The gift of giving

The holidays can be stressful and expensive. From families, coworkers, friends and significant others, the act of gift giving can tally a bill that breaks the bank. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, making homemade presents is a fantastic way to relieve stress from finals. These gifts are thoughtful, enjoyable and recreatable for all budgets.

Beeswax Candles:

Who doesn’t love filling the room with the aroma of vanilla, apple cinnamon, balsam and spiced cider? Candles compliment a relaxing ambience and are a neutral idea for any type of gift. 

The problem with conventional scented candles? Normally made with synthetic fragrances and paraffin wax, breathing those in can be as toxic as second-hand smoke or the fumes from a car. Eliminate the fear of artificial fragrances polluting the air of loved ones and do-it-yourself. Using all-natural beeswax and essential oils, these candles are versatile and perfect to make for year-round gifts.

Ingredients:

1 16 oz bag of beeswax pellets

6 4 oz jelly jars

Wicks (cut to length)

1 Tbsp essential oil (scent of choice)

Optional: organic items to embed (lavender, rosemary, pine needles, etc)

Tools:

Wooden skewer for stirring

Double-boiler pot (filled with few inches of water)

Electric heat source

Start by placing the wicks in a jar, holding in place with a clothespin or pencil. Heat the beeswax in the double-boiler pot on the electric heat source over medium heat from 10 to 15 minutes. 

Carefully stir the wax with the wooden skewer and pour the mixture into the jars, leaving some behind. Adjust the wicks as necessary, add organic items if desired, combine essential oil and let harden. 

Once the wax has completely cooled and settled into the jar, some may sink near the wick and require the leftover wax to be reheated, filling the jar to the edge. Lastly, trim the wick to approximately ¼ of an inch for a long-lasting, non-sooty burn.

Assorted Treats Box:

Fellow foodies unite. The act of giving homemade treats shows the time and love that went into baking, melting, molding and dipping candies and sweets suitable for all ages and dessert is the main star of the evening.

During the holiday season, indulging in the sugary delight of gingerbread, thumbprint cookies, caramels, hot chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies and candy canes is almost an unspoken rule in society. Make it fun and delicious by recreating family recipes or finding new ones to follow, bag the delectables in festively decorated cellophane treat bags and add to gift boxes with paper confetti to safely share the spirit. 

Switch up the traditional hot chocolate route and opt to make hot chocolate stirrer sticks sprinkled with tiny marshmallows or crushed peppermint. Using smaller cookie cutters, opposed to the classic gingerbread man, can save room and maximize the dough. 

Assorted treat boxes can be personalized and crafted to meet the sweet tooth or sour needs of each individual. If baking isn’t your speciality, the treat box can be reimagined to include popcorn, peanuts, pretzels and trail mix. Bath bombs, handmade soap, lotion and sage are soothing non-food related box-filler ideas.

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