Holidays. Amiright? (I like to play the part of the awkward stand-up comedian around here).
My family insists on giving gifts to each other every year. No matter if we’re strapped for cash, or more likely, we just have no idea what to get each other, my suggestions of dropping the gift giving are ignored. I would so much rather my parents just mail me a card with some nice sentiment (that they wrote, not just picked up off the shelf), than the stream of sad and ridiculous gifts they’ve given over the years. I know, I know, this sounds so ungrateful. I just hate the idea of obligated gift giving. I mean, this sense of obligation led my mom to send me a salmon figurine with a lid in the top (the lid handle was the dorsal fin). Think something like this, but plastic, and more poorly painted:
You’d rather get a card too, now wouldn’t you?
So last year I decided to go with something more personal and handmade, and gave them all knitted gifts. For my mom, dad and grandma, there were socks. My niece got a sweater, my sister some Norwegian mittens, and for my brother, a hat with his name on it, in binary code (he’s a geek). Here’s my niece in her sweater, man I love that kid:
Everyone really loved their presents, my mom ooohed and aahed over all of it, which of course makes me happy. When I asked a few months later how the socks were wearing, she said, oh I don’t wear them, they’re too nice. Ugh. Same goes for my dad, and apparently they’re too warm for my grandma. What grandma has feet that are too warm?
It makes me sad to think that my parents think something is too nice to wear – they’re just socks. I’m sad that they don’t think enough of themselves to see that they deserve a little treat, made with love. And while I’m sad, then I start thinking that this is also about wanting acceptance and recognition from my parents, which at 37, I’d like to think I’m beyond needing. I waver back and forth between being irritated they don’t use my gifts, (although who knows, maybe socks are my parents’ unwanted salmon figurine), and inspired to try again to make them things they will like.
So this year’s plan is a little more modest. Some simple cotton socks for my mom, something store bought for my dad and grandma, a scarf out of my handspun yarn for my sister, and the other stuff is unclear. That said, back in the summer I was saying “no knitted gifts this year” – except for my sister, who as a knitter and spinner herself, totally gets it – and here I am now in October with a small list, that seems to be growing. I’ve already added a hat for my girlfriend, some washcloths for a friend’s mom who we’ll be visiting over the holidays, a skirt for my niece, and the best part, a sweater for my cat:
Oh yeah, I’m apparently that lady.