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DIY Holiday Gifts

When most of us think of DIY holiday gifts, our thoughts usually turn toward food—specifically baked goods like cookies, sweet breads, fruitcakes, and candies. While I’m not one to turn away any of those delicious treats, I generally try to stay away from them for my own gift-giving needs. There are always plenty of sugary foods to go around this time of year, and an alternative DIY gift is often very welcome.

So, I’d like to introduce you to a whole new category of DIY gifts, one that is adaptable to almost any budget, and is in many ways easier than baking. I’m talking about bodycare. At this time of year, when the dry winter season is here to stay, these aromatic, moisturizing creams and scrubs are a luxurious gift that almost everyone will use and enjoy.

Below are a few very basic recipes to start with. One word of advice if you choose to make these as a gift: make sure to make extra, because I guarantee you’re going to want to keep some for yourself!

Body Scrub

  • 1 part scrub: Sugar is the most commonly used, but you can also use Epsom salt, coffee grounds, salt, finely ground oatmeal, or any mixture of those items.
  • 1 part oil: Use whatever oil fits your tastes and your budget. Argan oil is amazing, but also quite spendy. Jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, almond oil, coconut oil, or even olive oil all work quite well. If you are using an oil like coconut that is solid at room temperature, heat it gently until it liquefies before mixing with the scrub.
  • Scents: This is where you can let your creativity run wild. Use a blend of essential oils, flavor extracts, or peruse the produce and bulk departments for inspiration: a few tablespoons of blended banana pulp and vanilla extract, cocoa powder and ground cinnamon, lemon essential oil and dried rosemary, or you can even blend some aromatic loose leaf tea or dried rose petals into the scrub. The sky really is the limit!

Directions: Couldn’t be simpler. Just blend all ingredients together, put in a pretty little jar, and you’re done! If you use produce items or other non-shelf stable ingredients, make sure to tell the recipient to keep the scrub refrigerated and use it up quickly.

Body Butter

  • 3 parts “solid” oil: This is any oil that is solid at room temperature. Shea butter (available in our Health and Wellness aisles) and coconut butter are good bets.
  • 1 part “liquid” oil: Any type of oil that’s liquid at room temperature. Sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba, argan, or olive oil work really well.
  • Scents: Again, this is up to you and your imagination. Since this is not a scrub that will be washed off, I’d recommend sticking with essential oils or flavor extracts that can easily be absorbed into your skin.

Directions: Heat the ingredients slowly in a double boiler until all of the oils are liquefied. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and chill until the mixture is just starting to solidify. Use a hand-mixer to whip the body butter until it’s the consistency of whipped cream. Transfer to a small tin or jar.

Lip Balm

  • 1 part oil: Any of the “liquid” oils listed above or coconut oil
  • 1 part butter: Shea butter or cocoa butter work well.
  • 1 part beeswax pastilles or beads: Sold in the Bulk section of our Health and Wellness aisle!
  • Scents and/or colors: Essential oils and extracts work best here. If you want to add color, you can use natural powders like beet powder, turmeric powder, or you can even use a small amount of a powdered drink mix like Emergen-C.

Directions: Heat all of the ingredients in a double boiler until they are liquefied and combined. Pour into a small lip balm tin and let cool.

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