These herb and aromatherapy recipes are perfect to make as homemade holiday gifts for those you care about.
Make Your Own Herbal Holiday Gifts
Spirit Spray Mist Recipe
• Herbal Oat Scrub Recipe
• Bath Salts Recipe
• Body Silk Powder Recipe
• Lip Balm Recipe
• Soothing Body Shampoo Recipe
• Vanilla Extract Recipe
• Rose Hip Syrup or Jam Recipe
• Homemade Incense Recipe
• Dream Fragrance Pillow Recipe
• Yule Log Recipe
• Mulling Spices Recipe
• Vanilla-Rose Cordial Recipe
• Popcorn Spice Recipe
• Herbal Bath Blends Recipe
• Bay Rum Aftershave Recipe
• Male Tonic Elixir Recipe
Herbal Homemade Holiday Gifts
The dark days of winter have always been marked by celebration. Life seems dormant and we feel the need to bring light and warmth to this cold period with ceremony and candlelight. In religions that predate Christianity, festivals of differing cultures marked the return of the sun, the winter solstice. Our current rituals grew from a combination of traditions and superstitions from the Druids, the Romans’ Saturnalia, and the Norse candlelight ceremonies to today’s solstice traditions of Christmas and Hanukkah.
The hardy beauty of nature is brought indoors with aromatic pine boughs and fir trees, scenting the home with the perfume of winter. As the blazing Yule log burns in the fireplace, we enjoy this time of inward reflection with dear ones, a good book, and dreams of the coming year.
This celebratory time is often disrupted with the stress of what to buy the special people in our lives. But gift-giving needn’t be stressful, nor expensive. Use one of the recipes on the following pages to create the perfect gift, or use your imagination—these recipes may spark some unique ideas of your own!
The delightful gifts you make will become treasures for your friends and help to recreate the holidays as a festivity of the heart. May peace, love, and joy fill your hearts this holiday season!
Herbal Body-Care Gifts
Gifts that pamper the physical form are always welcome treats. Handmade gifts reflect both you and the recipient—they are given not only with that special person in mind but also reflect your thoughtfulness and willingness to spend time on gift- making. They are always more appreciated than simply spending money. These gifts are also made with fresh, safe, and natural ingredients, which is a plus.
Edible Herbal Treats
These fragrant sweeteners may be used in beverages, desserts, or meat dishes. The following is a list of herbs that may be infused into the honey. Whole herbs are more appealing to the eye—for instance, use a large piece of fresh orange peel and stud it with cloves. Use whole cinnamon sticks rather than crushed, and whole rose buds and stalks of dried lavender instead of petals. To make these honeys, loosely stuff a jar of any size full of herbs, and pour in honey to fill the jar and cover the herbs. Let the mixture “steep” together for several weeks, or warm the herbs and honey together for faster release of flavors.
Rosemary honey is tasty on chicken; citrus peel and clove honey is wonderful in tea. Mix and match the herbs for a more unique flavor combination. Try lavender, fresh citrus peel, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, mint, fresh ginger, rosemary, sage, roses, bay, or star anise. If you have access to fresh herbs, you can use them, but dried herbs work well.
Herbal Gifts for the Home
The burning of fragrant plant material is a ritual as old as humankind. It was done to bring us closer to a higher power, to protect us from harm, and as a vehicle to lift our prayers to the heavens. Whether it was pine pitch, frankincense, juniper, or sage, all cultures employed this ceremony to mark this special season of the return to light.
To make, mix equal parts of cinnamon powder, allspice, pine needles, and frankincense and sprinkle over a charcoal incense burner or atop a wood stove.
Herbal Culinary Recipes
This special time of year is resplendent with not only the fragrances of nature but of the table full of spiced, festive fare. Winter, more than any other season, is sure to offer the scents of cinnamon from mulled cider, nutmeg and allspice from still-warm fruitcakes, and a myriad of other mouth-watering delights from the kitchen.
Herbal Essential Oil Blends
Mix together equal parts of each of the following dried herbs and add 1 cup of the herb blend to 3 quarts of boiling water. Let the mixture steep until cool, then strain into a full tub. You can use the stimulating blend if you are on an endless party list, or soak away the stresses of the day with the relaxing blend.
For more gift recipe ideas check the Herbal Homemade Holiday Gift articles listed at the beginning of this article.
Mindy Green is an herbalist, aromatherapist, educator, and writer. She is also an esthetician, a consultant to the natural products industry, and director of education at the Herb Research Foundation in Boulder, Colorado. She is the author of Calendula (Keats, 1998), Natural Perfumes (Interweave, 1999), and co-author of Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art (The Crossing Press, 1995).
No time to make your own holiday herbal gifts?
While the idea of making homemade gifts may sound wonderful, it’s not always practical at such a busy time of year. Here are some great natural products, comparable to the recipes given in this story, that also make nice gifts. Most of the products are available at health-food stores.
Abra Therapeutics’ Skin Refining Scrub
Wood Spirits’ Lavender Exfoliating Salt Scrub
Cowgirl Enterprises’ Cowgirl Lip Balm
Sun Dog Hemp Lip Balm
Avalon’s Liquid Soap
Tom’s of Maine’s Natural Glycerin Liquid Soap
Herbal Bath Blends
Prima Vera Life
Aubrey Organics’ Ginseng Mint Aftershave
Bay Rum Aftershave Balm
Pure Essential Oils
Original Swiss Aromatics
Prima Vera Life