It's the Holiday Season!

It's the season of giving. Many of us are stressed with getting the perfect gifts for our loved ones. This time of year should be a time for relaxation and reflection, but most people are doing quite the opposite. We are spending a lot of money, scrambling around to find the perfect gifts; essentially running around like chickens with our heads cut off!

An alternative to all of this chaos is to make our own gifts. Handmade gifts such as lip balms, bath bombs, perfumes and sachets make great items that require little time and money to create. Plus these gifts are more likely to make the recipient feel special because they were made especially for that person in mind! By using natural, organic ingredients and recycled materials such as bottles & tins, you are helping the environment by not contributing to extra plastic and packaging. Not to mention supporting sustainable farming and providing your recipient with non-toxic, safe and nourishing products for the body. 

Listed below are simple recipes to make for your loved ones. Enjoy! 

Peppermint Lip Balm
2 Tbsp of jojoba oil
1 Tbsp of shea butter
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 Tbsp beeswax
15 drops of peppermint essential oil*

Combine jojoba oil, shea butter, olive oil and beeswax in a small pan on a low, gentle heat. Once the solution has melted, remove pan from heat source and add the peppermint essential oil. Pour the lip balm into desired containers such as tins, lip balm tubes, or tiny glass jars. Clean tins and glass jars are a good example of how to reuse materials. Lip balm tubes can be found online if you prefer to use those. This recipe yields approximately 15 oz of lip balm. That's enough for about ten 1.5 oz tins.

*other essential oils to use include citrus oils such as lemon or orange (keep in mind that citrus oils can cause photosensitivity in some individuals), lavender, spearmint, etc. Be creative! Also it is always wise to make sure the essential oils you are using come from a good company that produces true essential oils that are not adulterated or synthetic. I like to use essential oils from Ananda Apothecary. They are a good, reputable and transparent company. They also provide a lot of scientific research on essential oils. In addition, it is good to educate yourself on which essential oils are safe to use on your skin.  Visit anandaapothecary.com for more information. 

Everyone can benefit from a nourishing lip balm at this time of year! 

Herbal Sachet
Sachets are great little gifts that provide long lasting scents. Dried herbs such as lavender buds, lemon verbena leaves, bay leaves and rose geranium leaves can be stuffed into 2-4 oz decorative bags. When crushed, these bags release aromatics that last a very long time. Sachets can be stored in dresser drawers, shoes, closets; really anywhere that needs some freshening up. 

I like to get my sachet bags from Etsy. There are a lot of small business that make unbleached, muslin bags with cute designs. Go to etsy.com to check out the variety of bags that are available. Another possible source is your local craft store. If you do not have any of your own dried herbs to use in the sachets, visit your local natural grocer and check out the bulk section. There you should find some herbs to utilize.




Bath Bombs 
Bath bombs are more time consuming then the above recipes but if you need gifts for kids, this is the perfect item for them. Kids love these! You will need:

2 cups baking soda
1 cup citric acid
1 Tbsp shea butter
witch hazel: just a few sprays (easiest to apply if you transfer the witch hazel into a spray bottle)
1 tsp beet root powder (used for color, beet root yields a pink color, you can also use annatto seed powder which yields an orange color). These ingredients are not necessary if you do not want colored bath bombs.
2 mL of essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, citrus, etc.
soap molds (you can find these at craft stores, plastic works best), these typically contain 6-9 molds per sheet
1 can of coconut oil spray

Melt the shea butter. This can be done quickly in a small pan or you can microwave it for about a minute. Mix the melted shea butter, citric acid, baking soda, beet root/annatto seed powder & essential oils with a whisk in a large bowl. Once the ingredients are well-blended, moisten the mixture with a few sprays of witch hazel. You want the mixture to be wet enough so that it clumps in your hand. Be careful not to get it too wet, otherwise your bath bombs mixture will start fizzing. Spray the soap mold sheet lightly with coconut oil spray. Removing the bath bombs will be much easier by taking this step. Once your mixture is at the desired constancy, add to the soap molds, packing as much mixture in as you can. Make sure to really pack in the mixture to avoid gaps in the molds. If they are not firmly packed, the bath bombs will break when you remove them from the molds.
Let the bath bombs dry/harden for about 2 days. When removing, lay down newspaper and flip mold sheet upside down on the newspaper. Give it a good tap and the bath bombs should come out fairly easy. This recipe yields about ten 2 oz bath bombs.

Some of the above ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. Others can be found online. One great online resource for organic ingredients is Mountain Rose Herbs. Please visit mountainroseherbs.com for more information. 




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