Holiday Angsts

I have already started knitting and weaving Christmas gifts; birthday gifts I make all through the year. I don’t really even celebrate Christmas, but my daughter and her family as well as many of my dearest friends do.

As I’ve already disclosed that I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, I will fill in some of the details. Though Christian, JWs celebrate none of the standard Christian or secular holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day and Halloween come to mind – oh, and birthdays. (Pic source)

After I severed my relationship with the church and the young single mother of a very young child, I found myself in a bit of a quandary. I had no interest in joining another religion but I had no emotional, spiritual or intellectual attachment to or interest in holidays. I tried to “do” them for my daughter, however, but bombed miserably.

Christmas: No one told me Christmas trees had to be put in water. So I gave up on Christmas after three trees in three years lost all their brown, brittle needles soon after we decorated it. (They weren’t evergreen for us.)

Easter: Why would any adult give a child a basket of chocolates?! Far better, I thought, would be to give my daughter a basket filled with pretty soaps, bubble bath and hand knit wash cloths. My daughter saw it and burst into tears. She cried on and off for a couple of days.

Valentine’s Day: Now THAT I could do because, in reality, she did it all. She picked out a box of cards she could fill out and give to classmates, and I made a couple of trays of cupcakes and cookies for her and her friends to decorate.

Halloween: I could do part of that. I made my daughter fantastic costumes – costumes she and her friends played with and wore all through the year in fact! But I thought giving children oodles of candy was just, well, silly! So I bought dozens of travel sized toothpaste and mouthwash (no I am not a dentist or a hygenist) and gave them out instead. (Our house was covered with toilet paper several times by vengeful miscreants whose behavior clearly indicated they didn’t need any more chocolate.)

Birthdays: This was really bad and my daughter never misses a chance to tell any of my newer friends about one particularly awful birthday where, no “Happy Birthday” sung to the birthday girl, I sliced up and gave out all her birthday cake while she was outside riding on her new bike.

Now that my daughter is grown up with young children of her own, she’s become a bit of a Martha Stewart of holidays. She rotates very nice but whimsical holiday displays, plans wonderful family get togethers, and pulls together amazing birthday parties.

Me? I remember birthdays of family, and I am happy that Thor always remembers mine. Birthday parties, though, are a little hard for me. Christmas? Though I did manage to commit to memory the words to “Happy Birthday,” I never learned a single Christmas song, and I simply don’t “get” the whole decorating thing. Valentine’s Day? When Thor and I approached our first Valentine’s Day, he asked me what I like to do on Valentine’s Day. I replied I thought it was the silliest holiday anyone could have thought of. He quietly said, “Oh, I’ve always rather liked it.” (Gulp)

Result: I have a stack of handknit items ready for birthdays and holidays for close friends and family. They’re usually too pleased by the handknit gifts to care that I forgot the holiday card, didn’t use the holiday wrapping paper, etc. 🙂

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Crocheting, Knitting, Miscellany, Weaving. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Holiday Angsts

  1. knitneedlez says:

    That is a really good idea. Great way to learn about other cultures.

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  2. A woman I worked with and her family had an unusual approach to celebrating Christmas. They decided to do a different country’s holiday celebration every year. For instance, one year it was traditional German, the next year it was traditional Italian, etc. They were enthusiastic cooks and loved learning about the foods of different countries. They also had a huge house and a big extended family, so it was a food & party festival for them. 🙂

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  3. knitneedlez says:

    Until a couple a years ago, I did all the big baking, decorating, and going to the families for holidays. I always loved creating costumes, passing out candy or hot dogs & soda, making decorations, baking (8 hours straight on some days), sending cards, and wrapping presents. We never really made a big day about Valentine’s due to the fact I find it more special if Hubby comes home with a gift when least expected. Then things went sour one year around Christmas, and really killed the holidays for me. So instead we decided this year to change it up and not celebrate the holidays, but take a week here and there just to enjoy the family time together.

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  4. I do like holidays, but I tend to agree with you about Valentine’s Day. Hubby and I usually cook a fancy dinner together, but we do that for other “special” occasions throughout the year too, and sometimes “special” means “It’s the end of the month and there’s money left in the budget!”

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  5. ethgran says:

    Although I am very religious, I don’t fall in with the over the top decorating and giving gifts to everyone. I give gifts to my family (they are married and gone) and focus most of my effort on the grandchildren. (the others get money which they like) For my siblings, we exchange Christmas letters (they live in the West and I live in Florida) which was agreed on after driving ourselves nuts providing gifts – I mean, what do you give old people? Candy that they don’t want or need but would eat if you sent it? Being a retired costume (mostly ballet) maker, I loved when my kids were young and I could be creative in dressing them up. To bad they are both boys. To me Christmas and Easter are all about music and worship and sharing food with friends.

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  6. I think you’re right … I wish more people shared your sentiments.

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  7. Curls & Q says:

    LOL! The first Christmas the hubs and I were married, 1972, I had given him all of his presents at least a month ahead of time, even the ones I had sewn, and had to get new ones. 😎 I jove to give gifts and cant wait!

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  8. I like that! Besides, I never can seem to wait for the actual official time to give a gift !

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  9. What a great way to handle it!

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  10. My fab holiday is Thanksgiving – good friends, good food, good conversations, no gift pressure! 🙂

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  11. Knit for You says:

    Christmas should be time shared with family and friends without expectations.of gifts but giving thanks for being together.

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  12. Curls & Q says:

    When my kids were little, we celebrated and decorated. Now that they are grown and gone, nope! We give each other gifts year round. We still exchange Christmas gifts with kids and grandkids as well as birthdays. But, that gift could be early or late and it’s ok with us. 😎

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  13. whatzitknitz says:

    I always tell people I do not celebrate X-mas or birthdays. Not for religous reasons though. More because my 2nd husband doesn’t like to celebrate the holidays. I think its because of old family issues. It has changed the holidays for me in a good way. I still get in the spirit and make candy and cookies to give to friends. But for my Mom and children I make presents year round. My husband and I spend a quiet day on holidays. We wish each other a happy whatever but instead of presents we pick out a charity to give to. My children like this relaxed atmosphere of no gifts or trees or last minute shopping. My daughter who lives further away alternates where they spend the holiday and both her and her husband enjoy the off year that when they get to have a no X-mas at our house. Somehow the real spirit of these holidays gets lost in the hustle and bustle of shopping and decorating and cooking big meals — I like our simple version much better. And I really don’t need some gizmo to tell me I am loved.

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  14. I think it’s nicer to give a gift because I want to or because I’ve found something perfect rather than ‘have’ to because the majority of society dictates that such and such a day must be set aside for such a purpose. It’s no fun or surprise. Mind you, I hate receiving gifts whatever the occasion! 🙂

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  15. streepie says:

    My husband and I are Christian, but not really religious, and not really into holidays. Valentine’s day and Halloween is being ignored in our house, as is our wedding anniversary. We do celebrate Christmas and Easter, and birthdays, but before our daughter was born, celebrations were rather small. Now, they are bigger, and we really enjoy celebrating as a (small family). Easter is centred around an easter egg hunt. For that, I hide coloured, hard-boiled eggs and small baskets with chocolate eggs in the garden.
    For Christmas, all three of us decorate the tree together. The evening, we enjoy a nice meal, and share presents. And we send parcels with handmade and bought presents to family and friends.
    Birthdays see me baking a birthday cake, which is then decorate with candles. My daughter’s birthday celebration is obviously bigger than my husband’s or my own birthday.

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