Healthy Homemade Holiday Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be stressful especially for those that seem to have everything. This year why not have bit of fun by making your own gifts. Here are some of my healthy favorites to inspire you this holiday season.

Cacao Truffles
You can almost never go wrong with the gift of chocolate. This truffle recipe is super easy and is sweetened by using dates rather than sugar. Cacao is a great source of antioxidants and other health properties . If you wish, try some of the herbal add-ins for extra medicinal delight.

Makes 12-16 truffles

2 cups high quality soft dates, pitted
3 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder, additional for coating
1 tablespoon herbal add-in (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sea salt to taste

Blend dates, cacao/cocoa powder, vanilla extract, herbal add-in, and salt in a food processor until very smooth. Use a spatula to scrape the dough down until the ingredients are well combined. Scoop out the mixture, roll into small balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. You can also press mixture into silicon candy molds. The mixture will be very sticky, so lightly coating hands with coconut oil may make it easier to manage. Roll balls into cacao/cocoa powder. Place truffles in the refrigerator for at least one hour to firm up.

Herbal Add-ins
Grind any combination of these herbs into a very fine powder. These are just some of my ideas.

Stress support: ginseng, licorice, eleuthrococcus
Heart Health:hawthorn, hibiscus, rose hips
Female support: maca, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger

Aromatherapy Room Spray
This room spray makes a lovely gift not just because it can eliminate unpleasant odors but it can actually be a mood changer. Since essential oils have antimicrobial properties, these sprays can also double as hand sanitizers and general disinfectants.

4 oz. clean spray bottle
30-40 drops of essential oil or blend
1.5 fl oz distilled water
1.5 fl oz high-proof alcohol(you can omit the alcohol and just use 3 fl oz of water but alcohol helps aroma linger)

Fill the spray bottle with the choice of either 1.5 fl. ounces of distilled water and 1.5 fl. ounces of alcohol or 3 fl. ounces of distilled water. Then, add 30-40 drops of essential oil. Make sure not to over fill the bottle as you want to be able to shake the bottle to mix.

To Use:
Shake the bottle immediately before each use. Mist lightly in the room. Be especially careful not to allow the air freshener mist fall onto furniture or into open beverages.

Essential oils
Mix and match any of these essential oils to make your own scent.

Energizing: Peppermint, Pine
Calming: Lavender, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Jasmine
Uplifting: Bergamot, Ylang ylang
Balancing: Rose, Clary sage, Geranium

Medicinal Tea

Making your own medicinal tea blend could be a wonderful gift especially as we head into cold and flu season. Simply fill mason jars with the blends and decorate with your own personalized label. Attach a cute tea ball with a ribbon for some extra flare. I usually buy my herbs at Integral Yoga Natural Apothecary next to my office or at Remedies Herbe Shop in my neighborhood. Here are some of my favorite blends from herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. All are measured by volume.

Gyspsy Cold Care
An amazing cold and flu fighter
1 part each yarrow, peppermint, elder flower

High-C Tonic
Vitamin C for an immunity boost
4 parts rose hips, 3 parts hibiscus, 2 parts lemongrass, 1 part cinnamon chips

Unwind and feel your stress melt away with this tea
3 parts lemon balm, 1 part chamomile, 1 part oat straw, 1/2 part chrysanthemum, 1/2 part rose, 1/2 lavender

Lip Balm
I also adapted this recipe from Gladstar and it is the perfect way to prevent chapped lips this winter. Your friends will be quite impressed that you made them yourself. The alkanet root is added to give the lip balm a reddish tint, which you can omit.

Makes about 20- 0.5oz lip balms

1/8 ounce alkanet root (optional)
1 cup apricot, almond, or jojoba oil
¼ cup beeswax
1 tablespoon honey
A few drops of pure essential oil to taste (orange, peppermint, vanilla, and rose are my favorites)

20 ½-ounce lip balm containers

If using alkanet, simmer the root over low heat in a double boiler in oil for about 15-20 minutes, or until the oil has turned a deep red/black color. The deeper the color the redder the oil will be when strained and bottled. Strain through a double layer of cheesecloth or a fine meshed strainer. Add beeswax, honey, and essential oil. A taste test here is appropriate. Then, test for consistency by placing a tablespoon of the oil in the freezer for 5 minutes. If the test batch is too hard, add a bit more oil to soften; if it is too soft, add more beeswax to harden. Don't let the mixture cool too much before pouring. If the lip balm begins to solidify and clings to the edges of the pot or measuring cup, quickly reheat the oil. Pour into ½-ounce containers and let cool thoroughly before placing lids.

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