The Essence of Giving: 5 Essential DIY Holiday Gifts Made with Essential Oils

Lavendar field
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The mention of “fragrance” on a product label may seem innocuous, but this one word is likely to encompass a handful — if not dozens — of harmful chemical compounds that don’t have to be listed individually.

Manufacturers are not required to disclose the exact components included in fragrance due to the risk of other companies copycatting their formula, and unfortunately it has become commonplace to stash any number of questionable ingredients under the vague mention of “fragrance” on ingredient lists.

One way to neatly sidestep this scent condundrum is to skip artificial fragrances altogether, build your own collection of essential oils, and use them to make your own fabulous gifts. Here are five suggestions to get those DIY juices flowing:

Lavendar field

Lavender field. Image courtesy of kennysarmy.

1. Aromatherapy Playdough

Apparently it is no longer acceptable to give children small sips of whisky to take the edge off, and aerosol valium still hasn’t been invented yet. Thus, whipping up this naturally scented homemade playdough might be the best gift in the world to give to the energetic children in your life (and their parents!). Using scents like lavender or sweet marjoram can add a soothing aromatherapy component to an afternoon of tactile play.

2. Low-tech car air freshener

Cut a cute shape out of felt and attach a piece of ribbon or string to create a simple, pleasingly low-tech car air freshener. Adding a few drops of essential oils to the felt every week or so will keep a loved one’s ride smelling good, naturally. Bonus points if you use an essential oil like pine that gives a nod to the old air freshener classic, without a trip to the convenience store.

3. Soothing Bath Salts

eucalyptus

Eucalyptus. Image courtesy of jar [o]

Epsom salts are incredible for easing sore muscles and replacing depleted magnesium stores. Mixing up a batch of scented bath salts is simple, and makes a fabulous gift for the hardworking teachers in your life. Simply stir 10 to 15 drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or vanilla into 1 cup of epsom salts, and 1/2 cup baking soda (to soothe skin irritations and soften water). Package the salts in a nice glass jar, and voila!

4. Gardener’s Hand Scrub

The perfect gift for the green thumb in your life, this homemade hand scrub combines white sugar, gentle dish soap (substitute an eco-friendly brand for Dawn) and essential oils to gently lift dirt while softening tired hands. This recipe uses small mason jars to hold the scrub, and adding a pretty label and ribbon is the perfect finishing touch.

5. DIY Essential Oil Cologne

Don’t feel like the men in your life have to be excluded from the essential oil party. Whipping up a custom scent for your favorite dude is simple with essential oils, witch hazel and water. Combine any combination of oils like sandalwood, cedar, or vetiver to create a perfectly masculine signature scent.

Feature image courtesy of kennysarmy

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Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.