Looking for a few quick and easy gift ideas? These last minute herbal DIY gifts are sure to please. Save time and money while your creativity shines.
DIY gifts are gifts from the heart. They are extravagant. They are full of meaning. They are an expression not just of thoughtfulness, but also of the giver’s personality and creativity. And they aren’t “cheap”, but they can be frugal, more so if the herbs came from your garden. These 55 last minute DIY gifts can be made in large quantities in an afternoon, ready for the unexpected guest, the hostess gift, or neighbor gift or just because you want to bless a friend or family member.
Herbal DIY gifts go a little deeper because they offer the gift of health and wellbeing plus good taste, affecting the whole body, mind, and emotions. If you are looking for a few last minute gifts let me save you the icy streets, the traffic jams, the waiting for a parking spot, the pushing through crowds of shoppers, the waiting in lineups to pay, or waiting for the parcel to arrive. Instead, open your herb cupboard and make these homemade herbal gifts this afternoon. You can thank me later.
Herbal tea for easy DIY gifts
Making herbal tea is as easy as taking the dried herbs from last summer’s garden and combining them into flavourful combinations that do double duty for good taste and good health. Peppermint, lemon balm, spearmint, rose hips, and raspberry or strawberry leaves make a delicious base. When you add dried berries to an everyday herbal tea blend it can become magical. Here are some fruity herbal tea ideas to get you started.
Or try one of these premeasured herbal tea blends.
Nourishing Nettle Tea 3 ways Nettles are a nutritive herb that can be taken freely. Nettle is rich in chlorophyll. They are a significant source of vitamin C, D, and A. The nettle is 20% minerals including calcium, silicon, potassium, chromium, phosphorous, magnesium, and zinc.
Herbal tea for pain and cramping If you know a woman who suffers from menstrual cramping, this herbal tea is terrific to help alleviate symptoms.
Herbal baths are a good way to introduce the healing power of herbs to your life. Your skin is your largest organ and at the end of the day, a relaxing herbal bath can rejuvenate and nourish your body, relax you, and relieve stress and pain. Try these herbal bath recipes for DIY gifts.
Herbal Bath Tea Bags – Use the abundance of your garden to create unique bath tea bags.
Rose Bath Bombs for relaxation – Bath bombs are a fizzy parcel of hydrotherapy in a joyful single serving portion. The dry bath bomb enters the bathtub and immediately erupts in fizzy, foaming delight that is reminiscent of the volcano demonstrations at grade one science fairs.
Oatmeal and Lavender Bath Bombs to Soothe Itchy, Red Skin — These bath bombs are soothing for red, inflamed skin with soothing colloidal oatmeal and lavender.
Dandelion Bath Bombs for Sore Muscles – -These bath bombs ease muscle and joint aches to make you feel better after exercise or physical exertion.
Dead Sea Bath Salts for Romance – Soak away the stresses and tension with a soak in the tub. These herbs are relaxing. The magnesium in the Dead Sea Salts is easily absorbed and will relieve minor aches and pains.
Handmade soap – Making soap at home is a fun craft and a good way to improve both your health and your budget. I want to teach you how to make soap and give you a basic soap making recipe that is easy to follow and uses ingredients that you probably already have in your house.
Yoga Mat Spray that’s easy to make in less than 5 minutes.
Salves and Ointments
Salves and ointments made from local herbs are powerful medicinals that nourish the body. Here are a few basic ones to put together for a Wellness Gift Basket. Each salve can be made in about 15 minutes if you’ve already got herb-infused oils to work with. If not, add an hour of herb steeping time to your efforts. You can make a lot of these in a one-hour long session, so don’t feel overwhelmed.
Anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic Pine Pitch Salve – Pine (Pinus sp.) is an incredible gift. It is rich in woodsy essential oils and resins. Pine pitch is free and just as beneficial for us as myrrh and frankincense.
Cayenne-Ginger salve for sore muscles – When your back is sore, your muscles are overworked, or your joints are a little stiff, warm them up with this quick to make an herbal salve.
