My family has a tradition that involves visits from various family members at certain times during the Holiday Season. It's grown and morphed over the years, but basically, the end of the year has looked pretty similar for a long time.
It looks looked kind of like this:
Thanksgiving Day - massive celebratory dinner with many many friends at Holly's. Since my family is almost all over 500 miles away, and indeed most is over 800 miles away, we join this eclectic group of folks whose families are too far away to share Thanksgiving with. Every year it gets better.
The Day After Thankgiving - risotto at Holly's for "lunch" followed but a smaller joyous thanksgiving feast with the Baumanns, and their daughters and their husbands and kids. More joy. A family I'm so thrilled to be invited to join I can't convey it in words.
The weekend at Holly's, full of out-of-town friends I almost never see, goes on with more food and games and socializing. By Sunday night I'm tired and happy.
On Monday I start knitting for the Holiday Gift Giving Season in earnest.
Somewhere around December 17th we start considering The Tree. By the 21st we'll have cut one, and lighted it. In the interim, I'll haul out the unseemly collection of Fathers Christmas and the even more unseemly collection of candles and fill every formerly empty flat surface (well, okay not the kitchen counter) with Holiday decorations.
On December 21, or as early as the 17th, if Dec 21 is on a Tuesday or Wednesday, we host a Solstice Party.
On December 22-ish, I hang the holiday stockings
On December 23 or thereabouts, my mother usually comes in, and stays through December 26th.
On December 24, we have a tree decorating ritual that involves the girls placing their annual ornaments, in order from the ones they got as babies, and then receiving and placing their new ornament for the year. The ornaments celebrate something special about the year.
On December 28th or so ... or as late as January 2, my father comes in and stays for four or five days.
But this year, we're all catty wampus.
On November 30, I got my hands on the yarn for my mother's present.
On December 3, my mother arrived for her holiday visit.
On December 4, we went out to the tree farm and cut our Yule/Christmas tree.....and lit and decorated it.
That, my friends, is a tree. In my house. BEFORE December 15! It now has lghts, garlands and 20 years' worth of ornaments (okay, 20 for LJ, 14 for Kitty, and 12 for bookworm). It feels... weird. Trees don't go up for the whole month around here. Not ever. And yet... there it is, all decorated and stuff. Well, not all decorated -- We've not yet bestowed THIS years' ornaments -- partly because one has to be painted and one has to be found yet. In any ordinary year, I'd have plenty of time!
As, as if getting the tree a good two weeks early wasn't enough, on December 5th we exchanged gifts! (St. Niklaus Day gifts? Channuka gifts? Surely not Yule/Solstice or Christmas gifts....). Well, some. The ones from my folks and to my folks anyway. With the exception of this one, that didn't get bestowed until this morning.
I designed it, and then knit it twice because I'm a fool who can't remember that with DK weight yarn (yes, even after the debacle with trying to knit it on size 6 needles), 96 stitches is far too many for a cowl. Having finished the 96 stitch cowl, and confirmed that the lace transitions worked, I ripped the whole thing out, and tried again -- with fewer stitches. That did necessitate a bit of lace tweaking, but I finished it in time to put it around Mom's neck as she departed for the airport in 7 degree chill.
Now all I need is a test knitter (and maybe a few better pictures) and I can get the pattern out. (And... tee hee ... there's still enough yarn for me to knit one for myself).