There were a few days this past week where it felt that the sun had done a runner and left us in a perpetual state of dusk. Not seeing an inch of blue sky can definitely have its negative affects so I’m already feeling a little cheerier when I can see the low winter light streaming through the window, even if it’s just for half an hour! Things have felt very busy this week and my bank account has taken such a battering in the last two months with trips away and now presents to buy that I’m afraid to even look at my statements! There is huge pressure to buy the most expensive gifts and not only that, pressure to have the house decorated, visit all our relatives and friends and drink our body weights in alcohol. Luckily there seems to be more and more people championing the simpler Christmas which I think helps to encourage less money spending and more thought. In the spirit of this, I have decided against the usual mad rush of buying anything I think will do for my extended family in favour of making my own Christmas hampers filled with homemade products I think they will appreciate much more than a bottle of wine or another pair of gloves! I chose simple products that wouldn’t stress me out too much and I have staggered out the crafting process so I don’t feel overwhelmed and can actually enjoy it all. I will list out a few of the things I’ve chosen to make however the gift of this is that you can be as flexible as you like and keep it minimal if it’s all you can manage.
ROSE PETAL BATH SALTS
What You Need:
- Petals from 4 roses
- 20 drops of vanilla oil/essence
- 3 cups of Epsom salts
- Mini bags
These salts were embarrassingly easy to make and took all of about half an hour to make 18 small bags!
- The week before making them I bought a bunch of red roses when I was doing my groceries for £3 and enjoyed them until they were starting to wilt.
- When I knew their days were over, I took the heads off and sprinkled the petals in my Nutri Bullet. After a quick blitz the shredded petals were the most beautiful shade of crimson and the smell was A-MAZING.
- I added the petals to 3 cups of Epsom salts that were already in a bowl and added my vanilla drops.
- After thoroughly mixing through and feeling giddy with the pretty colours, I added them to the bags I had found on Amazon and they were good to go!
What You Need:
- ¾ Melt and Pour Soap Base Clear
- Silicone Mould
- 100 drops Orange Essential Oil
- 50 drops Cinnamon Essential Oil
- 20 drops Clove Bud Essential Oil
- 3 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- Pyrex Jug
This was a little trickier than the bath salts but well worth the smell it created in the kitchen I promise!
- First of all I cut the soap base in to cubes that would fit in to the moulds so I could guess how much I would need to melt.
- I then put the cubes in to the jug and placed in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so until the base was melted.
- Once fully melted I added my oils and ground cinnamon and mixed well.
- After this I poured the mix in to the moulds CAREFULLY because I wanted the top of the soap to be smooth and not pouring over the edges (not so pretty). I
- I placed the moulds on a tray to keep steady and then in the fridge to cool for 1-2 hours.
- Once they’re solid you can pop them out and then dress them up any way you please!
What You Need:
- 1kg soy wax flakes
- 3 Jam Jars (or whatever you have – I keep Bonne Mamam jam jars for my candles)
- 3 wicks – I got mine here
- 20 drops of Orange Essential Oil per jar
- 40 drops Cinnamon Essential Oil per jar
- 15 drops Clove Bud Essential Oil per jar
I play it a bit fast and loose with making these so the guidelines are pretty rough but easy to follow I hope! What’s handy is that you have similar ingredients to your Christmas soap so you can make your candles while your soaps are setting in the fridge (I paint a very calm picture don’t I?!).
- I placed my jam jars in a big pan filled about to about 2 inches deep of boiling water and then scooped about 18 tablespoons in to the jars. Make sure and take time when adding the wax as it reduces down as it melts so you will have to add them gradually.
- Once all your wax has melted and your jars are almost full, take the jars out of the pan and then add your essential oils.
- The final step is to place one wick in the centre and make sure it sticks to the bottom of the jar by using sticks to hold it in place (I laid kebab sticks across the jar and placed the wick in between so it didn't fall away from the centre). This is the trickiest part and might take some patience!
- Wait for the candles to set and then cut your wick down to an appropriate length et voila!
LAVENDER HAND WASH
What You Need:
- Soap dispensers
- 2 cups of castile soap
- 2 cups distilled water
- 4 tbsp sweet almond oil
- 4 tbsp vitamin E oil
- 20 drops of Witch Hazel
- 40 drops of lavender essential oil
This recipe allowed me to make 4 of these bad boys and it took all of about 10 minutes #winning
- Using your jug, pour in your water first and then castile soap (prevents lots of bubbles) and then your essential oils.
- Give it a good shake around and then you are done!
WHIPPED SHEA & OLIVE OIL BODY BUTTER
What You Need:
- 1 cup shea butter
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 30 - 40 drops of vanilla essential oil
- 2 x 500ml glass jars
This is a fairly messy process so one tip I have is to wash your utensils straight away after using!
- Scoop your shea butter in to a pan and gently melt.
- Gradually add your olive oil
- Add essential oils and remove from heat
- Once cooled, place the pan in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until the mixture has almost solidified
- Using a hand held mixer, whip the mixture until you get a light, airy texture.
- Spoon the mixture in your containers and they are good to use for a few months.
I hope this provides a little insight in to how easy homemade gifts can be to make. All it takes is a little preparation and motivation on these dark evenings but the outcome is so worth it! Make sure to add some little Christmas themed sweets or crackers to try and beef out the box a little otherwise you can use some more of my crafting recipes here and here to help inspire you a little more! Happy crafting x