Quick as old Saint Nick

One of my favourite pieces of advice, one of the best things I heard one friend tell another, was that when things are complex, you should stay nimble and light.  Try not to encumber yourself, so that you can respond, adapt and change as your circumstances do.  I love that idea, trying not to get bogged down into one right way, one answer… it keeps you from seeing answers as they present themselves.  I’m telling myself that today.

wrapping paper 2014-12-23

Some things are done. More things are not, although last night I can admit that I threw in the proverbial towel.  I wrote my blog post, then looked around me at the looming crisis, remembered that Christmas isn’t really a crisis, not compared to war or illness or famine, and that I have a multitude of blessings, and poured myself a largish glass of wine, and took it to the bath.  When I got out, I ordered a pizza, wrapped a few more things, and sat down to knit and figure out what can fall by the wayside.  My mood was low, I admit it, and I did the best thing I could.  I knit, and went to bed early. This morning I feel quite a lot better, and attacked the list with renewed vigour, until I sneezed five times, blew my nose and realized that I might not be feeling entirely well. (I should have known. Despair is often the first symptom I display – loss of emotional vigour before actual vigour.) Being a clever woman, I’ve immediately slowed down, and cut nine more things from the to-do list – and moved three to Joe’s.  (He feels great.)  I’m still not sure I’m getting sick, but I’m being kind to myself as a precaution, and really, getting on your own team and staying there isn’t bad policy anyway. There’s a few things I can’t move, let go of or give to someone else, and I’m putting my energy there. Tonight my sister and I give our mum her present, and I’m so looking forward to it. She’s going to love it. Best – it’s a present I can give her and knit at the same time, which is awesome, because there’s just two “must knit” things on the list, and they’re both more than half done, which makes me think it’s not properly time to give up, at least on the sitting down jobs.

undertree 2014-12-23

What’s Luis hanging today?

Things must be better at their house, because Carlos’ text came bright and early today – although I didn’t need it. There are only two ornaments left. Papa Noel (Santa) who can’t be hung until tomorrow, because that’s the night he comes (despite Lou’s best efforts to hurry that process) and the wee gnome baby – in the Waldorf style. (Gnome is easy in Spanish. Gnomo. I didn’t have to guess. By the way, because someone will ask, Waldorf dolls/babies have no/minimal facial features, so that kids can imagine them with any emotion*.)

gnome 2014-12-23

I think it says something that Lou hung the gnome baby last – if I were his parents I’d take it as a statement of his interest in babies, and having them around (they’re attention grabbers, those other wee ones) out of all of the ornaments Lou chose this one when there were no other choices. Clever lad. I knit this one from this lovely pattern, choosing only smaller needles and yarn to make it work.

(*We’re not a “Waldorf family” but I do love so many of the ideas, this one included.)

Gifts for Knitters: Day 23

Dear Non-knitter who loves a Knitter

There’s so little time left, and I could tell you to run out now and get your knitter another item, but I’m not going to. You’ve already probably got them something anyway – so today I’m going to suggest a gift they will really, really love, that only you can give them. One that shows them that you think their knitting is an important and valuable part of Christmas, and one that shows them that you respect their craft, and the contribution they make.

This gift is a lovely, lovely one, and it will get you so many points in the love bank that I scarcely can breath when I think of it. Giving this gift is easy. Walk up to your knitter, and say the following;

“Hey, what can I do in the next 24 hours to give you more knitting time?”

Then go do it. Right away, and for the love of all things woolly, hand them the beverage of their choice before you do.

(PS. Joe likes to say “No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.” Interpret at will.)


83 thoughts on “Quick as old Saint Nick

  1. Ha! I think I need to embroider “No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes”, frame it and hang it somewhere prominent in the kitchen…

  2. While I’d love the present you propose today, Hubby’s hand is in a cast until after New Year, so I’m not expecting it.
    Enjoy your holidays, Steph. I hope your cold turns out to be a false alarm. I thought I was getting sick yesterday, but didn’t. Just needed a day off.

