This is that magical time of the year when stores decorate with festive looking greenery, and shelves fill with special foods for even special-er family gatherings, and people like us tear out their hair wondering where their next finished gift knit is coming from.
Speaking for myself: I have no idea, especially now that it's dawned on me that I have to paint every wall and ceiling of a 1550 square foot condo before New Year's, on top of everything else.
So let's look at some backup gift ideas, shall we? The kind of ideas you can dream up while you are taking care of other important parts of the holiday, and research between other errands, and execute when all hope of a completed gift knit is gone. The kind, I might add, that are ideally suited to people equally swamped and already as surrounded by possessions as we are by yarn stash.
Disappearing Acts: When it comes to the person who has everything and no place to put it, there is nothing so perfect as food or drink. Choose staples that your recipient is sure to enjoy, but upgrade to something fancier, as from his or her usual grocery store breakfast tea to a really fine imported breakfast tea. That way it's not so different as to jump out of the routine and go unused, but special enough to feel like a treat.
Services Rendered: Yes, you can offer to knit socks for somebody you didn't have time actually to knit socks for - unless, like me, you maintain a policy of not letting gift knits extend past the official day for giving them. We have other skills besides knitting, people! Pick one of your best, and offer it to somebody who could use it. Maybe you could wrap up a date to overhaul somebody's office storage, or source actual sofa sized pillows to fit into the covers somebody else bought on holiday and has never used, or consult on website design, or set up a great defense against raccoons in the garden.
(although actually if you know how to do that, feel free to share in the comments as a little present for everybody. and in response, I will share that over the weekend I sat watching a squirrel trying to eat a giant red dog toy, apparently under the impression that it was a very large nut. okay, stop reading this and get back to the list. we are frantic and have gift planning to do!)
Take a Class: This is a little bit related to services rendered - if you're really, really good at something, maybe you could offer to teach a friend or family member how to do it too? This only counts if you're good at something really fun, though. I mean, I'm really really good at cleaning the kitchen and getting the garbage out in about 15 minutes while listening to audiobooks, but nobody would want learning that as a gift. Alternatively, you could buy somebody a chair at a class that has nothing to do with garbage or cleaning. Better still, you could buy two seats and tag along, because if your best offer besides knitting is garbage and kitchen cleaning, you could probably stand to branch out a bit. Note to self.
A Lift: got a friend who can't get around so easily, owing to lack of transportation or mobility generally? Wrap up a card for a regular date to drive to someplace helpful, like the hairdresser's or a knit night or IKEA. (seriously, even if there's one in your very own city, getting to IKEA in a roomy car is a Thing.)
A Night Out: I don't recommend actually booking tickets and wrapping them lest your giftee has arranged a cruise for the date in question, but if there's a show coming to town you know would be high on his or her wish list, wrap up a calendar page or two with possible evening or matinee dates and make the call while you're together.
Time: If you're not able to take on somebody's home office organizational overhaul, maybe you could create time for him or her to take care of it personally. By, for example, weeding the garden or watching the kids or making supper or taking stuff to a charity shop. Or, perhaps, painting a condo for somebody who should really be working on a novel instead. (Kidding!)
Gift Cards: When they first came out, gift cards struck me as being cash that's tied to a particular store. Then I was given coffee cards at a time that coincided with often having to kill time in coffee shops regardless of whether or not I had change or small bills, and Whoa. Those cards make life SO much easier. And have you seen how cute some of them are? Pair one with something cuddly, like a pair of festive magic gloves or a deluxe chocolate bar or a cashmere-blend superfast hand knit Earbud Pouch, and you are good to go with a personalized but crazy easy present.
Maybe none of these ideas are viable for you in which case, please accept my best wishes for getting all your gift knits done with time to spare. Maybe one of them will give you a different idea, in which case I'd love to hear it. Either way, knit responsibly, because the last thing any of us needs right now is a sprained wrist or sore grip.
Tomorrow: with luck, the new hat pattern. Send good thoughts!