Ah, I'll bet you thought I was forgetting about #21, didn't you?
The truth is, in the hustle and bustle of rushing around to make sure you haven't hurt anyone's feelings or started some kind of world war in the imagination of the in-laws, we ALL forget #21. There is always that slightly sick feeling at the very end, when you realize that someone you care very much about slipped between the cracks. Let's say that all you've got right now is what's in the house or at the closest chain drugstore. What then?
It never happens with the people at the fringe of your caring. It is always one of the most important, because they are the hardest. My circle of loved ones are almost all "the hardest". Excluding my daughter who is an absolute joy because she is so easy to buy for, everyone else is difficult. Half of them get whatever they want for themselves the second it dawns on them that they want it, while the other half is trying to get "things" out of their lives.
Besides that, for 2008, our family decided to go with a January holiday... somewhere in the middle of the month. It's a lot like the story of the cobbler's kids having no shoes. We do the tree farm and shop up here during the last 6 weeks leading up to Christmas, and when it finally got here this year we just didn't have the strength. Add that to a sick family member, and POOF! you have something resembling Festivus only in January, without the "airing of grievances" or the fighting. Oh, and no alcohol.
Here are some quick ideas:
Make a batch of fudge using the recipe Rachel Ray used last year - melt a bag of chocolate chips, a stick of butter, and stir in a can of sweetened condensed milk. Pour into a buttered baking dish (mold) and chill until firm. Cut into pieces and serve (or wrap).
A coupon for Herbal Home Spa for recipient and x# of friends. This could be herbal steams, facials made with things like honey, yogurt, oatmeal, almonds, chamomile, avocado.... and then make toners using vinegars and hydrosols.
For the commuter - a card from the nearest gas station. They can gas up and grab a Joe to Go - on you.
If you happen to have a lot of dried lavender around, it makes a wonderful gift - as is! It can be used as potpourri, as a dryer sachet ingredient, as a carpet freshener, or for cooking and tea.
We have a bulk food store very near-by, and the nuts and candies are always good gifts.
What herbal project do you love to play around with? Do you have the things required so that you could make a kit for someone else to give it a whirl on their own? Better yet, offer to give them a personal class along with the kit.
And you know, I just have to say it... it is NEVER too late for a subscription to The Essential Herbal.