For makers, there is a certain impulse at holiday time — the sudden mania to MAKE ALL THE GIFTS. You’re crafty, you should lovingly DIY all your presents, right? Right?? We anxiously ask ourselves as we stand looking at our stashes. I have all this yarn…so much fabric…
Well, I’m here to tell you that no, you do NOT need to hand-make all your gifts. That is, in fact, a crazy idea that might not turn out well.
Have you ever given one handknit sock to someone with an IOU note in the box? Second sock to arrive at a later date? Yeah, I’ve done that. And never made the second sock!
The truth is, gifting is just one way that people express their affection. The book The Love Languages by Gary Chapman presents a theory about other ways. As I consider the holiday season, I like to think about the different ways I can show people I care, because I am not a gifter. And I have learned that after giving a lot of sad gifts and stressing myself out in the process.
In my creative family, we have a range of love languages. My mom is a huge gift-knitter. Every year, she makes everyone gifts — socks, scarves, afghans, hats. She glories in this season of making for others, planning her projects months in advance. And I have learned that what I’m good at giving is time and attention. I fly home to the east coast and knit with my mom. I cook with her. I take long walks with her. Because my love language is quality time. My sister? She decorates the house, lighting every inch, decking the tree, making sure the place is cozy and festive for our gatherings. I consider her language to be acts of service.
What Is Your Handmade Love Language?
You do this: You painstakingly plan and make gifts ahead of time and actually take joy in the process. Good for you.
You could: Knit hats! They’re way faster than socks or scarves.
You do this: You make plans — a movie night, a dinner, a special outing. You give experiences as gifts.
You could: Plan a craft night with the fam!
Words of Affirmation
You do this: You ask a lot of questions, actively listen to your loved ones, and support them verbally.
You could: Ask your loved ones what they want to tackle in 2019 and make inspiration journals to help them get there.
Acts of Service
You do this: You show up and help, whether it’s dogsitting while someone’s out of town, clean-up after the big meal, or helping people in need.
You could: Has your niece or nephew been asking you to teach them to knit? Make it happen this year.
You do this: You’re a hugger, plain and simple.
You could: Hug when appropriate. Otherwise, squeeze more yarn. That’s all I got.
This year, as I plan my holiday trip, I look around my 500-square-foot apartment and remind myself that I don’t need more things; I need more time with my loved ones. But I will always make room for another pair of handknit socks from my mom. And she can’t wait til I plop down on her couch with my project, and we spend hours talking and knitting together.