Here’s my Christmas confession: I am a Dabbler. I begin a lot of projects with a great deal of enthusiasm, but as they demand more patience and attention, I wander off. You can see this with all the many, many, many knitting projects I’ve started every year when the temperatures drop below 70. And those little projects to create your own ornaments for your tree – so enticing EVERY year – they are subject to the same kind of treatment as my knitting projects. As a consequence, my Christmas décor has always been what I like to think of as eclectic. But I’m sure to many it simply seems bizarre. And then there are all the decorations I have inherited from family who are, shall we say, no longer physically present in this world. Some of them come from as far away as Sweden. And although they are quite lovely and some quite well-loved by others, it often feels like I’m decorating for somebody else, and not for me, not for the me that’s in this time and place. Quite simply put, there are too many of them. So this year most will stay tucked away in the Christmas chest, and I will only bring out those that please me. And on the tree will be the expressions of a Dabbler; bits and pieces of resurrected knitting projects, little collected pieces that have accumulated over the years that aren’t truly Christmas decorations, but that I keep close to me all year.
This dabbling of mine has resulted in the accumulation of so many things. Half-done water colors, unfinished writing projects, embroidery that languishes, and the knitting – always the knitting. Something so therapeutic about taking yarn and forming it into something beautiful or useful. But the truth is, I’m not a particularly talented or even efficient knitter. I still use a technique I learned when I was eight, and although I have managed to complete some things, there are so many with difficult patterns or are too big to complete easily, that I have given up and put them away for another day. Enough of that, I say! Use what you have, give away what you can’t use to someone who can, and move on! Find another thing that tempts you to dabble.
I’m a firm believer that nothing is wasted when it comes to creative activity, but so often I have felt sad about what I have left unfinished. I don’t apply the same rules or permissions to myself that I’m happy to apply to others. So this year I’m having fun with what I’ve left undone. Figuring out how to use these projects, finished or not, suits me. Tiny knitted hats for dolls that no one plays with anymore will find their own place of honor on the tree this year. Knitted hearts that were intended for Valentines Day will be scattered on the branches. Who knows what else? An old bird’s nest and a sprinkling of Christmas cards are already up there.
If you’re a Dabbler, I hope you will celebrate that this Christmas. Be glad you have been willing to try something new, or pick up some hobby from the past and give it a go! Each time I do that there is a bubble of excitement, kind of like getting the old Sears Christmas catalog when I was a kid. So many possibilities! And it is my firm belief that at this time our world needs all the happy reinforcement of creativity and love that we can bring forth. So be it old or new, finished or not, celebrate what you have begun and will begin as this year rolls out and a new one rolls in. Dabblers Unite!