

I have gifts to send - tomorrow, too late to get there by Xmas, but by Goddess it's better than the 3 years it took me to get the last set out (at least none of them involved food!) One gift is still on the needle (sewing, not knitting).

And 2 of the kids and I discovered SEVERE allergies to our artificial Xmas tree that we have had for 11 years. After 3 days I disconnected the lights from the wall, carried it (decorated) onto the deck (Kentucky, it was 45F) to air and wiped down all the ornaments. After 5 days I stuck an air purifier *right next to it*. After 2 weeks on Benadryl for me and 1 kid, the second one stated having asthma-like gasping spells. So we undecorated the tree, put it out on the deck, bought a cut-tree, finally got it in and up last night and I just put up the lights. Ornaments tomorrow. ALL the ornaments and lights were washed (or put in the dryer for the needle-felted, etc) and have been residing in a thin layer all over my kitchen counters for 5 days (ha! to baking). The 2yo threw a football (because he's 2) and miraculously broke only one pretty-but-not-sentimental ball.

My living room is FILLED with boxes - from Amazon/etc.,, not wrapped - because it's impossible to shop in person with 6 kids and my MIL has sent us 4 huge boxes of wrapped gifts (with more to come she says - egad!)

The Xmas cards are on the floor in stacks to be finished.

And the 6 kids are bopping around between the lighted tree, the counters full of fragile ornaments, the stacks of unwashed dishes (which is supposed to be a chore for the 12yo, 9yo and 8yo to share... ha!), the Xmas cards, and the toys they already have.

On second thought, madness might be a consolation.

Posted by: Kerridwen at December 20, 2013 7:30 PM

I saw Siracha flavored candy canes this year.

Posted by: T at December 21, 2013 3:19 AM

item #7 - short answer: YES!

Posted by: Liane at December 21, 2013 8:29 AM

I bought peppermint candy canes for the tree. My granddaughters hung them. My youngest came in and the girls said "CANDY CANES"! He looked at them and said "I cant have them. They have red dye."

How did I forget that?? Im blaming menopause brain...and going back to the store today for dye-free candy canes.

Posted by: mary peed at December 21, 2013 11:38 AM

Definitely first world problems but I too can drink that much coffee and I TOTALLY agree about the candy canes. Can't we leave something perfect like that alone?

Posted by: Ann at December 22, 2013 8:16 PM

A friend suggested if we get enough people to agree, perhaps Christmas could be postponed. I'm not sure who or what would be the one to authorize that, but it sounds good to me. I recommend Epiphany, also known as the Feast of the Three Kings. It wouldn't work at my house, however. The husband made a Nativity set for me some 20 years ago, one without Wise Men (Because they came later). And each year, when I set the Nativity up, he reminds me they came later. We seem to be in some sort of time warp.

As for the Candy Cane issue - I'd like to blame Jelly Belly and all their flavors but I have no proof of wrong-doing on their part. It seems to me that the bizarre candy canes must come from the same people who suggest you don't need to knit socks. You can buy them at a store.

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