I miss the days when I didn't think about Christmas until, say, the week of Christmas. It was an awesome thing to realize that I had seven days or so to balance my checkbook and scour the stores in a fast, but satisfying, buying frenzy. There was just something more festive about it.
Planning for Christmas makes it seem like a chore.
On the other hand, I love giving hand-made gifts to my family and friends. Not everyone appreciates them, but I like the process of picking out something I think the person might like and creating it from scratch. I think it has more value than some mass-produced piece of plastic that a gajillion other people are also going to own on December 26th.
Enter my very best resource for knitted items for kids: Morehouse Farm Merino.
Morehouse Farm makes some of the loftiest, loveliest merino yarn you've ever seen. You know it's from the farm because, occasionally, there'll be a bit of hay or something stuck in the fiber. But even better than their yarn are their patterns and kits. Sure, they have the traditional hats, scarves, sweaters, etc. but where the real treasure lies is in their Critter Knits.
Pretty much any animal you can imagine has been made into a Morehouse Critter - dogs, dragons, chicks, and geckos abound. They might be scarves or purses or hats but, however they're knitted up, the one thing they all are is CUTE.
My niece chose the pink poodle scarf and my nephew the gecko. While I love the merino wool, it's not really practical for two little, messy children so they're getting theirs made from lovely, washable acrylic. I picked the loftiest acrylic I could find because I was worried that the pattern would lose it's shape so the gecko is being made with Vanna's Choice and the poodle will be made from Waverly by Bernat.
So far the gecko is coming out beautifully. I'm actually surprised at how well the acrylic is knitting up and how much I like the hand of the finished fabric. I'm really looking forward to seeing their faces when the open their presents on Christmas day. I'm sure they'll be happier than Ralphie was.(At least I hope so!)