  3. Please take care! I was feeling ever so slightly “under the weather” last week and then I promptly lost 7 days of knitting, baking, shopping, work and general Christmas-prep time to this mystery ailment that snuck up on me and bit me square in the arse. I’m still recovering from it. It’s still not pretty but I’m conscious and almost ready to contribute to society again.

  4. Getting sick on the Holiday is never fun! Take it easy and take care of yourself… your family would much rather have time with you and gifts on needles than you sick and unable to enjoy the season. Stay well!

  5. You are such a wonderful, positive inspiration and guide! Thank you especially for this post, though I do hope the sneezes were just random events, and not the beginning of illness.

    Merry Christmas/Solstice (ok, that is a bit late)/Peace to you and all for whom you care.

  6. It’s meant as a compliment when I say that you’re snuggling up to cronedom with all the wisdom you’re learning and actually living. I think last night you made the perfect choice for weathering the stresses of the season. A few years ago, you would have plowed on, gotten increasingly frustrated, and probably ended up sick for three days. So glad things straightened out and your perspective can again be optimistic.

    By the way, would you consider asking Carlos for a picture of the completed tree so we can compare it to yours pictured on Dec. 1? Thanks for the daily posts.

  7. I hate to rain on the Waldorf parade (though I’d never heard of Waldorf dolls before), but a featureless doll would have given me nightmares as a child. May still do so.

    • That probably depends on the kid and the types of toys to which they are accustomed. While we weren’t a Waldorf family, there was a lot of handmade and ‘folk’ mixed in with my toys. I had lots of featureless dolls starting very young, and I was fine with them. (I don’t think having features on my other dolls in any way inhibited me from assigning them varying emotions, though.)

      • I used to love the books written by Joan Walsh Anglund. She had kids in them with no features. Of course, I discovered them as an adult.

  8. Arg! Christmas illness denial. I too am denying possible illness. I woke yesterday with a weird throat and it is still here today but hasn’t changed much. Since we are getting in a car tomorrow to drive 16+ hours in next two days (and I don’t want my husband to call off the trip because he will do that in a heartbeat if I give him a chance), I am keeping the lid on the weird throat and drinking lots of water, herb tea, vitamin C and going to sleep early. All very hoodoo remedies but that’s all you can do with virus stuff anyway. Good luck battling off the xmas illness. I wish you the best of luck.

  9. Bulletin: Gnome pattern saves the day!

    Have just been informed that after a year of Orange Everything my little niece’s (Luis’ age) favorite color is now pink!? So, thankyouverymuch, a Pink Gnome will quickly get stashed inside an already knit orange sparkle yarn purse.

    Best Wishes for a merry holiday, Stephanie. Feel better!

  10. Lots of vitamin c, herbal tea and maybe some zinc to stop that nasty virus in its tracks. I googled Waldorf dolls and they didn’t look creepy to me at all!

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  12. Greetings from the Alberta Foothills.

    trendsetter! I could think of nothing else but a hot bath and a big glass of wine last night. Soooo nice. I was supposed to get the guest room ready, clean off the dining room table, and schlep a bunch of crap to the basement (out of sight). Didn’t happen. The cat was impressed, she curled up on the vanity (where the big bath towel was) and purred like a tractor.

    I don’t really do lists or spreadsheets, but my little to-do sticky notes always include a couple of fun/want to do items. I hope bath with wine is on your spread sheet.

    re: sneezes. A hot toddy might be in order…


  13. Just a thought – but perhaps when the knitting starts sucking the joy out of Christmas, maybe it’s time to stop knitting? Knitting is a great part of Christmas but no one would want you killing yourself over it.

  14. Teehee, your interpretation of Lou’s interest in babies reminds me of what a friend’s then 2-year-old said when she was explaining to him that Mamá and Papá wanted another bebé: “hermanito? Hermanito no.” (we live in Spain, my friend is Spanish). Hahaha. Anyway, on one count he got his way. He didn’t get an hermanito, he got an hermanita.

    Stay well. Be well. Enjoy your Christmas, & your loved ones.

