Monday, 26 November 2012

Why I don't knit Christmas presents

There's an advert on UK TV at the moment for I think Phones4U (or someone similar - anyway it's working on the principle that what everyone wants for Christmas is a shiny new mobile). In one scene, a granny is shown knitting in front of the fire and she says 'I knit all my Christmas presents.' The voiceover replies 'Well, you shouldn't,' and my husband laughs.

I don't knit Christmas presents. I have knitted a few birthday presents in the past - a couple of pairs of socks for friends and a scarf for my mother-in-law - all specifically requested by the recipient. And I knit for new babies. But it seems from Ravelry and the blogs I read that every other knitter is knitting away furiously on an unending pile of scarfs and socks and thingymabobs to give to their entire extended family. I don't do that.

The main reason is just that me being a knitter does not necessarily mean that the people around me want to receive knitted things. Not that I'm surrounded by ungrateful louts, but if I knit a lovely pair of socks for everyone I know that most wouldn't be appreciated. The only people who know how much work goes into knitting pair of socks are quite capable of knitting their own. I love, truly love, to give and receive handmade gifts, but I know that not many people feel the same way. A gift should be what the recipient wants to receive, not what the giver wants to give.

The other main issue is time. Sample knitting and the things I want to make for myself and the girls (who really do appreciate it, and love the things I make them just because I made them) take up all my spare time. Knitting Christmas presents would cause me a huge amount of stress and turn my leisure time into another 'to do', with a deadline. A deadline that is already stressful enough (there will be seventeen people in my house on Christmas day! Fourteen of them adults. Fortunately I'm not doing the cooking).

And the final point is that it doesn't even save any money, really. I don't have a huge stash I can draw from so I'd have to buy the materials specially. So I might as well just buy a present and wrap it up. Something they'll like, or at least if they don't, I won't feel personally rejected!

Do you knit (or crochet, or sew, or otherwise) Christmas presents? For everybody or a few special people? Am I just lazy?


  1. You know I feel similar when it comes to cross stitch, which I do from time to time. I've been to a few forums where everyone is busily stitching away for friends and family and I have the same thought in my head - everyone I know that really appreciates how much time and effort (not to mention cost!) goes into a cross stitch sampler (about 6 years of work in my case) is more than capable of making their own, and indeed would prefer to!

  2. I would love to knit Christmas presents if the recipient truly wants it and asks me to do so. But I would not knit 'on spec', partly because my taste may not be their taste, and partly because it is expensive and takes a long time. Although I have just knit a cute little Christmas hat bottle topper to go with a present, but it only took a few minutes with stash yarn, and I know it will amuse, even if it is thrown away at the end of the day!

  3. I'm with you - in the main I knit and sew mainly for myself and my household. Unless I know someone particularly wants something. My niece has asked for a phone sock, which I'm very pleased to make for her. And my friend actually teared up when I gave her the gloves I had knit her - but people like that are few and far between. I refuse to cast pearls before swine!

  4. I embroidered gifts last year, and I'm knitting this year, but in general I do agree with you. I know last year that my brother- and sister-in-law probably didn't really enjoy what I made them, and my aunt probably didn't either. This year I know my sister probably won't love the mitts I've made her. But I like making them and I do have a lot of extra yarn. I try to make things that I can't really fail on though. I'm not going to make something time consuming and long for my aunt or sister, so they get a scarf and basic mitts. My dad's getting a hat. My mom, though, is getting socks and my grandma's getting a bag. I know they'll appreciate them more so I admit to putting in a bit more time. I don't know that I'd do this again though, except for people like my mom, but I don't have money to buy everyone gifts this year, so I'm taking the chance.

  5. "A gift should be what the recipient wants to receive, not what the giver wants to give." ... I couldn't agree more, I just wish some of the members of my family saw things that way! Not that they're knitters but I'm fed up with presents that are more about the person they're from than the person they're too ... bah humbug ;)

    I only knit when I know a knitted item will be welcome, e.g. my nieces are getting Runrig Mitts this year.

    Good post :)

  6. I totally agree with you and I don't knit Christmas gifts either. The only gift I knitted in the last year was a Malabrigo shawl for my mum - she is a knitter, loved my yarn and totally 'gets' how much effort went into it - it's a special gift for her which she appreciates (I think!)

    Great post :)