Is it too early to be talking about Christmas?

I don’t know about you but, for me, Christmas does not go hand in hand with putting yourself first. I’m sure we would all love to, in ways big or small, but there always seems to be something ‘more important’ clamouring for our attention. But what if it could be different?

Christmas can feel like a lot of pressure and as a knitter there can be the added pressure of gift knitting. I used to feel compelled to do it a lot until I realised that I find it a stressful experience, one that could all be for nothing if a pair of hand knit socks where not on their Christmas list. So last year I took the pressure off, flipped the concept of gift knitting on its head, and knit a gift for myself instead. ‘But what if I can’t knit’ I hear you cry? Fear not. You can apply this idea to anything, regardless of your knitting ability or even the time of year.

As you know I am a knitter, so last year I decided to make my own yarn advent calendar out of scraps of sock yarn and some old envelopes. Small parcelled them up for me so that I didn’t know what I would get each day, and every morning throughout December we would open our advent calendars together. Small would build a little bit more of his Lego tractor and I would add a few rounds to my sock. It ended up being my favourite bit of Christmas.

This small act of kindness to myself had started out as a bit of fun but ended up being a lot more than that. I had been feeling pretty overwhelmed with everything but the calendar helped me to find my focus by looking at things one day at a time. The act of knitting helped me to switch off for a while each day, allowing my brain the time it needed to relax and slowly unfurl again. By Christmas Day I hadn’t used all of my wool, and I think I only had one sock, but by simply doing something to take care of myself I had giving myself the greatest gift of all.

If you’re struggling right now, or find the festive period particularly difficult, why not start thinking today about how you could treat yourself to a little daily kindness and what that might look like for you. You might like to create your own scrappy advent calendar, or you might like to buy a kit linked to your interests and split it in to 24 pieces. Why not treat yourself to some fancy tea and have one cup a day while sitting in your favourite spot reading a good book? Or maybe try something that you’ve wanted to do for ages but have always said you don’t have time for. The choice is completely yours. It may not make everything better but the act of treating yourself each day, giving you something to look forward to, could be another tool to help get you through.

I have parcelled up the wool I didn’t use last time ready to do it all again this year, but I do like the sound of the fancy tea! What ideas are springing to mind for you? I love to hear what you choose!

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Text: Make your own DIY advent calendar
Image shows a set of scales surrounded by tiny balls of different coloured yarn.

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