I know, I know. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and the local mall is blaring “Silver Bells” while visions of tinsel and plastic pine garlands dance in your overwhelmed head. But if you want to save some money this year on Christmas presents, getting an early start will give you the chance to make some of your own. I’ve got a few quick and easy ideas for something herbal for the stocking. With a little bargain hunting, you can snag the ingredients and make money-saving gifts that will mean a lot more than what Santa’s mall helpers are plying this year.
Calendula Oil: Take a clean glass jar, maybe even one you already have from jellies, jams, or canning, and fill it with dried calendula flowers. About two weeks before you’re giving the gift, fill the jar with an oil such as sweet almond, or even olive oil. Add a few drops of lavender and/or rosemary oil. Tightly cap the jar and cover the top with a square of folded cheesecloth, a pretty ribbon, and a tag with instructions to the receiver. After they receive their homemade calendula oil, they can strain the flowers from it with the cheesecloth attached to the lid, then add their oil to a bath or use it for dry skin, cuts, burns, etc.
Bath: Blend several herbs such as lavender, rosemary, and chamomile and place in a clean glass jar with a lid. Include a small muslin bag with a drawstring (about 4 x 6 would be good) and instructions to fill the bag with a handful of the herbs to be used in the bath. When the bath is done, they hang up the bag for it to dry, empty out the used herb, and refill it with new.
A Few More: Create your own dried herb potpourris or herb blends for cooking. Or try dropping small bottles of essential oils into stockings and write up a list of fun suggestions on a pretty little card. (Essential oils on their own are great for adding scent to baths, washing machines, or on light bulb diffuser rings.)
I’m never so excited about giving a gift as the ones I make myself. With a little herbal creativity, you’ll not only save some money this holiday season by making your own stocking stuffers, you’ll give gifts worth remembering.
For dried herbs and essential oils online: The Giving Essence
For more herbal recipes: An Herbal Bedfellow
For all sorts of herbal goodness: Herb Quarterly