We’ve all got one or two on our list — the friends and family members who seem to have everything. Every year we agonize over the perfect gift for these people (some of whom are inordinately talented gift-givers themselves, which just makes it worse). Since I’m always better at solving other people’s problems than I am at addressing my own, allow me to make some suggestions for the tough ones on your gift list.
The stocking stuffer for your sister-in-law (also great for Yankee Swap gifts at work, or book group gifts): Lavishea lotion bars! These delicious-smelling items are non-greasy, so you can moisturize without worrying about your knitting. They come in lovely scents, like Lavender, White Lily & Amber, Coconut Lime Verbena, and Yarn (which smells like almond croissants, in case you were wondering). Perfect for stashing in your knitting bag, Lavishea bars will keep cracked hands at bay this winter with the power of shea butter.
Similarly, our kilt pins (available in two sizes, and either silver or gold finish) make great stocking stuffers for your Scottish uncle anyone who likes a statement piece of jewelry. The pins are elegantly simple on their own, but you could personalize this gift a bit by adding a few beads or charms in the recipient’s favorite color or style. Kilt pins can be worn on the lapel, as a brooch, or can be used as shawl/scarf pins when you want the attention to be on the knitted item.
Kids can be challenging to shop for at the holidays — most seem to have so many toys already! We just got adorable “Top This!” hat kits that come with a multi-color & texture ball of yarn, plus a plush animal that goes on top. You could knit or crochet one of these up in an afternoon for a young child, or use it as a learn-to-craft item for an older child — the rewarding final touch of a cute puppy/kitten/giraffe on top should help fuel their enthusiasm if the going gets tough. For kids who aren’t into hats, the Top This! kits can also be knitted or crocheted into little blankies with a friendly critter at the corner.
And in case fingering weight yarn is more your thing, consider our newest color of Malabrigo Sock: Light of Love. For anyone (teenage or otherwise) who loves pink, this yarn is the answer. It would make wonderful socks or fingerless mitts. Or give the skein to your favorite knitter to let them know how you feel about them.
Your friend loves to shop local, and always enjoys gifts made by local artisans. In this case, the answer is a ceramic yarn bowl by Devenney Pottery. Devenney Pottery is a husband & wife team based in Jefferson, Maine (Hi, Joe & Mary!). They make amazing ceramic items, and their yarn bowls are no exception. My cupboards at home are filled with their mugs, and they also happen to be two of the kindest, most lovely people I know. If you take home one of their yarn bowls for your friend (or for yourself!) you can feel good about supporting a pair of talented local artists.
Finally, the Big Ticket Item. This is the gift for the crafter who has it all, the knitter who wants to try something new. We only have three of them this holiday season, and they’re going to go fast: Schacht Cricket Looms! These 15″ Cricket Looms come with everything you need to start weaving, including yarn, instructions, and project ideas. I’ve been thinking of getting one so I can weave placemats for my mom. It’s a great starter loom, doesn’t take up much space and, at under $200, is a great way for someone to try their hand at a new craft.
Thinking of gifts for everyone can make this time of year feel overwhelming and stressful. Above all, the most important gift you can give your loved ones is the gift of your time. Take a deep breath and remind yourself to be present. Sometimes it’s not about a physical gift, and sometimes people really do already own everything they need or want. For these folks, consider giving a donation in their name to a cause they care about — the Heifer Project allows you to gift a family with a sheep! Or if education is more their thing, you could always give on their behalf to a non-profit like Few For Change. (Ask me about Few For Change whenever you like — my partner Brooks is a board member and I support their work wholeheartedly.)
May your holiday season be stress-free, and full of love, light, and tasty food!
After being bludgeoned nearly to death by the exhortations to “BUY NOW!” that come with Black Friday, Local Saturday, and Cyber Monday, I think we all deserve a break today. Being encouraged to ditch our loved ones and risk indigestion immediately following our turkey dinners to be the first ones in line for a flat screen tv (50% OFF!! BUY NOW!!) rather destroys the magic of Thanksgiving for me. I think that Thanksgiving should be about friends, family (biological and chosen), food, and gratitude. Ideally, after a proper Thanksgiving dinner, there should be a nap, perhaps a board game or a movie, and many hands making light work of the dishes. And after that, perhaps more pie.
The frenzy to GET THE BEST DEAL! BUY MORE! SPEND MORE! baffles me (and I work in retail). What also baffles me is that Giving Tuesday comes last. After Black Friday. After Local Saturday. After Cyber Monday. When you are entirely shopped out, and your wallet is empty, and your credit cards are maxed out, finally there comes the day when you should donate to your favorite charities and non-profits. It saddens me that this day comes last, after we’ve already been encouraged to spend and spend and spend. What is left for Giving Tuesday? Goodness knows that it doesn’t get the publicity of Black Friday. I’ve never heard of anyone being trampled to death in the mad rush to donate to their local food pantry. Nor have I read news reports of computer servers crashing from too many charitable contributions at once. Wouldn’t it be great if our collective generosity could reach such levels?
When I get home tonight, I’m going to donate to one of my favorite non-profits: Few For Change. My lovely guy is a board member of this group, which helps indigenous kids in Panama stay in school. If I have the money, I’m also hoping to do a few other donations, one for an environmental cause, and another for women’s health. We don’t have to wait for Giving Tuesday to donate to our favorite causes, but it sometimes helps to have a little reminder in the form of a holiday or a hashtag. A donation doesn’t have to be monetary, either — you could volunteer time, or just do a random act of kindness for someone. How are you observing this #GivingTuesday?