  15. In times like this, my mantra is ‘nobody died’. Somehow you’ll manage it, just like you have done all the other years – Christmas has that kind of magic somehow. (I’m also taking to heart your advice that books also make really awesome gifts, hence the last-minute book shop trip after work today)!

    Merry Christmas Steph. xx

  16. Oh, I hope that you don’t get sick!

    Thanks for all the posts of Luis’ advent calendar. They have been a little lift every day in weeks of stuff that has not gone as planned (mouse nest in car, two children sick for a week, a perfectly good afternoon of Christmas preparation spent in a Mediclinic getting a diagnosis for the smallest child’s ear infection, and now… I can’t even pretend that I am not sick… and I’ve lost the little one’s Christmas mittens that were just missing a thumb!). I have really enjoyed your posts as a reminder that pretty much everyone is deep into this Christmas preparation insanity. It helps to keep things in perspective.

  17. Many thanks to you, and yours for allowing all of us to enjoy the holidays with you. I have truly enjoyed the daily advent calendar. It has made smile! Just a thought on the gifts for knitters…maybe the gift of time should be suggested on day one so that it can be given to the knitter for the 24 days prior to Christmas… Peace to all!

  18. Good luck! I hope you’re not sick!
    I really needed your post about getting back on track because today every little thing has gone wrong and I sliced my hand on a metal thingy.
    Glad you’re back on track. It gives me hope. Time to let it go and remember the reason for the season and what not.
    Merry Christmas Eve Eve Steph!

  19. One year I had a choice: I could arrive on time with unwrapped gifts, or I could arrive very late with wrapped gifts. This was back when paper bags were standard. I put each gift into a large paper grocery bag, wrote the recipient’s name on the outside, and stapled the bags shut. After I arrived (on time), I used markers to decorate the bags.
    Also, chicken soup.

  20. Good on you for realizing you need to take care of yourself. I’ve been dealing with some kind of inner ear things for a week and decided that the packages will be just fine if they don’t get mailed until Friday. People will enjoy a little mini-Christmas later.

    Vitamin C…I use Emergen-C in a bottle of water. I use extras when feeling ill. Rest. Good food. Plenty of fluids. See you on the other side. Happy Holidays!

  21. I’m with the others above on the staying hydrated, souping it up and taking it easy. Also, add some honey and ginger to your tea.

  22. My yoga teacher told me that when we are feeling overwhelmed the impulse is to rush around trying to do more. We should be doing the opposite. Get quiet with yourself and breathe. Clear your mind for just a few. The peace will return and so will clarity of thought. Namaste.

  23. Dear Stephanie, I just read all your posts since Thursday, each bearing its own gift to your readers in wisdom, humor, etc etc. Thank you and have a truly joyous holiday.

  24. Best wishes for a very relaxing holiday!
    I think mentally we all really needed that solstice – sunshine will reappear.
    Thanks for all of your hard work on the blog in 2014. Your readers look forward to 2015!

  25. Take good care of yourself. Get a good night’s sleep. And thank you for the reminder–I think I’ll go eat a few grapes to keep me on the good side of the bugs I got exposed to the last few days.

  26. My daughter and son-in-love have arrived, and the cold I’ve been fighting off for 4 days has won the battle… probably because I wore myself out cleaning (one is allergic to my dogs and so I must do it). Resting up now apart so that we can celebrate more fully later. Peace to you and yours (readers and Harlot alike) this holiday season.

    • I am enchanted with your use of son- in- love in place of son- in- law. I’m definitely going to steal the idea from you…… if it’s ok with you?!