Headache salve that really works – This soothing headache salve can be made from fresh lavender blossoms and peppermint leaves from your garden. If you don’t have any in your garden you can use dried leaves and dried blossoms to make this. Add a lavender eye mask for quick headache relief.
First Aid Salve – You can make a simple yet potent herbal ointment that is as effective as the OTC antibiotic ointment for pennies if you grow your own herbs. But even if you have to buy the dried herbs, it’s still an inexpensive alternative.
Chrismas-y Gold Frankincense and Myrrh Salve for itchy, dry, inflamed skin, bites, and rashes and a little Christmas luxury.
Lip Balms and Moisturizers
Cosmetics contain toxic chemicals that are absorbed through the skin into the body. These chemicals have to be expelled from the body through the liver and the kidneys taxing these organs. The best way to be kind to the liver is to eliminate the optional toxins we put on the body by using natural cosmetics. Herbal cosmetics heal rather than attack the body. Every time you give your loved one a natural cosmetic you increase their health and longevity.
Lip Balm – Cooling and nourishing lip balm recipes using natural, organic ingredients, herbs, and a tiny amount of time.
Naturally Colored Rose Lip Balm (a bit fancier) – Lip balms are super easy to make and an investment of an hour or two will easily give you enough lip balm for your family and friends for the whole winter. Seriously, get together with a friend and craft some lip balm ASAP.
Peppermint Lotion Bar – This lotion bar for those sore feet, will invigorate, refresh, and help with fungal issues.
Massage Melts – Lotion bars are useful for winter moisturizing. They are heavier than lotion. They are generally solid at room temperature if you live in the temperate world. Massage Melts are lotion bars packaged in 1 serving sizes, that are just right for a full back massage.
Herbal Sunscreen – replace commercial sunscreens with this herbal – and effective – alternative.
Elderflower AntiAging Cream – Elder eye cream will improve the look and feel of your hard-working eyes, brightening your soul just a little bit, too.
Elderflower AntiAging Eye Serum – Try my personal anti-aging serum recipe. I find this soothes the tiredness and takes away the dryness. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines.
Bayberry Hemp Beard Balm – Beard balm tames facial hair, making it less stiff and unruly. It also moisturizes facial skin, both under the beard and after shaving, reducing itching, flaky skin, and redness from razor burn.
Herbal beverages increase our sense of Joy and wellbeing. The Mead recipe takes a little longer to execute and should be started now for gift giving in the summer. I like to leave mine for 6 to 9 months after bottling before we open it. But it’s worth the wait, with a rich, complex honey flavor. The elderberry means that this is antiviral, immune boosting, and anti-inflammatory, too. Mead makes an especially lovely DIY gift.
Elderberry-Blackberry Mead – Mead is honey wine with benefits. Traditionally, mead was made with herbs and fruit from the garden. It was a medicinal beverage for winter ailments, imparting the actions of the herbs to the drink, and preserving them. The honey added additional medicinal benefits, as well as giving the yeast a source of food.
Cranberry Kombucha – This is an effervescent, tangy-sweet beverage that you can enjoy before your holiday meal, during, or at the end. Not only does it taste great, but it will help you by easing the bloating, and overfull feeling that the holidays sometimes bring.
Dandelion Mead – Dandelions are prolific bloomers. While your neighbors are cursing them and trying their best to get rid of them, you can be harvesting them for delicious honey wine. Dandelion mead has immune boosting qualities.
Herb Infused Vinegar
While herb-infused vinegar can take a while to steep, they can be bottled and given with the herb still in them, within a week after bottling. The colour change in the vinegar begins immediately and gets more pronounced with time. Herbal vinegar can be used as an ingredient in salad dressings, sauces, and marinades. Plus herbal vinegars are incredibly health-giving.
Fire Cider – There are better safeguards against viruses than a flu shot. Bolstering your immune system is your best defense against colds and flu, as well as other winter viruses.
Sage Oxymel – An oxymel is an ancient herbal preparation that combines vinegar, herbs, and honey. “Oxy” means “acidic, sharp, keen, pointed” and “mel” means “honey.”
