A Jew Knits (Or Doesn’t) For Christmas

As a non-practicing Jew, I’ve had the pleasure of skipping out Christmas. Between the 25th and New Years, I used to sleep late, read long novels, listen to the radio and catch up on my movie rentals. Then I met the woman who I eventually married. Her family actually celebrates Christmas, and now I do too.

It’s taken me a couple of years to get the hang of this. Last year I drove myself insane buying gifts right up through the first week of December (though I heard that I was finished early, compared to some people). This year, on my wife’s advice, I started early. As in April. That’s when I came across a knitting pattern that I knew one of my gift recipients would like. And thus was I introduced to the annual dilemma faced by all the knitters of the Western World: knit Christmas presents for everyone, or for no one?

There’s not much middle ground here. Knit for some of your folks, and the ones who get books, CDs or fruitcakes will be envious. Knit for everyone and you’ll extend the stress of the holiday (which already lasts too long) over the entire year. You’ll also be doing the one thing that will make you hate knitting for the rest of your life; making it obligatory.

That leaves the final option, and it’s the one that I’m taking. Birthdays are fair game. Baby showers are open season. Heartfelt acknowledgments of deep and lasting friendship (my favorite reason to knit) will always be part of my repertoire. But from now on, I’m doing all of my Christmas shopping here.


  • OH!! Is that how you relieve the stress before Christmas?!? I’m crazy busy knitting. I should follow your advice. I also don’t celebrate Christmas (well, with my mom) . . . but we celebrate the Vietnamese New Year! So, I understand your dilemma. We can get together and knit dreydels and firecrackers!! LOL

    By the way . . . you’re my neighbour. I’m just before you on the “MenWhoKnit” ring. Great to see your page!!

  • Phia says:

    Ooooh, no! I can’t believe I’m truly nerdy enough to be the first Knitty reader (and second person ever) to post on your blog. I think you’re pattern’s very cool and I like the colors you picked for the same scarf in the FO section of your blog.

  • Krys says:

    first I love the scarf up on knitty. Second its GREAT to see another non practicing jewish guy that knits…

    I thought I was the only one:-p

  • Lee Ann says:

    I read your bio on your other site, and if you change the college names, your educational trajectory (and final-ish freelance destination) is remarkably similar to mine…. Welcome to blogging, great to listen to your work and read your poems, and that is one killer scarf. My husband might actually wear that one, miracle of miracles….

  • Karen says:

    I feel your pain … I have neither the time nor money to knit for everyone. But I found that it worked well to knit for half of my relatives (one out of each couple, for example) last year and this year knit for the rest. Just a thought. Your site is awesome, by the way!

  • Rose says:

    That is a mighty hearty dillema Jesse. But I think you could knit for those you most dear like Zoe, your parents, and siblings? Anyways that place in San Francisco for recylced gifts sounds really innovative. and spiffy. Good luck with the overhaul. I am currently making a scramble to get all the shopping finished. It sucks…and this is why every year I bitch and call Jesus Day at Crap Conglommeration Fest and opt for as little as possible. Curse my atheist father and my screwy Jew mother forcing Christmas and Chanukah on my ass.

  • tallgrrl says:

    first of all, being a big entrelac geek, i love your scarf at knitty.com
    your site also rocks.
    second, i only knit for 2 people for christmahanukwanza: my sister and my boyfriend.
    i’m with you: my friends get stuff for birthdays and housewarmings,weddings, etc.

  • pipandtom says:

    Your site is a feast. I love the History section.

    This is the first year I actually planned my gifts. It was somewhat relaxing compared to my previous years of last minute meaningful(?) gifts.

  • Sheila says:

    Welcome to knitting blog land. I’ve always said more Jewish boys should knit even if they do celebrate Christmas!

  • Julie says:

    You make me laugh!!! Especially your choice of places to go for christmas presents! Thanks for the uplifting humor and your humility throughout your website. Your knitting skills put mine to shame, but you… you seem like you wouldn’t want to put anyone to shame. I will be checking in on your site from time to time now. I just stumbled on it via Knitty.com and your gorgeous entrelac sweater, which has bumped some other projects down my list of things I want to knit. Thanks again for the humor and inpiration.

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