  27. I thought I had all my Christmas knitting finished last week. My son (nearly 5) caught wind of it and asked for a knitted robot. My husband has been watching our three kids every night since then so the robot could become a reality. Today my Dad watched them for an hour and a half so I could ensure it would be done. It’s 8 pm here and I just finished weaving in ends. I read your post today and am thankful I have such a great knitterly support team behind me so I can make last minute requests a possibility 🙂

  28. Woman! You need Cold-FX – and Vitamin C – and maybe Vitamin D (1000 IU) – remember? We have not so much sunlight right now – the melanin must come from somewhere!!! Jenni in Edmonton! (Cold-FX is what keeps us healthy after attending Grey Cup – you know – the “annual drunk” …. whoops, I didn’t mean to say that out loud)

    • Annual drunk… That just made me giggle for some odd reason. (Though, while listening to the broadcast of 9 Lessons and Carols, I heard ‘play with the hole of the ***’ and couldn’t help giggling my arse off. Yes, pervy sense of humor. And my coworkers know full well how pervy it is…)

  29. Thank you so much for sharing everyday in this Christmas season. I have so enjoyed your writing and marvel at the things you create. Your family events sound so much fun. I wish you well this Christmas and best wishes also for 2015. Love Liz x

  30. Stephanie, The next book (but one, as I suspect the next is underway) HAS to be the true story of Christmas. The Yarn Harlot story, that is. Thank you for writing so eloquently. The blot has provided my stress relief all month. You rock!

  31. The best present I could get would be for someone to, pretty please, tell me how to get the Yarn Harlot’s posts delivered to my email inbox! If there is a subscribe button or tab anywhere, I can’t find it! Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give me on this!

  32. May it be a good Christmas for all, no matter the degree of sickness or last-minute crazy; what matters is the love and warmth of loved ones together on this special day wherever we may be. Best wishes, Steph, for the day — and thank you so much for bringing us so much good advice, thoughts, ideas and the example of caring loving family!

  33. Once again, after reading your post, I am moved to utter those three little words…
    I love Joe.
    Merry Christmas Stephanie, to you and yours.

  34. Thank you for sharing your Advent, reading about Lou and his wee ornaments has been so much fun! As I am still getting gifts ready, and cleaning, and making butter tarts, I must bid all of you at clan Harlot: Merry Christmas may your day be filled with love.
    p.s. Joe is a very wise man.

  35. We’ve been hit by a nasty stomach flu that kept us in bed, one after the other, for a week, quickly followed by a bad cold, and now my smallest one erupted yesterday in a hundred of little red spots – chickenpox. I didn’t manage to bake a single meat pie, not even a small batch of cookies. Christmas without Christmas food is so sad. At least we have a Christmas tree. And, oh! how I absolutely love that gift idea! I so need time to knit, it’s not even funny. When the kids are finally in bed, and after I picked up their mess, washed the dishes and did a final load of laundry, then depressed a few minutes over my to-do list, I usually crash to bed, dreaming of knitting. I keep telling myself that in a few years, I will be so alone in my empty house that I will have too much time to knit. But then who will wear all those wonderful children patterns that keep piling up in my Ravelry queue? Merry Christmas Stephanie!

  36. I understand that momentary ” down” feeling I had it yesterday too. Maybe there was something in the air. I had a plan that relied on technology and just because techie things work in North America doesn’t mean that will work on other continents. So with ice cream melting in my car I knew I had to give up on my Christmas surprise for my family so far away. I was a bit blue then decided technology would still work for me. I was able to catch my family at home and we spoke face to face despite the miles and it was a lovely gift for us all. Sometime time together really is the best gift of all:-) Merry Christmas

  37. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. You need to know that your blog is the very thing that lifts my spirits on some dark days. Thank you so much for the gift you give to me, to all of us, through your writing. Many blessings and peace to you!

  38. That last line brought a tear to my eye. Thank you.

    It’s Christmas morning here in New Zealand, and we’re preparing to go next door to the inlaws, where, I believe, some yarn may be wrapped up for me. Whether I can resist taking needles remains to be seen, but I suspect it might be seen as rude or anti social. They don’t “get” knitting quite like I wish they did!

    Merry Christmas, Steph, and thank you for another year of fabulous blogging.

  39. Merry Christmas from the sunny but not snowy midwest.
    When I lived in New Hampshire there was a Waldorf school in my town. If I hadn’t lived there I wouldn’t have known about the program at all. So glad I had that opportunity to be exposed to other ways of educating children. Love your choices of charities and all of the knitter gifts. Thank you for all the joy you share through your blog.
    Big Hugs and Happy Knitting,

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