I hate Christmas.

Yes, that’s right. I’m the original Grinch. I empathize with the guy. For someone who has anxiety, Christmas can be a nightmare. Flashing lights, crappy music everywhere and everyone stressed out of their ever-loving mind. This is why I don’t go to nightclubs. I don’t do well with flashing lights, crappy music and stressed out people. I get cranky.

It was two weeks before Christmas in 2012 when I cut ties to most of my family (the exception being my mother who has Alzheimer’s). That was the most peaceful, relaxing Christmas I’ve ever had in my life. It was a decision I never looked back on and never regretted. I ended the abuse in my life and moved forward.

The sweater I'm making my mother for Christmas

The sweater I’m making my mother for Christmas

However, I’m still bombarded with the Christmas message that if you love people, you buy them things to show them you love them. While I’m estranged from my family, I still have people in my life who love me. One is a dear friend who helps me navigate the stormy seas of anxiety and another is a beloved friend who gives me yarn from her stash. I don’t care what anyone says, someone who gives you yarn from their stash is a whole new level of friend.

So each Christmas I’m weighed down with guilt that I can’t display my love for them. I try to hide each Christmas and refuse to speak to anyone for days at a time. It’s a horrible guilt.

When I gave my mother the Stitchcation afghan I made with Mikey from Crochet Crowd, she loved it. She held it in her hands and admired it. I felt my heart soar. The least I could do, I thought, was make her a Christmas present. Determined, I went hunting in a way only my fellow hookers (those who crochet) will understand.

I settled on an Aran sweater. With this in mind I went to my local library and checked out the book, Contemporary Celtic Crochet by Bonnie Barker. Barker is a very talented hooker who writes very clear patterns. Okay, so I got a bit confused at points but that’s me, not her.

I had to frog the sweater (tear it down) many times but I never gave up. As I watched the sweater begin to form with each stitch and row, I realized that my mother would get this at Christmas. More, she’d be able to wear something I made. I’m not sure I can put into words how this feels.

When you crochet something, you’re building something. You can use a pattern but, in the end, that item is you. Whatever it is you build will be yours and one of a kind. Even if you use the same wool, the same pattern, it will never be the same thing. More than that, though, each stitch that goes into this is filled with you. It has a moment of your time. A piece of your hands. A part of your heart. Most definitely a piece of your mind. Most of all, a piece of your soul.

As a pagan, I believe that we leave something of ourselves in everything we touch. Call it energy or chi or Buddha nature or whatever. Molecules from my hands touch that yarn and interact with it. Those molecules get embedded in the yarn. I am there in that sweater.

That’s pretty heady when you really stop to think about it.

So this year those I love will be getting my love. It will come in the form of stitches put together row after row. It will be there in the feel of the yarn and the weave of the pattern. It won’t come in a box from a store full of things that I can’t afford to buy and will most likely be forgotten a week after Christmas. It will be a sweater or an afghan or a scarf. It will be a thousand stitches of love.