I love giving gifts. I've never read any of those love-language books, so I can't tell you whether there is anything spiritual, genetic, or otherwise important about the fact that I love giving gifts. I can tell you, though, that it is one of the main reasons I relish the celebration of Christmas. I know. It seems almost sacrilegious to admit that I rejoice in something besides the birth of Christ during this time of year. But before you ex-communicate me or say any prayers for this "heathen," allow me to explain.
When I give gifts, it's not about the money or the stuff. It's about love. When I was growing up, each member of the family would make a "Christmas List" with all their heart's desires so that we could buy gifts that wouldn't be returned or, worse yet, stashed away in the back of a closet, never to be seen again. It was a very practical plan. And mostly it worked well. But as I got into my mid teens, I began to have this deep desire to buy things NOT on the prescribed gift lists. I wanted my gift to be a surprise. I wanted to take the time to listen and observe, pick up clues to what each person needed or would enjoy. Because what I really wanted to give was not any particular item. I wanted to give love. I wanted them to know that I knew them and understood what was important to them, even without them spelling it out.
I wanted them to know that I loved them.
And isn't that what the birth of our Savior is all about? For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. God wanted us to know that He knew us and understood our greatest desires and our deepest needs, even when we were mostly unaware of them ourselves.
He wanted us to know that He loved us.
It seems only fitting, then, that Christmas—the celebration of Christ's birth—should be about love. Love for our God. Love for our family. Love for our friends. Love for our enemies. Love for a world in great need of a Savior. And for me, giving a gift is the way I best say, "I love you. You matter to me. Thank you for being in my life."
So why all this Christmas talk in the middle of October? Because the gift-making process is well underway in my little corner of the world. About 90% of my gifts are handcrafted in some fashion or another, and it takes a lot of time to create that much love! I always have great aspirations about completing my gifts before Thanksgiving, but I have yet to pull that one off. Maybe next year. Or the year after. Or maybe never.
As I was going through my art supplies in preparation for making gifts, I came across an unfinished crochet project I started more than a year ago. Okay, unfinished is not the right word. Barely started is more accurate. Out of eight pattern repeats, I had only finished one and started on the second. It was intended to be a blanket—the first blanket I wasn't making as a gift. And that was part of the problem. I have a hard time making things for myself, unless they are small or very practical. I didn't need the blanket. And it was taking forever to make. But it was beautiful and I kept holding onto the hope that someday I would find the motivation to work on it again. As I pulled it out of the bin a couple weeks ago, I finally came to terms with the fact that, at least for this season of life, I am never going to finish that blanket.
And that's okay. Because I've found something fun to do with the part I've already stitched. I'm going to give it away.
It turns out that a single pattern repeat makes a perfect scarf. All I had to do was rip out a few rows of stitches from the second pattern repeat, add a finishing row, tie on some tassels, and voila---it's a scarf!
Here are the specs on this lovely handmade scarf:
6.5 inches wide by 55 inches long
3-inch tassels on each end
Made with 100% acrylic yarn
Here are a few more pictures, close-ups of the tassels and the pattern:
So what are you waiting for? The odds of winning are pretty good since I have less than a dozen regular readers. C'mon, join the fun!