This article was featured is Traverse Bay Family Magazine, 2016 Winter Issue.
The holiday season is a time of giving. We feel more charitable and want to extend our well wishes to our loved ones and family. Often we are left unsure as to what to give a person that conveys our love and appreciation for them. Perhaps we want to give something more meaningful. This year I wanted to create some gifts in my home. Something that was healthy, beautiful, and full of good tidings. I decided to make some homemade body care items — lip balm and hand cream. Two items everyone in northern Michigan uses throughout the long, dry winter.
I had a couple of criteria for my recipes:
1) They had to be 100% organic and natural.
Chemicals found in lotions, shampoos, lip balms, makeup, and perfume are all applied to our skin. The skin is the largest organ in the human body and it absorbs whatever you put on it. If products contain harmful ingredients such as artificial fragrances, colors and toxic chemicals, a large percentage of those ingredients end up inside our body. The average woman applies 126 chemicals, in up to 11 different products, before having her first cup of coffee in the morning! I want these gifts to be healthful to my friends and family, and I know from years in the natural product industry, that we can make an effective body care item without harmful ingredients.
2) The recipes needed to be easy and effective.
Like most people my holiday season is often the busiest time of the year. Parties, school musicals, dance recitals, work functions, and all of the preparation leave us short on time. These recipes are simple with just a few ingredients, and they literally take 30 minutes from start to finish. Gathering all your ingredients, choosing some simple packaging, and having a couple of basic kitchen tools (mason jar, sauce pan and grater) is all you need. I found that packaging can be anything you can dream up. Simple or elaborate, the product is beautiful in any container.
Here are the two basic recipes that can be altered to your preferences:
Sweet Almond Hand Cream
- 1/4 cup of sweet almond oil
- 2 Tablespoon virgin coconut oil
- 2 Tablespoon bees wax or Carnauba wax grated
- 1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil
- 1 T Shea butter
Essential oil of your choice (I used lavender)
Place all ingredients in a glass jar. Bring a pot filled with 3-4 inches of water to simmer. Put the jar, without its lid, in the pot and let stand until the ingredients have melted. Stir occasionally. Once the mixture has melted and is evenly combined, pour into your containers (little glass or plastic jars). Let it sit at room temperature until the cream hardens, and then put on the lids.
*Adapted from the organicauthority.com
Coconut oil lip balm
- 2 tablespoons beeswax or Carnauba wax grated
- 1 tablespoons Shea butter
- 1 tablespoon of cocoa butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 30+ drops peppermint essential oil or any kind you like
Line up empty containers (lip balm sticks or little jars). Makes about 20 tubes of lip balm. Measure all ingredients and place in glass jar. Fill a saucepan with 3-4 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place glass jar in the pot, stirring occasionally until all ingredients have melted and are combined. Remove glass jar from pot and let stand for a couple of minutes before pouring into containers.
Both of these recipes took me less than an hour, from start to finish, and the recipes can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to make a lot at once. I bought some clear Avery labels and printed them at home to put on the lip balm tubes and containers. It is a really nice touch, but not necessary. A small mesh or cello bag would also work great with a gift tag on the outside. My 10 year old daughter helped, and we had a blast together in the kitchen. This was a gift in itself. It was a beautiful time to turn on some music and make something together we could feel proud about.
Other homemade body care items that can be made simply and naturally are toner, bath bombs, sugar scrubs and perfume.
I highly recommend this as a holiday gift idea. It is a great gift that anyone will use and enjoy. Most of us have more things than we will ever use, and a homemade gift of this practicality is coming from our hearts to the people that mean the most to us. This is truly the holiday spirit. Let’s focus on less “things” and more on the people that make our life meaningful. The greatest gifts we receive in life are not the ones we buy.