Berry and Herb Infused Vinegar – Infused vinegar is super easy to make, especially with berries and small juicy fruit like cherries or pomegranates.
Cherry Liqueur – Cherry liqueur is sensational in trifle or over ice cream. And it’s easy to make at home.
Limoncello – Limoncello is a slightly bitter, refreshing aperitif. Traditionally served icy cold, before meals to stimulate digestive juices, the bitter principle in limoncello is stimulating and carminative.
Creme de Cacao – Homemade liqueurs are easy to make and satisfying to give. They take only a few minutes of hands-on time, but they excel in wow-factor.
Kaluha – A wonderful, warming addition to any celebration.
Herb Infused Oil
Garlic oil, rosemary oil, hot pepper oil, basil and dill infused oils are prized culinary oils. They are so popular that high-end stores offer these infused oils in small bottles at a premium price. The problem is they all carry the same flavors of oils. When you make your own you can off your list herbed oils that are unique.
Directions to make herb infused oils at home
- Place 1 cup of dried spices or herb and spice blend in a quart jar.
- Fill the jar with 3 to 4 cups of high-quality olive oil.
- Put the jar in a cool, dry place. Shake it as often as you think of it.
- After 3 weeks to a month strain the jar and retain the oil.
If using fresh spices or herbs the jar should be stored in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature to prevent botulism. Follow these safety instructions for making herbed oil that will be used for culinary applications from the University of Idaho
Herb and Spice Blends
Be creative and save money as you make your own herb and spice blends. In commercially prepared products, companies often skip the real spices and add flavouring instead of spice, to save money. Not you!
Chai Spice mix – You probably noticed when you buy Chai Tea in tea bags; different brands have different spices predominating. Commercial chai tea bags usually have spices mixed based on price. You’ll find fewer expensive spices like cardamom, with a heavier leaning on the cheaper spices like cinnamon and fennel.
Herbed Salt – Sel gris or grey sea salt comes from the salt flats in France. It is traditionally harvested by natural evaporation and has a higher moisture content and mineral profile than other salts. This article has three recipes to make your own.
Herbal Room Fresheners and polish
Bring out all your essential oils, combine the ones that smell like the season, and make room fresheners. These not only deodorize the room, but you get that smell of leaves, baked goods, and spices even without actually baking anything. Here are some different room sprays recipes for the season that use pure essential oils.
Christmas Essential Oil Blends – One reason the holiday season fills us with such delight is the awakening of our senses. Our taste, touch, sound, smell, and vision are excited, after all the hard work of the harvest season.
Beeswax Tealight Candles – While paraffin is cheap, beeswax is the healthier choice. Burning beeswax candles actually improves indoor air quality. Read about the benefits of burning beeswax candles here.
Beeswax Pillar Candles – Molded candles are beautiful in their detail. They don’t need a candle holder, just a flat non-combustible surface to stand on. They are favorite gifts, especially when made with beeswax.
Bayberry and Beeswax Candles – Instructions to find, clean and make beautiful taper or pillar candles.
Rolled Beeswax Candle – Rolled beeswax candles are the easiest candles to make. They are the perfect choice to make in a group setting. Rolled beeswax candles give even inexperienced chandlers immediate satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.
Wooden Cutting Board Conditioner – This wood conditioner, made with ingredients you can find at the grocery store, is an easy to apply remedy that will clean your tools, while it preserves them and helps them stay beautiful and strong.
Herbed crackers, cakes, and cookies
Pizzelles are a traditional Italian cookie that is baked on a special heated iron, similar to a waffle. Pizzelles are thin, crispy, wafer cookies. They are a common feature with a cup of espresso at the end of a rich meal. Make these, crackers, or bundt cakes for easy homemade gifts.
Flax Crackers – To wet your appetite for the holiday season, here are three recipes for Flax Seed Crackers with three different methods and three different recipes.
Parmesan Chive Pizzelles – savory pizzelle crackers are little talked about. Savory pizzelles are better than the finest, high-end store-bought cracker. A base of eggs, butter, flour, and baking powder can be spiced up with various savory flavours.
