Make these thoughtful herb and aromatherapy recipes into homemade holiday gifts to delight family and friends this holiday season or any time!
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.
Herbal Gifts for the Home:
Incense – 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.
Image: wellspringinc.org – HerbalGiftsWorkshop.jpg