“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” ~ Peg Bracken
Christmas is too often a time of crass commercialism, stress and expense. (There’s a great article by George Monbiot on this very theme right here.)
But I do love the idea of gift-giving to the people I hold dear. I do like the concept of using Christmas to honour and thank the people who have helped and supported us throughout the year.
I make many of our Christmas gifts. Most of them are edible (try my Five-Minute Fudge, Coconut Ice, Easy Lemon Curd, Capsicum Jam – a sweet and sour delight that goes well with bread, cheese and meats, or Cherry Ripe Slice) but I also make organic skincare treats that are so wholesome you could actually eat most of them if you felt so inclined.
They are easy to make, cost very little, and are fun to create with the kids too! You can use also use recycled jars or containers to further cut down on costs, and to be environmentally friendly. You may prefer plastic for safety reasons. It’s really up to you.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Brown Sugar, Cinnamon and Orange Scrub
This is a great scrub for sensitive skin, hands, faces and decollettes, and it smells so good, leaving your skin soft and lightly fragranced after use. Wet skin first and then rub a small amount of scrub in a circular motion. Rinse well and pat dry. The oil in the scrub means you won’t have to moisturize.
Ingredients: 1 cup of dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup of macadamia oil (or you could use sweet almond or apricot oil), 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, 3 drops of sweet orange oil. Hint – To improve the keeping qualities you can also add the contents of two capsules of Vitamin E oil as a natural preservative. Just pierce the capsule and squeeze the oil into the mixture.
Method: Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together well until combined. Add a little extra oil if it’s too dry. Spoon into clean jars, tie with a ribbon and make your own label. Don’t be alarmed if a thin layer of oil settles on the top – it’s a moist scrub.
Coconut-Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub
This scrub uses white sugar, and is a coarser scrub. It is terrific for wintery (or lizard-skin!) arms and legs, dry feet and elbows, and to help prevent ingrown hairs after waxing or shaving. Once again, wet skin first before applying.
Ingredients: 1 heaped cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of virgin cold-pressed organic coconut oil (if the oil is solid, stand the jar in a sink full of hot water – don’t microwave it!) , 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
Method: Place sugar and vanilla in a bowl and mix coconut oil in gradually until combined. The texture should be grainy and moist. Spoon into clean jars, tie with a ribbon and make your own label. * The mixture may solidify a little in cold weather, but will still be easy to spoon out of the jar.
‘Happy New Year’ Detox and Revive Bath Soak
This final recipe is for adding to a bath or foot soak. The fragrance of this soak is fresh and clean, and perfect for adding zip after all that partying. The salts replenish your potassium and magnesium, the clay softens and cleanses your skin and the essential oils aid detoxification, mental invigoration and muscle relaxation. Use a couple of heaped tablespoons in a foot bath, and up to one cup in a hot bath.
Ingredients: 3 cups Epsom Salts, 1/2 cup of rock salt (larger crystals) and 1/2 cup of celtic or other natural salt, 3 tablespoons of French Green Clay, 25 grams dried rosemary (about 3 tablespoons), 15 drops of rosemary essential oil, 20 drops of grapefruit essential oil, 20 drops of lavender essential oil.
Method: Mix all ingredients until well combined. Spoon into clean jars, tie with a ribbon and make your own label.