Unlike the Grinch… I just love Christmas. It’s such a magical time of togetherness. A time to reflect on the year that has been, celebrate the people we love and be grateful for all that we have.

One of the most special (and enjoyable) aspects of this festive season, I believe, is the wonderful tradition of gift-giving. I’m not talking about heading for the mall and getting into a ‘buy buy buy’ frenzy (I just experienced that on a recent visit to Asia - all those over-the-top, glittering window displays, the bigger, the brighter, the better!). No. I mean carefully considering the people you're gifting to, searching out (or better still, creating) those perfect items, wrapping them up with love, then seeing the joy and appreciation on the faces of the recipients, as they peel back the paper for the final reveal.

If you give from the heart, you can’t go wrong. Which brings me to the topic of this blog: home-made gift making. (Crafting it yourself, giving your time and creative energy; it doesn't get much more heart-felt than that, right?) Have you ever tried it? If not, perhaps now is the time - as making your own gifts really is a great way to slow down, become more mindful and counter all that costly consumerist stress. It also gives you a chance to think about the person you’re making the gift for. Who they are, what they enjoy, and what you can do to show them you care.

Tasty edibles are a great option (truffles, slices, nut butters etc), and always well received. Your offerings can be made even more tempting (and health-enhancing) when you add a few drops of carefully selected essential oils into the mix… For recipe inspiration check out one of my previous blogs, available here. Yum!

Alternatively, if you want to take your custom-crafting to the next level, bespoke body oils or massage oils also make marvellous gifts. They’re simple to create and fun to personalise. Plus they really do have the wow factor (and the timing is perfect, given everybody could do with a relaxing massage around Christmas time!). Just gather the right products together*, follow these 4 easy steps, and there you have it: beautiful, original, personal gifts with heart.

1. First you will need your carrier oils. Almond Oil Sweet: Virgin (Organic) is the most popular for softness and absorbency, but you can also add 10ml of Jojoba Oil (Organic) for a silky smooth finish and 3ml Wheatgerm (Organic) for extra Vitamin E. The ratios should look something like this (for 100ml of end product):
84ml Almond
10ml Jojoba
3ml Wheatgerm
3ml essential oil/s (= 3% dilution)

2. Now you can get creative. Depending on who the gift is for, you need to choose the right combination of essential oils.

> For example, to create a ‘fitness body oil’ for someone active, choose essential oils that will enhance circulation and leave a fresh, invigorating scent - like Peppermint (Organic) 0.5ml, Lemon (Organic) 1.5ml and Cedarwood Atlas (Organic) 1ml.
> Or perhaps you are preparing something for your partner, in which case you could explore more relaxing, sensual oils such as Ylang Ylang (Organic) 1ml, Lavender True (Organic) 0.5ml, rich, earthy Sandalwood 0.5ml and (for your top note) Lemon (Organic) 1ml.
> Or deeply relaxing: Lavender True (Organic) 1.5ml, Chamomile Roman (Organic) 0.5ml, Sandalwood 1ml.

3. When blending massage oils it’s best to blend all your carrier oils together first, then in a separate container blend your essential oils. Give them time to settle before combining. Always leave overnight before you take a sample as the scent needs time to develop.

 Details to make your gift extra special:
> A beautiful coloured glass bottle. Timeless and elegant, as well as protecting against UV damage (make sure it is clean and seals well).
> Use an original label. Handcraft your own name and design.

I ran a ‘blending basics’ workshop recently, where I discussed how different essential oils can be categorised (fruity / woody / citrusy etc), and how important it is to create balance within your blend by using the right measure of top, middle and base notes. If you’d like to learn more please keep in touch (or keep an eye on our SEMINARS page) and we will let you know when we're running our next blending session.

*Always make sure the essential plant oils you use are 100% pure, certified organic and therapeutic grade. Commercial, high-volume producers tend to use synthetic ingredients, intense farming methods, fast production techniques, and low-cost (unsustainable) packaging and transportation. This might result in a recognisable aroma however it is sadly lacking when it comes to any real health benefit or curative potential.

When you make the choice to use a pure organic essence with its original molecular functions from the plant still intact, you are accessing an entirely different level of therapeutic value. One with the power to positively integrate with your natural physiology, restore balance and effectively enhance your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.

I hope your Christmas is a healthy, merry one - and that you find yourself surrounded by those you love!

- Dr Bo Hendgen