With Christmas fast approaching, have you thought about creating some gifts for your loved ones this year?

 2020 feels a little bit like the year of lost connections. Time away from our family and friends. One of the warmest ways you can remind people you have been thinking of them is with homemade gifts. Using items from your kitchen pantry and a few natural products, you can create a range of products to pamper and spoil your loved ones this holiday season.

A kitchen herb planter

Why not create a beautiful and useful gift for the chef in the family? An easy one to get the children involved in helping. To reduce waste and reuse this year, considering repurposing an old pot from your garden. Or even better, see if you can get one second hand. As an added touch, you could decorate the pot, repaint it or even get the children to paint it for you.

DIY Christmas gift ideas

Directions:

  1. Select your pot
  2. Choose 2-4 different herbs depending on your pot size.
  3. Fill with potting mix if you can as garden soil will collapse and the plants won’t grow as well. If you have any compost or worm castings, you can mix some of this in too.
  4. Position the herbs according to size. Tallest in the middle or back and smaller ones in front and around the sides.
  5. Water in well

 Plant now to let the plants grow so it is well established by Christmas time.

 Just don’t forget to water it!

Some of the best plants to use would be parsley, basil, thyme, sage, oregano, dill or mint. You could even throw in some old spring onion ends and watch them grow!

Floral Bath Soak

A relaxing bath soak is a wonderful gift to encourage someone to practice  a little self-care. You can use a range of dried herbs. Lavender, Chamomile, Calendula and Rose petals are great to soothe the skin and relax the body. These are easily available from a range of stores online. Yet, why not ask your neighbours and friends for some? The children can help gather them and tie them in bunches.  You can then hang them somewhere dark and cool to dry before use. Avoid using fresh flowers as these can create mould.

What you will need:

  1. 20cm x 20cm square of muslin, cheesecloth or lace
  2. 6-8 tbsp of dried flower herbs
  3. 1 tbsp ground oats (Do this in a food processor or blender) or powdered milk
  4. 1 tsp of carrier oil (almond, jojoba, fractionated coconut oil, olive)
  5. 1-2 drops of essential oils – the best to use would be lavender, roman chamomile or rose
  6. Optional – for a relaxing muscle soak you could add 1 tbsp of epsom salts

Directions

  1. Place dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Combine the essential oil and carrier oil together
  3. Mix into dry ingredients
  4. Place mix into an old jar and cover with the cloth.
  5. Tie with a ribbon and give instructions on how to use.

Consider leaving the following instructions:
“Take some time to enjoy a relaxing herbal soak.  Place mix into centre of the cloth and tie with a string or ribbon.  Hand the bag from the tap and run warm water. The warm running water will run through it releasing the herbal properties into the bath. Enjoy!”

DIY eye pillow

Eye pillows are a soothing and relaxing gift. The light pressure they apply to the eyes can help relieve tension and block out light. While the aromatic herbs can help someone feel relaxed. This is easy to do with a sewing machine, yet it is also a great easy project for someone learning to sew by hand. You will need some fabric. Before buying any new, consider what you may already have on hand. An old scarf, old T-shirt or even fabric from an op-shop. Try and use fabric that is 100% cotton if you can.

What you will need:

  1. Approximately 150-170g of rice, flaxseed, wheat.
  2. Dried herbs – lavender, chamomile or rose petals are great options.
  3. Square of fabric approximately 22cm x 22 cm

Directions:

  1. Fold down one edge of the material about 1cm and iron flat.
  2. Fold the fabric in half, printed sides facing each other.
  3. Stitch around the two edges (one long and one short) with a 1cm seam allowance. Make sure you leave the folded edge open so you can fill the pouch
  4. Snip the corners and turn the pouch in the right way. Iron for a smooth finish.
  5. Fill with your grain and herb mixture.
  6. Sew the open end closed together.

These eye pillows can be cooled in the freezer but it is recommended you don’t heat them. This is due to the risk of fire and heat around your eyes can cause damage to the thinner layers of skin.

Coffee Scrub

This is a great way to use up coffee grounds if you have them. And if you don’t many cafes would be willing to give you some of theirs if you asked. This recipe can be varied depending on what you have at home. For a dryer scrub use less oil; for a coarser scrub use salt. You could also use a range of different oils depending on what you have available. Olive oil, avocado oi, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil and jojoba oil are all great options.

This is my favourite, coconut caramel coffee body scrub.

What you will need:

  1. ½ cup fresh coffee grounds (finely ground is best)
  2. ½ cup of brown sugar
  3. ½ cup of coconut oil
  4. 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the oil until your desired consistency is achieved. Add any essential oils you may be using and store in an airtight jar.

Consider leaving the following instructions:
“Apply to damp skin and rub gently using circular massage motion all over the body. Rinse well.  Avoid mixture getting any water in it. Store in the fridge between uses to prevent mould growth. Use within one-two weeks.  Be careful using in the shower as the oil can make things a bit slippery.”

Creating and making your own Christmas gifts adds a wonderful personal touch. And best of all, with these easy projects, they won’t cost you a fortune and they are a wonderful way to get the whole family involved in Christmas crafts.

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