I had a 30-minute window of time the other day and wanted to learn the picot cast-on. Tere are some excellent instructions included with the pattern for the Miss Dashwood Hat on Knitty. It takes far less than 30 minutes to learn!
And, finally, a great photo and explanation of the picot cast-on choices was blogged by Nona in September.
When I have bigger blocks of time in which to knit, I am working on my Annie Scarf from Jane Ellison's Queensland Collection. I have many other projects planned and might or might not finish them before the holidays and I am putting no pressure on myself to do so! Next year, however, I think everybody needs a knitted stocking. Just sayin'.