At this point in time, there are two in three chances that you know me and know my family's Christmas traditions. But for the other third out there (how unfortunate you are to be included in that category), I'll explain a little about how Lowery Christmases go.
It all starts in August (yep. Our Christmas celebrations are so elaborate it takes us five months to get through them all). There's usually a time when the whole family is together, and at that time we each draw a name from a hat, or possibly a flower pot. Then we all sit around for a few months until the holidays hit, and we go around to the stores and find some special presents for whoever we picked out of the hat (or flower pot). Think Secret Santa, but under a more dignified and as yet unspecified name.
Then, at six o'clock on Christmas Eve, all 11 of us (and now a couple of in-laws as well) gather around our table for a meal of bread and cheese. A poor man's meal, you may think, but it's a wonder how many gourmet (and, of course, expensive) cheeses you can find in the world of Central Market.
After we've eaten as much as we can, we sit around the Christmas Tree with glasses of eggnog and a platter of cookies. We start with the youngest, in this case (and every case for the last 13 years) me. I dramatically put down my eggnog, arise from my seat, and take a present from the tree. I then give this present to whoever I picked from the hat all those months ago. This person opens the present, says thank you and all, and then they take a present from the tree. And so on so forth until everybody's person is discovered and everybody has at least one present (unless their secret santa forgot who they had, in which case one person is very sad and another person is very sorry).
This year, my brother Thomas was fortunate to have his name picked by me. I made him a hat and scarf following the patterns Turn a Square by Jared Flood and His (Birthday) Scarf by Monika SteinBauer, both of which are free. I don't have any pictures yet, but hopefully will get some soon.
I also gave some other people presents. Namely, my sisters and mother. Because girls are so much easier to knit for than boys. I don't have any pictures of these, either, but the patterns I used were Forget the Fingers (for my mom), Oh, Helen! (for Mrs Elizabeth Joseph, my newlywed sister), and Cranberry Sauce (for my sister Mary Margaret). All of these are also free. And I also knit a shawl for my sister Rebecca, but I designed the pattern. I'll get it up in a few weeks (or months) if I can ever decipher my notes.
But onto more important things now- the presents I received.
Two books, Stitch Library and Literary Knits. The latter is from my brother David, who had me for Christmas. Both of them are amazing. The first will contribute greatly to my designs with the endless supply of cable patterns, lace patterns, and simple knit and purl charts. The second already has any money I got for Christmas begging to be spent on the yarn reacquired for some of the projects (but I'm restraining myself because I have quite a few projects already on the needles...)
Also on Christmas Eve I was given a Doctor Who book, Dark Horizons, from my brother Nate, and an amazing Tardis pencil case from Mary Margaret.
This picture doesn't do the wonder of this pencil case justice. She made it herself. She wrote the little words on the panel on the front. And made them bigger and smaller as does the real Tardis. And she lined it. Others may gaze in wonder at what comes off my knitting needles, but Mary Margaret's talent warrants even more respect. (Especially since she's also one of the smartest people on our street, can command a pencil across a sheet of paper like none other, and has more skill with a calligraphy pen than I've scene before. And yes, I might be exaggerating just a little bit, out of gratitude for my pencil case.)
On Christmas morn, we always awake to find our handmade felt stockings filled with candy and other goodies. For me, I found lots of yarn this year. True, I did pick it out myself, but there's no joy greater than finding some scrumptious balls of yarn at your place at 7:30 in the morning on 12-25)
This yarn is a beautiful self-striping aran weight under the brand name of Quasar. I'm planning on combining my new stitch book with this yarn to create a slouchy hat.
These three skeins are Kroy Paton's Sock, but it is intending, not for a pair of socks, but for a scarf. The pattern I'm using is Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf, and it costs five dollars but if you do a quick search for 'Linen Stitch Scarf' on Ravelry you'll find some free ones as well. This is going to be my Thor scarf, because the colors are wonderfully reminiscent of how Marvel has reproduced the Scandinavian god.
Of course there's more, but not that I can remember right off the bat. So onto Christmas day....
Since most of our celebrations are done on Christmas eve, we usually just mill around on Christmas day, taking naps and eating chocolate. For the past couple of years, though, we've gone to the theater on Christmas Day. Last year, we went to see The Adventures of Tintin (have I mentioned that it's co-written by Steven Moffat, who is the head writer and executive producer of Doctor Who?). This year, we went for something more serious: Les Miserables, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway. The musical was so wonderful, we all left the theater in tears.
While we were watching it, the snow began to fall, and our dream of a white Christmas transitioned into reality.
Mary Margaret failed to take any photos of our wintry landscape, but this one is pretty cool. Hope she doesn't mind I borrowed it. I think it's of one of our outdoor cast-iron stools or flower pot holders or something.
We by no means were caught in a blizzard, but it was still very chilly so we were very grateful for the Indian meal Nate and his girlfriend, Niha, prepared while we were watching Les Mis.
After dinner me and Mother washed and dried a lot of the dishes, because our hot water heater broke (only for half the house, thank heavens) and we couldn't run the dishwasher.
And that concludes the 2012 Christmas celebrations. Tomorrow I have a costume party to attend, and on the 31st most of my family departs for a five day backpacking trip to Palo Duro Canyon. I'm really looking forward to that- I'll have the house almost to myself!
Merry Christmas all, and apologies about the long post. The next one will be shorter, I promise.