Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This is why I knit: Christmas Week Retrospective

It has been rather radio silent over here at Chez Ellen. I think you're all probably aware of a small holiday known as Christmas, whether you celebrate it or not -- for those that do, it tends to sort of suck up a lot of time, focus, money and of course, sanity if you let it.

It is also when we have some really good gatherings. We had a Christmas celebration this year that included my Mother and Stepfather who came in from Kansas, which was a super treat.

I hope you all had  good time and are finding more good ways of winding down the year.

That is what I am doing. I am winding down the year.

This past week was absolutely what the holiday season means to me. Family, friends and sharing. You share time, laughs and food.

The Christmas Eve Spread
The hardest on me is the pace. I felt like I was running the whole time, even during the lulls in the action. I think it is just my nature. I'm tightly wound. I like to put the world into a spreadsheet to see the big picture and to try and not lose the detail. All the mental notes and tricks to negotiate anxiety and to take a step back and figure out appropriate responses instead of just feeling and reacting sort of dissolved into "keep going".

The Manfriend carving the TurDuck (the butcher forgot the Hen)
I am a little sad I guess, because I found myself rather impatient with myself and with everyone.

The Colonel and his two Wiley grandsons at Treasure Island on Boxing Day
This is why I knit.

Christmas Day Endeavors
Many of you have mentioned it's natural we can be hard on ourselves this time of year when we want everything to be just so (and I don't think I expect too much). My mistake is putting a lot of the pressure on myself, thinking it's my job to lead the charge. Though in a way it is. One of the things with people who suffer from varying levels of anxiety is a need for control, to manage expectations for oneself and unless you live a recluse life, for others. I've gotten better through the years, but I've still got some work ;)

The cousins with Manfriend and Moms playing some 5 card draw. What? gambling is just probability and ratios!
As you can see from the pictures I think it was a good time for all.

And now...  now the kitchen and the living room are pretty much back to normal (which by no means means clean, but perhaps a little tidier). The laundry is caught up. The bedroom looks like we've been burgled but ... it's in progress.

The boys went to AZ to visit The Manfriend's eldest brother and Grandparents and Aunties, while I held down the fort.

I'm back at work and the emails and post-its are being managed. We get a new director next week when most of the holiday schedules have returned to normal. The Kid will be back in school. The grind goes on ...

And this is why I knit. (it's also why you should celebrate and give thanks when you can)

So, I have a new spreadsheet. For the last 2 months my spreadsheet has focused on the Christmas holiday. Items return to projects around the house, the school and of course, knitting. (I'm going to finish a bulky cardigan, damnit.)

I did manage to finish my peppermint socks while the Christmas tree is still up and I'll post them when I block them shortly.

From Instagram: my wild night without the boys. 2 nights in total, but it's been cold I could use more bodies in the apt.
Tomorrow I'll post the last giveaway winner of 2014!


  1. I stress over every holiday detail, count the minutes until it is mercifully over and then cry while I'm putting away the decor because I have to wait another year to do it all again.
    The best part of your peppermint socks is that you can use them for Valentine's Day too. My Jingle ones had to be stored away. :(

  2. The holidays are always stressful. There are last minute field trips and potlucks. And then all that shopping and wrapping to do. Not to mention the cleaning for company and grocery shopping. Why does Thanksgiving and Christmas have to be so close to one another? I feel your pain, girl. Just get tipsy and knit.

  3. I, too, knit amid the chaos of the holidays. I find it helps me keep my sanity.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  4. I feel exactly the same way as you about Christmas, and life in general. I try and make sure everything is just right, and I suffer from anxiety when it's hard going. I'm in a mad list making phase now, so much to do, so much to do. I'm trying to calm down though! Wishing you and yours a very happy 2015. CJ xx

  5. I am tightly wound up too and I knit for my peace and sanity! Happy new year!!!

  6. Ah I completely relate to this post. I told myself I wasn't going to stress over hosting Christmas this year, and while I told my brain to relax, I was go go go for the three days leading up to Christmas and then of course on the day itself. It was a ton of work, but sitting around the dinner table with loved ones and seeing the smiles on their faces, made everything worth it. I of course recovered by staying in my PJ's from Friday afternoon through Sunday, knitting. Hope you have a wonderful new year!!!!

  7. Knitting ususally relaxes me, too, unless I mess up and then I get stressed. (I know it also helps kids to focus so sometimes it's taught in schools.) Once the kids leave home, I think Christmas changes as they take on the cooking chores, etc., that can be so stressful; your time will come!

  8. Ellen, sounds like you are too hard on you! ! Be nice to you. So you snapped once or twice.....family is forgiving. I'm glad you got a bit of me time, of knit time. The meat in the first picture on the far right...yum yum.
    I tell my kids, the MOM has to MAKE the Christmas. It doesnt just happen.
    Thank you for all your fun giveaways in 2014.
    back now to my knitting

  9. I hear you my friend. I am a wreck all of Christmas time as I work so hard to get it all done I deprive myself of the Joy of just being in the moment. Not an easy task for a control freak like myself. I knit for the same reasons, it keeps me sane.
    Hugs to you and Happy New Year.

  10. When my kids were growing up, I got on the Hanukkah treadmill every year, so I feel your pain. It's very hard to balance creating a great holiday experience with one's own sanity. Knitting does indeed help.