Thursday, January 30, 2014

A new tradition

As I'm sure I've said before, it was a quiet Christmas for us this year. Christmas a year ago found the house brimming with our kids, their mates and grandbabies. This year, it was just Kent and I. It was our first Christmas on our own, maybe ever. As college newlyweds, we went home for the holidays during the break in classes. When the kids came, we celebrated with them. This time it was just us, and time for new traditions.

Since both of us have pretty much everything we could want, and way more than we need, we decided this year we would fill Christmas stockings for one another. Which, of course, meant that we needed Christmas stockings.

Colorwork, or stranded knitting, is a favorite of mine. It's sort of like doing cross stitch with yarn, following a chart to guide where the colors fall. It's a challenge to keep an even tension as one yarn is "floated" behind the yarn that is knitted. Long floats need to be wrapped into the working yarn to prevent gaps and catching on things, and, at the same time, keep the wraps invisible on the surface.

The designs on these stockings were adapted from patterns I found on Ravelry. (Did you know there are also forums for knitters who quilt, and quilters who knit?) The stag on Kent's stocking had to be modified to fit the number of stitches I cast on.

I've found a cool knitting design program that lets me graph out both color and stitch patterns. It's called EnvisioKnit, and it's as much of a black hole of time as Electric Quilt. I am looking forward to adapting some of my applique patterns into knitted designs for socks, fingerless mitts and mittens.

Turned out that the stocking idea was perfect. We slept in, we opened our gifts in our jammies, we played with our new toys. Then, instead of the massive brunch I usually cooked up for the hoard, we hopped into the car and visited the grandchildren. I rather like being the grandparents who show up later in the day with even more gifts.

I've always felt that children should wake up in their own beds on Christmas Day, instead of being hauled across the state to see the grandparents. Now that Alex and Nicole are really old enough to understand what's going on, it's time for Santa to find them at home.

We were surprised to find that we were only just a little melancholy. Kent likes to remind me that it was always our plan to raise self sufficient adults. The boys have become good men, creating new traditions of their own, it's the way it should be.  Even if it means that Kent and I celebrate alone, like honeymooners. It's a sacrifice we're happy to make.


  1. Very sweet! My husband and I are there too and it can be what you make of it. I am always a bit sad because I miss the joy of the kids in the house but I appreciate that they are making their own way in life and that Jim and I are young enough to make new traditions for ourselves.

  2. You are simply amazing... a beautiful post - don't have grands yet (not even on the horizon) but great to see your loving story...

  3. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Wow, you're handling this new way of life just fine, Beth. This past Christmas was our last with both of my girls at home in the morning. Next year, I'll just have one, and then that'll be it for waking up with the "kids" on Christmas morning. I really savored this Christmas, and in a way I'm looking forward to doing things the way you are. Except, I have to admit, I LOVE getting a pile of gifts to open, and my family knows it so hopefully that'll keep going for a while :)

  4. I'm a bit late to your blog but this post hit home. This Christmas morning marked the first time in 28 years that my hubby and I woke up alone on Christmas morning. I didn't have a chance for melancholy as our three gown children arrived with their mates, and my father joined us for a noon lunch.

    Our Christmas' have changed over the years but my husband and I are enjoying being a twosome again.