Get Crafty: Healthful Homemade Holidays

by Day Host-Jablonski

With a few weeks remaining until the holiday season is in full swing, now is a perfect time to create the fresh and fragrant homemade gifts you will bring to this season’s potlucks, parties, and homecomings. It’s a time for gratitude and celebration – of family, food, and good health!

Holiday Party Mocktail Syrups
The complex flavors and digestive benefits of craft cocktails are also an open invitation to those of us who look for nonalcoholic beverages. These flavorful and festive herbal syrups can be brewed in an afternoon. Blended into sparkling water, fruit juices and hot tea or coffee, they transform dull draughts into drinkable delicacies. You may want to make a double batch – every time I bring these to potlucks, I come home with empty bottles!
Rosemary Tangerine Syrup
2 6-inch sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 C water
2 C sugar
zest of 4 tangerines
Add zest and sprigs to water in a non-reactive pot over medium high heat. When water starts boiling, add sugar and stir until dissolved and syrup begins to thicken. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 2 hours. Strain out solids and store in a clean bottle. Makes 1 quart. Try 1-2 tablespoons in a glass of sparkling water.
Rose & Spice Syrup
¼ C cardamom pods (slightly crushed)
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
½ C rose petals
2 C water
2 C sugar
Add spices to water in a non-reactive pot over medium high heat. When water starts boiling, add sugar and stir until dissolved and syrup begins to thicken. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 1 hour. Then add roses and steep another ½ hour. Strain out solids and store in a clean bottle. Makes 1 quart. Try 1-2 tablespoons in a cup of coffee or black tea.

Home Aromatherapy Sprays and Diffusion
Walking into a good-smelling house is always a pleasure, and especially so when the smells remind us of holiday celebrations! These essential oil blends smell beautiful, are antimicrobial to help clear the air during cold & flu season, and inspire good cheer. Each of these recipes makes a milliliter of aromatherapy blend. For diffusion, add 10 drops of your blend to the reservoir of a nebulizer and run 30-60 minutes per room. To make a home scent spray, add 20 drops to 2 ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle made of dark (amber or cobalt) glass.
Deep Breath Aromatherapy Blend
12 drops douglas fir essential oil (eo)
8 drops eucalyptus radiata eo
2 drops peppermint eo
8 drops spike lavender eo
Holiday Health Aromatherapy Blend
4 drops cinnamon leaf eo
8 drops clove bud eo
6 drops oregano eo
10 drops sweet orange eo

Gifts of Glowing Skin
Homemade body care gifts are my favorites to give, as they are the perfect practical luxury – fresh, useful, and custom-created for those you love. Cleansing scrubs are excellent for our dry Midwest winters: nourishing oils keep skin soft, while detoxifying salts and exfoliants polish away dry skin.
Squeaky Clean Scrub
1 C fine sea salt
1/2 C almond oil
1/8 C unscented liquid castile soap
4 drops lemongrass eo
4 drops tea tree eo
Combine salt and oil and mix well. Add soap and essential oils, blending gently to prevent clumping or froth. This scrub is gently antimicrobial, making it perfect for cold & flu season. It rinses cleanly away and is very moisturizing – try it in the shower, or beside the sink as a hand wash. Makes 12 ounces.
Everything Nice Scrub
1 C fine sea salt
1 C sugar
2 T grapeseed oil
3 drops vanilla eo
7 drops lemon eo
2 drops cinnamon eo
1 drop ylang-ylang eo
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Store in a jar with a tight lid to preserve scents. This is a sweetly scented, lightly moisturizing scrub that can be used in the shower or bath. Makes 16 oz. Will keep 6 months in a sealed jar.

Seasonal Perfumes
In addition to smelling fantastic and keeping seasonal bugs at bay, the aromatherapy of essential oils can lift our emotions, boost our confidence and put a smile on our faces. Positive scent associations can help build happy memories and allow us to be more fully present for moments of joy and caring. Wreathe yourself in beautiful scents and carry the holiday spirit with you!
Chocolate Box Perfume Oil
12 drops cocoa absolute eo
10 drops vanilla eo
12 drops cedar eo
12 drops rose geranium eo
6 drops sandalwood eo
8 drops clove eo
2 tsp jojoba oil
This is a sensuous sugar & spice perfume for anyone with a serious sweet tooth. Combine essential oils in a 10 ml glass bottle, preferably one with a roller-ball applicator tip. Fill with jojoba oil, shake well. Let infuse for 3-7 days so scents mature, then apply to pulse points and enjoy!
Woodland Spirit Cologne
2 drops patchouli eo
8 drops atlas cedar wood eo
6 drops douglas fir eo
6 drops wild scotch pine eo
4 drops cinnamon leaf eo
3 T (1 ½ oz) 100 proof vodka
distilled water
This is a fresh and wild spray for men, women, and magical creatures of all kinds. Combine essential oils in a 2 oz (60 ml) dark glass spray bottle. Add vodka, cap tightly and shake, then top off with distilled water. Let infuse 3-7 days for scent to mature. Shake well before spraying onto pulse points.

Happy holidays – may your skin be soft and your home always smell wonderful!

Day Host-Jablonski is a radical perfumer, medicine maker and long-time ingredients nerd. She is grateful for her years of writing for Infused, and to everyone who’s helped her get crafty!

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