Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Guest Post: Homemade Christmas Gifts

I'm happy to bring you another guest post from my mom! Today she's going to be talking about lovely homemade Christmas gift ideas, and how to make them!

DIY Gifts YOU can make

Giving a gift that you took the time and energy to make has an extra dose of love added! Here are a few ideas that will get you started.

Natural lotions, lip balm, shower scrubs, salves, body sprays and other personal items make great gift, especially if you know the favorite scent of the person receiving the gift.

Exfoliating Body Scrub
9 oz. Sea Salt, Epsom Salt, or Sugar
4 oz. Coconut Oil
12-16 drops Essential Oil

Mix all ingredients well and store in sealed container. I use cute little mason jars.

To use: Wet skin in shower;  Rub salt scrub over skin in circular motion. Rinse and towel dry. You will be left with a light oil on skin so no lotion is needed.
Caution- the oils may make your shower a little slippery.

Notes: Use metal or glass, as plastic sometimes absorbs the smell of the essential oils.

You can use 4 oz. of any kind of oil you would like. In this one I used half almond oil and half coconut oil.

10 drops of Rosemary and 6 drops of Peppermint were used in this batch. It gives it an invigorating feel. Lavender is a favorite scent for many and has relaxing properties. Patchouli has a musky more masculine smell. Both are excellent for the skin. Eden's Garden has a great reputation and you can read descriptions for every kind of essential oil.

Be sure to make a tag for your scrub with instructions on how to use!

Natural Lip Balm
1 oz. Beeswax
15 drops Vitamin E Oil, if desired
25 drops Essential Oil, if desired

Melt beeswax in double-boiler. Add almond and castor oils and stir well. When it's all liquid, take off burner and stir in vitamin E oil and essential oils.  Fill your tubes using a small funnel or pipetteLet cool completely and cap.
I like to print up a nice waterproof label with the list of ingredients and such.

Notes: I don't have double-boiler so I set my glass Pyrex measuring cup in a saucepan with about 2 1/2" water. Make sure you don't splash any water into mixture.

Again, you can use any types of oils you want (Apricot Kernel, sunflower, coconut, etc.)

This is a basic lip balm that men would use too. If you want a more shiny one add more oils, such as Castor oil or less beeswax.

Nutty Chocolate Clusters
2 lbs. salted dry-roasted Peanuts
4 oz. German Sweet Chocolate
12 oz. bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 lbs. Vanilla Candy Coating/Almond Bark

In a 4 quart crock-pot pour in peanuts, then chocolate, broken into chucks, as listed. Set on low and leave (no stirring) for 2-3 hours until melted. Now mix all together and drop onto parchment paper by spoonfuls. Let harden and store in air-tight container.

Notes: Try dropping this mixture over a mini twist pretzel and small piece of caramel. Store in fridge/freezer if using homemade caramels.

Substitute the peanuts with cashews, pecans, and walnuts.  

Beware! Don't make these too long before gifting as you might eat them all!

2 cups Sugar             2 cup heavy Cream
1 cup Brown Sugar        1 cup Butter
1 cup Corn Syrup         1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla 
1 cup evaporated Milk

Heat all ingredients, except vanilla in large pot over medium low heat. Cook and stir until mixture reaches 248*, or when a small amount of mixture forms firm ball when dropped into cold water. This usually takes me 45 minutes or more. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour mixture onto greased cookie sheet and cool. Cut into squares and wrap in parchment paper. Store in airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.

Notes: Pot should be about 3X as big as your mixture.

Here is an economical candy thermometer.

You can sprinkle with course sea salt or press in chopped pecans after cooling for about 20 minutes.

After wrapping, fill a glass jar with them and add a festive bow and tag.

My husband usually requests these at least once a year.

 Natural Perfume
(without the synthetic hormones!)

30 drops of Essential Oil, more or less
2 oz. 80-100% proof Vodka, spiced Rum, or the like

If you are using more than one essential oil, mix together in glass capped container and let sit for a few days so the oils blend. Add the alcohol, cap tightly and shake well. Let age in cool dark area for 2-4 weeks.

Notes: You can make smaller batches right in these glass perfume bottles, or funnel into a spray bottle like these after the perfume has aged.  Shake before pouring into your bottles.

If you don't know a lot about mixing essential oils and don't want to experiment, try a blend of oils like the one linked above. Read the description of the oil to see if it's a good fit.

Rice Packs

100% Cotton Material (10"x5" for each pack)
White Rice (about 1 cup)

Cut a 10" by 5" rectangle of your material. Fold in half with good side facing in. Sew along all edges, leaving a 2" space un-sewn for filling. Now turn material right side out. Use funnel to fill pouch 3/4 full with rice. Tuck un-sewn edges under and sew shut. If desired, sew around edges for detail.

Notes: Surely I should be able to think of a better name for such a versatile gift! It's a toy, juggling tool, hand warmers, earache relief pack ... The smaller ones are a gift our daughter is making for her little brother for Christmas.

Warm these up in microwave for about 45 seconds for achy muscles, ear aches, and hand warmers for your coat pockets.

Don't forget the instructional tag on heating them!

Play Dough
1 cup Flour
1 cup Water
2 TBS. Oil (coconut, canola)
1/2 cup Salt
1 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1-2 pkgs. Kool-Aid, if desired

Mix together in a pot and heat over medium heat, stirring well until mixture starts to pull from pot. Shut off burner, but leave pot on burner, stirring until mixture forms into a ball. Remove and cool completely. Store in tightly sealed container.

Notes: This is super soft play dough and smells so good with the Kool-aid added!

Even some of my older children asked for it in their stockings :)

I used 1 pkg. mixed berry Kool-Aid for blue and 1 Orange flavor for orange.

Darling Vintage Belt
I have not made this, yet, but will be soon. It is just too cute! I know some ladies that would look superb wearing this ;)
Below is the link with complete details on how to make.

Basket of Goodies
(or oven mitt, or slippers, or...)

You don't have to make something from scratch to give a more personalized gift.

Try a basket of fresh fruits. I added a jar of blueberry preserves.

An oven mitt with handy utensils. See a few of our favorite HERE.

Fuzzy slippers filled with nail polish, Nail filer, Foot cream, chocolate, tea bags ...

I love to custom-make a pretty apron and add some handcrafted natural soap to go with it as a gift for someone special. It's rewarding to create a unique one for each person.
And if you haven't tried making your own soap, that's another whole bunch of fun! Below is my Orange/Coffee soap.

Happy Christmas Gifting!
~Shantelle's Mom


  1. I am totally going to try that chocolate-covered nuts one! Thanks for the ideas, these are fantastic!

  2. You're Welcome! They are super good and keep well!