For me, there’s nothing more fun than putting on some holiday music or a favorite holiday film and getting down to some serious holiday gift crafting.
No matter what particular winter holiday you celebrate (if any), the occurrence of the solstice (that is, the sun making its return journey as we turn toward spring; well, at least in the Northern Hemisphere) is the perfect excuse to give gifts.
Celebrate the turning of the wheel of the year with these natural, homemade gifts!
We’ve all experienced the power of scent—how a fragrance can transport us back to a particular moment within a lifetime of moments or how a particular scent can draw us out of ourselves and our anxieties, clearing the way for a still and peaceful mind.
Or what about that wish that comes to mind at the seaside or in a deep evergreen forest—that if someone could bottle this fragrance, they’d make a killing? Scent is that powerful and here are a few ways to give the priceless gift of nostalgia, of peace, of well-being for a very few dollars indeed.
1. Scents of Summer
The dark days of winter can be draining, not only on our mood but on our outlook and on our daily interactions. Include the scents of citrus (summery, uplifting, and invigorating), as well as vanilla (warm and comforting), rose (warming and romantic) and ylang ylang (calming and soothing to frustration and anger). You can combine these in any ratio you’d like, so feel free to experiment; the following recipe is just a guideline.
Find a small glass bottle—a repurposed (and clean) essential oil vial or an old tincture bottle work well. Another option is to visit antique stores—they often have inexpensive and groovy perfume bottles in many sizes—those atomizer/mister bottles are great for this project.
Into this clean bottle, combine ten drops of citrus (I like orange), ten drops of vanilla, five of ylang ylang, and three of rose. Add two tablespoons of witch hazel and top the bottle off with water.
Shake it up, label, and wrap. This makes a great stocking stuffer or a more substantial gift when paired with, say, a yoga mat or a gift certificate for a massage.
2. Scents of the Season
I don’t know about you, but I can never get enough of the pine-and-spice aromas of the holiday season. There’s something so invigorating about the scent of balsam fir as well as something so comforting about the cinnamon and vanilla of a warm holiday kitchen. This season, why not craft a scent (or two) featuring these winter warmers?
This first option is really nice for anyone who doesn’t want an overly sweet or floral scent. Try combining 3 drops balsam fir essential oil (refreshing and soothing for the mind), 3 drops cinnamon (warming and invigorating), 3 drops lemongrass (cleansing and invigorating), 2 drops peppermint (cooling and stimulating), and 2 drops eucalyptus (awakening and opening for the lungs). Then continue with the recipe above. Note: this makes a great aftershave as well!
The second option evokes the warmth and comfort of a snowed-in session of afternoon baking. Combine 10 drops vanilla (I use vanilla extract; you probably have some in your kitchen already—just make sure it’s real and not imitation vanilla extract), 4 drops cinnamon (spicy and warming), 4 drops sweet orange (refreshing, uplifting and calming), and 2 drops lavender (calming). Follow the directions above.
3. Scents for Evening
While we probably prefer wearing uplifting scents during the day (especially during the dark days of winter), in general, the body prefers to wind down once the sun starts to sink. Whether you wear the following fragrance for a night out or spray a little on your pulse points before bed (you could even spritz it on your pillow), you’ll find anxiety slipping away with this blend.
Combine 7 drops lavender essential oil (calming and relaxing), 7 drops chamomile (a soothing sedative), 4 drops ylang ylang (calming and soothing). Continue by following the above recipe.
Scents are very personal and intuitive, so think about the person to whom you’re giving. If any of these scents don’t mesh, experiment and find your own blend. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with standing the health and beauty aisle of your local natural market, sniffing your way through the essential oil collection.
Keep sampling those scents—one will jump out as absolutely perfect.