This year we are lucky enough to get to spend the holidays with Adam’s whole family. His youngest brother and family will be visiting from the west coast for a few weeks. As I was bringing my sister-in-law up to speed about how we celebrate Christmas here I realized that this is not a tradition-loving group. We have done some fun things in the past like White Elephant thrift store gifts exchanged through a game of spin the bottle, a goofy costumed family photo, a silent charity auction on Christmas morning, but after we do it once it seems to loose its luster.

This has been a struggle for me as a tradition lover. Once I find my way I would be happy repeating the exact same rituals each year. It is part of why I love Halloween. Each year we celebrate with the same friends, we eat the same meal, we trick or treat on the same route and view the pumpkins on the same bridge at the end of the night. It is a tradition that has been perfected and I hope it lasts for many years. I longed for Christmas to have the same certainty, but the family gathering traditions have not solidified. Realizing that this group likes to keep things fresh is going to help me manage my expectations this year.

Adam and I went to Iceland last year (still need to post about that…someday). Iceland is basically my spirit animal. So much yarn, so much beauty and so much book-loving. Iceland has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. When it gets cold people pretty much hibernate with books and crafts. And this year we decided to incorporate a bit of Iceland into our own holiday.

We are going to try Jolabokaflod the “Yule Book Flood.” On Christmas Eve each person is going to bring a wrapped book and each person will get a new book to take home and read until Santa comes. I love the idea of spending Christmas Eve reading and I think common texts help knit a group together. I know this is my one shot at this tradition and I am excited to give it a try this year.

We are still going to do something old (stockings), something new (books!) something borrowed (Jolbokaflod) and hopefully that means our Christmas won’t be blue.

City Mama, where do you fall on the tradition vs. novelty spectrum at the holidays?


I can’t believe it’s December. This year has been a whirlwind like no other. Eric and I were crying with laughter after dropping the kids off at daycare this morning. Instead of Christmas music, we heard Thriller on the radio and it felt way more appropriate to us (also, we still have some Halloween décor sprinkled about our Christmas decorations because that is how I roll these days).

Multiple times each day multiple people are talking to me at once. My phone is usually buzzing for some reason or another. And, our cat has developed an uncanny sense of meowing for attention right as I’m hitting my tipping point. To be fair, her odds are pretty good.

I’ve struggled with post-partum anxiety all year. Though my OB knows me well enough that she asked if it is really post-election anxiety. And I think the two have converged in a want-to-fix-the-world-for-everyone-but-definitely-for-these-kids-of-mine panic that I am having to really work to manage.

I remember after our second miscarriage telling you that, since we suspected something was wrong from the beginning, that I didn’t have to do the work I did the first time. Well, that was both naive and a lie. I had to do a ton of re-work figuring out how to not blame myself, to trust my body and to not hate people who look at their spouse and end up with a perfectly healthy pregnancy and baby. But we got there and Sean is the most amazing result.

That’s what this year has been. It’s been work. It’s been extra work at a time that I don’t really have time for extra work. I keep thinking I’m rounding the corner and something stupid happens to pull me back under. I’ve been pulling out some tactics from our periods of grief. Limiting social media. Cutting back a ton of external expectations. Keeping work at work. Etc. Etc. But truthfully, the stressors are just too fast and too loud. They’re still getting the better of me and I definitely still have work to do.

Recently this has meant that I have started my own version of Oprah-therapy listening to the Super Soul Sunday podcast on my way home from work. I’ve been trying to control what I can and am making our home more environmentally friendly and minimalistic (less things to manage is hopefully going to mean less stress). I’m trying to stop, savor and soak in these boys because oh my lord they are growing so fast. And, I’m trying to be heartened by the many friends I have who are of like-mind and values. Everyone is doing more, speaking out and coming to the table.

Knitting, writing, a good cup of tea and some candles.

Deep breaths. This is a wild time of year these next couple weeks but we can do it. Hope that you and the boys are having a magical holiday season.


This year was rough, but knitting saved me. Knitting can be a kind of meditation when you are anxious, and I was. So as Adam went through his roller coaster job search I kept knitting (and as compulsive/addictive habits go, knitting is a pretty good one). It means that I got my ornaments done early this year.

Each year I knit a new Christmas ornament as a keepsake for my kids, teacher gifts, and a homemade present for friends and family. I make about 35. (See previous ornaments here and here).

This year I made the pattern too. I saw this inspiration picture of cute little foxes on pinterest but the rabbit hole lead me back to a pattern I couldn’t decipher. I knit up a draft from the picture, but it didn’t really read as a fox until I curled it up.

Here is the pattern:

Fox Ornament

On small (5 or 6) double pointed needles

Cast on 3 sts in White

Row 1: Knit 3

Row 2: Knit fb, increase to 6 sts

Row 3: Knit 6

Row 4: Start orange Knit 6

Row 5: Purl back

Row 6: Kfb, k1 to end of row (9sts)

Row 7: Purl back

Row 8: Kfb, k1 to end of row (13sts)

Row 9: Purl back

Row 10: K1, kfb, k9, kfb, k1 (15 sts)

Row 11: Purl back

Row 12: K2tog 7, k1

Row 13: Pfb (16 sts)

Row 14: K

Row 15: P

Row 16: K

Row 17: P

Row 18: K

Row 19: P

Row 20: K

Row 21: P

Row 22: K

Row 23: P

Row 24: K

Row 25: P

Row 26: K1, K2tog to last st, k1 (11sts)

Row 27: P back

Row 28: K3, k2tog, k1, ssk, k3

Row 29: P back

Row 30: K2, k2tog, k1, ssk, k2

Row 31: P back

Row 32: K1, k2tog, k1, ssk, k1

Row 33: P2tog, k1, ssk, (3 sts)

Row 34: bind off by k3tog


Ears (make 2)

Cast on 5

Row 1: K5

Row 2: P5

Row 3: slip k psso, k1, k2tog

Row 4: P3tog

Fold body in half length wise and sew shut. Add  a small amount of stuffing 2/3 of the way through sewing shut. Sew on ears. Stitch on eyes and curl tail under and sew into position. Add loop for hanging.

I “splurged” on a $2 pink thrift store tree for my office (tour coming) and it is just big enough for all my knit ornaments.

Citymama are you doing any holiday knitting, crocheting or making?