We are rushing into the gift giving and consuming portion of the year. It’s time to buy, buy, buy, we’re told. It’s time to say thanks. It’s time to make the rich a little richer and us poorer folks burdened with a little more stuff. That’s how I see it, anyway.
For some of us, this holiday season is an opportunity to combine our love of knitting/crafting with showing love to others. We love planning for you. Coming up with the perfect gift item. We love choosing the yarn that will envelop you. We love the process of hours upon hours of repeating pretty much the same stitches. We love meditating, with you in our thoughts and heart. And let’s be honest, we also don’t shirk away from some cussing when things go wrong. But be assured, most of what you are receiving is pure love.
Unfortunately, we are only human and come with expectations of being appreciated and thanked. If you don’t like the color of the socks, or that scarf clashes with your hat, or the shawl is absolutely not your style, we’re sorry. We would have gotten it right if you would have given us better directions. Or maybe we were just wrong in choosing what we did. It happens. But what’s left is still the love, nothing can take that away.
My advice to everyone on the receiving end of knitted or other handcrafted gifts is this: Muster up as much of an enthusiastic ‘thank you’ as you can. A thank you for the love shown, the appreciation expressed, the time devoted, and perhaps even the gift itself, give it a chance. Obviously the knitter or crafter saw something that might not immediately be obvious to you.
You can’t even exchange the gift? Listen, you don’t want to. Why would you want to return love? For what? A Dollar Store trinket? Socks made in China?
This year, honor the intentions that went into the knitted gift. And give the appreciation it deserves, if not from your perspective then from the giver’s perspective. We have that much empathy left, right?
Speaking only for myself here, I don’t mind if I get a big thank you and an ooh and an aah, and then a but…. It’s not your color? You would never wear it? It clashes with your coat? It itches? Give it back gently, and ask if I would know someone else who’d appreciate it. It would save some knitting time next year when I’m under the holiday pressure. For a knitter, one of the worst fates is the gift stuffed in the back of the closet.
Of course the best is if you let me know in advance what you like. Don’t get too specific. Don’t take away my joy of hours with Ravelry looking for the perfect pattern. Or looking in local yarn shops or online for the perfect matching yarn. It’s ok to name a category like: scarf, shawl but no lace, socks but not too colorful. If you need it to match a coat or pants, say that too. Just don’t treat me like the hired help by handing me a picture and telling me: knit that.