Story last updated at 12/3/2008 - 2:02 pm
Something happened on Thanksgiving Day that made me nearly leap for joy, renewed my faith in the holidays and made my date severely roll his eyes. I saw a generational connection between strangers - over crafting.
Let me set the scene.
A frizzy-haired, young rail of a man knitted madly amongst piles of yarn skeins while waiting for his pizza dinner to arrive. Suddenly, a grey-haired golden girl sprang out from around the corner and began chatting madly at the youth. From my perch, I could only pick out the topic of the wild exchange: knitting, yarn and crafting.
My suspicion that the two were previously strangers was immediately confirmed by the appearance of the elderly crafter's family slinking sheepishly behind her, waiting for the craft talk to end. When the two crafters finished talking, the family moved on and the boy went back to his projects and pizza. I came away with the confirmation that generations of people, and strangers, can connect through craft.
Chances are most of the "generational connections" we'll make this season will be with family during the holidays, and they won't all be as joyous the interaction I described. But if you take time during the holidays to reach out and connect with others, you'll be glad you did down the road.
One way to connect with craft is through tradition. Most families have a tradition of baking a certain dish for the holidays or making cookies as a family each year. My family's tradition is preparing lime party salad, which my uncle thinks "looks like snot."
I sincerely question the "salad" aspect of this dish, as it is involves gelatin and cream cheese, but nonetheless we make it together and eat it together. Traditions do not have to be pretty.
I suggest creating new traditions in crafting. Get together with the family and make ornaments or craft small gifts for teachers and co-workers. Once a tradition has begun, it can be fun to fulfill each year, and the memories you have will be priceless when loved ones are no longer there.
Living in Alaska, it can be difficult to connect to relatives far away in the lower 48 states. I had a hard time creating bonds with my grandparents because I only saw them once or twice a year. The one thing they handed down to me is their legacy of crafting.
From knitting to painting to scroll saw art and card-making, my family was crafty on all sides. Whatever craft you do, share it with your children and grandchildren. Try letting little ones help with creating yarn balls while you knit. Teach sewing and stitching to older children so they can decorate and create clothing and accessories. Connect to kids by letting them design projects that you help them make. Learning these skills from family will enrich their lives forever.
The best gift I ever received was my grandmother's knitting needles many years after she had passed. The only thing that would have been better would be to spend the holiday knitting with her by my side. Whatever you do this season, please connect to family and friends in whatever way possible. And if it's through crafting, the more the merrier!