Dill and Lemon Pizzelles – While this pizzelle recipe uses lemon and dill to flavor the savory pizzelles batter, the possibilities are endless. Your homemade crackers will taste better, be fresher, healthier, and more eco-friendly than the crackers wrapped in plastic that come in a box.
Pumpkin Spice Pizzelles – Your favorite wafer cookies just got more epic. Pumpkin spice pizzelles are warm with cinnamon and ginger, yet crispy like a wafer rather than cake-like, like most pumpkin spice cookies.
Anise Pizzelles – Traditional pizzelles are light, flavorful, and satisfying with a faint flavor of anise seed. The anise seed is a digestive aid. Anise is an aromatic, carminative herb. It eases cramping in the intestines, relieves gas and bloating, and reduces gut inflammation. It’s just what’s needed after a heavy meal.
Rose Pizzelles – This version is scented with just a hint of rose water. You may substitute 1 tbsp. of any flavored liqueur in place of the rose water. Try Orange liqueur, limoncello, crème de cacao, Kahlua, or anisette. Or stick with tradition and use 1 tsp. of anise seed, as you wish.
Lemon Poppyseed Cookies (gluten-free) – A wonderful gluten-free cookie recipe.
Butternut Spice Bundt Cake – With pumpkin and winter squash in abundance right now, add a festive mood to your afternoon tea or coffee break with this moist, bundt cake. Butternut, pumpkin, or other winter squash can be used interchangeably in the recipe.
Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake – Chocolate zucchini cake is a tradition at Joybilee Farm. Zucchini season is short in zone 3. Every zucchini from the vine is a gift that we love to share with others.
Herb infused honey
Rose Infused Honey – While your roses are prime, use the petals from some of the more fragrant varieties to make rose infused honey. Preserve the rose scent in honey for a few extra weeks, after the blossoms have faded.
Elderberry Syrup – Elderberry syrup is the first thing I grab when someone in my family has a sore throat, cough, or sniffles. During flu season I use elderberry syrup as a favoring in our water bottles – 1 teaspoon per cup of water. It’s a tasty, functional food that helps us stay healthy and strong during the season when all those around us are coughing and sniffing. You can make elderberry syrup out of dried elderberries or out of fresh, foraged elderberries.
Spiced Jams and Jelly
If you still have some apples left from the summer harvest, mix up a quick batch of hot pepper jelly or chai spiced jelly while you are waiting for dinner to cook tonight. If you are out of apples you can use a package of commercial pectin for these homemade Christmas gifts.
Hot Pepper Jelly – This jelly tastes great with turkey and stuffing – better than cranberry sauce, in my opinion. Use the leftover pulp to make cowboy candy.
Apple Chai Jelly – I put this recipe in decorative jelly jars so it will be ready for gift giving during the winter. If you don’t have crab apples any tart apple can be used. This batch doesn’t need commercial pectin. There is enough pectin in the apples to set a nice gel.
Oregon Grape Jelly – Oregon grapes are wild, purple fruit that grows on the Mahonia shrub or Oregon grape plant, a member of the Barberry family. The Oregon grape is a low sprawling shrub with waxy, dark green leaves that look like holly leaves.
Traditional English Mint Sauce – Traditional English mint sauce for lamb isn’t sweet like mint jelly. It is a savory sauce used to brighten the heavy taste of lamb and to aid in digesting it. It’s as traditional to serve this mint sauce with lamb as it is to serve horseradish and Yorkshire pudding with roast beef.
For Pets and Fur Babies
Your fur babies and working dogs benefit from herbs, too. Try these DIY gifts for the dog and cat on your list.
Turmeric Chews – These are a make once and serve up daily turmeric chews. They take less than 15 minutes to make, plus an overnight chill period.
Working Dog Paw Wax – winter is not the best time to be barefoot, even for dogs. The snow can cake between their toes, forming balls of ice that make walking difficult.
Make a catnip mouse out of dried catnip from your garden.
Or give the gift of herbal education with a class from The Herbal Academy.
How many gifts do you have left to make or buy? Did this list inspire you?