Something special for each, of course - homemade would be perfect. Something fresh and unexpected, customized, yet budget-friendly.
This year, make essential oils an essential component of your gift giving. Substitute that stressful shopping expedition with a pleasant hour of fragrant creativity, and craft the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
"Homemade gifts say that you care," says Tom Havran, product development specialist for Aura Cacia, a leading aromatherapy brand. "And when you make one using essential oils, you can go one step further and personalize its aromatherapy benefits as well."
To personalize your aromatherapy gift, choose pure essential oils with benefits that best suit the person receiving the gift. To help you get started, here's a chart of the aromatherapy benefits of the essential oils suggested in the instructions for making the gifts below:
Experts caution that full aromatherapy benefits are available only from natural, unadulterated essential oils - not petroleum-derived synthetic fragrances or essential oils that have been "stretched" with less expensive components.
Havran, who helped develop aromatherapy gift ideas for a Web site feature on the topic, shares three of his favorites:
Aromatherapy Zen Garden
The garden is a creative way to deal with stress at the office or at home. You'll need a tiny garden rake, or chopsticks to serve as the rake, a decorative shallow glass bowl or ceramic tray, table salt (enough to fill the bowl) and small decorative rocks and shells. Use a meditative essential oil such as frankincense, myrrh or sandalwood.
To assemble, fill the container with the salt and mix in 10 to 15 drops of oil. Smooth and add the rocks and shells in a pleasing arrangement. Using the rake or chopsticks as a stylus with which to draw flowing continuous patterns in the salt. Experience the garden fully as you meditate. You can assemble the garden ahead of time for a personal presentation or send it unassembled over a distance.
Holiday Botanical Diffuser
Brighten the atmosphere as well as the table with this attractive and aromatic decoration. Your choices of spices will personalize each gift. You'll need a decorative glass jar, an array of spices such as cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole nutmeg, cardamom pods and bay leaves to layer into the container, and a spicy, holiday aromatherapy blend (to make your own, combine a teaspoon of sweet orange essential oil and a quarter teaspoon each of anise seed, clove and cinnamon bark essential oils in a .33- or .5-ounce essential oil bottle).
To assemble, layer the spices in the jar and - just before giving the gift - sprinkle 10 to 15 drops of the aromatherapy blend. Include the blend with the gift so your recipient can refresh the scent as needed.
Here's a colorful gift that celebrates traditional wintertime scents. These delightful decorations are the perfect way to cheer up a home and announce that the holidays have arrived. You'll need a small drawstring bag or sachet (you can easily make one from a decorative handkerchief or fabric and ribbon), coarse rock salt, a small handful of bay leaves, crushed into small pieces (you need just enough salt and bay leaves to fill your sachet), and one of the following 100-percent-pure wintertime oils: fir needle, cedarwood, pine or peppermint,
To assemble, combine the salt and bay leaves in a glass container. Sprinkle with 20 to 30 drops of essential oil and mix well. Fill the sachet with the mixture. Include the blend with the gift so that the recipient can refresh the scent as needed.
For more ideas on homemade gifts, call Kit-n-Caboodle in Oakley at 625-6000.