The holidays have arrived, and with the season comes the joy of figuring out creative gifts for the beloveds (and acquaintances, and teachers, and service providers) on your gifting list.
But, yeah, reality check: faced with a list of folks to buy, trade, craft, or otherwise create for, your head can begin to spin. And the pressure of Thanksgiving Week and Black Friday sales (not to mention the eternally extended Cyber Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-etc. cycle) can up the present-selection pressure. So many deals, so many neato things…where to stop? Where to start?
Some of us approach the consumer-bonanza season from an organized place, armed with lists, budgets (overall and per person), tick boxes for personal preferences, and the like. Others of us just start buying and hope it all shakes out at the end, possibly aided by a few last-minute purchases.
We at Tazeka find ourselves falling somewhere in the middle of these two poles: armed with theoretical lists but responsive to the allure of the item we hadn’t thought of before, and prepared to make a mad dash to the nearest home-goods/white elephant store if necessary. Because everyone needs a pineapple-shaped marble cheese board with matching knife set, right? (Actually, that sounds pretty adorable.)
But you know as well as we do that, unavoidable as the holiday gifting frenzy may seem, the real point of the season runs deeper. The real point of gift giving is to show appreciation, to express love, to say without words, “See? I know you, and what you like. I care about you. Here’s something useful/beautiful/zany that made me smile because it reminded me of you in the best possible way.” A gift is a tangible expression of our regard for someone’s personality, or for their role in our lives or our society.
Gifting, of course, can be fraught with pitfalls precisely because of the depth of meaning that’s always associated with them, no matter how pro forma the gift may be. People will aim to make significance out of any gift they receive—for better or worse. This teeth-clenching reality is particularly true for certain people (you know who you are, friends!), and the significance derived from a gift is not always what was intended. While one person may be delighted with a pair of super-comfy jeggings, for example, another may interpret said gift as a statement on her current ability to fit into regular, non-stretch jeans. Ouch. (Yes, true story. I paid for that well-intentioned mistake for several months after that holiday season. Lesson learned.)
So: gift choice matters. More than ever, options abound. Broader choice does not ease decision making. What’s an aromatherapy lover to do?
Step One: Get yourself in gear. Roll on some Tazeka Balance, Tension Tonic, Concentrate, or Optimism blend (yes, shameless plug, and yes, you should choose your scent based on your state of mind), or diffuse your favorite Tazeka blend into the air to bring your soul into a happier, calmer, more centered place.
Step Two: Set a realistic budget for yourself for your entire holiday gift investment. The financial-restriction aspect can be challenging, but it’s worth it to tot up what you can afford to invest in the season’s gifts—without blowing out your credit cards. You will thank yourself come January and February if you’re not paying off holiday debt. This might be a good time to take a deep whiff of your chosen aromatherapy blend, just to ground yourself.
Step Three: Make a list of the people to whom you plan to give gifts. Most likely, your list will range from intimate partners and children, to other family, to people like classroom teachers, postal deliverers, building maintenance staff, and so on. Keep inhaling that calming fragrance. (No flipness intended: aromatherapy is a powerful tool for caring for yourself during the madness of the season.)
Step Four: Brainstorm each person’s individual qualities, personal preferences, expressed needs, or other relevant information regarding gifts. Stay open; don’t limit yourself as you meditate on your gift recipients’ quirks and joys.
Step Five: Set a per-person (or per-category, for acquaintances for whom you plan to buy similar gifts) budget. Even if it hurts, take a deep breath and do it.
Step Five: Consider what gifts might fit the bill. This is the part where your brainstorming and dreaming about each person meets the reality of your budget. Remember: thoughtful homemade gifts are frequently far more precious to people than expensive things. Small and individualized trumps big and generic any day.
Some folks approach each holiday with a loose gifting theme: clothes, for example, or jewelry, or food, or, say, aromatherapy and essential oils. You may decide that aromatherapy gifts are the order of the day. Tazeka, of course, offers products in a range of prices and applications for family, dear friends, or new acquaintances.
If you’d like to create some of your own products, more power to you! You can find aromatherapy roller-ball bottles, small pots, dropper bottles, lip-balm tins, and all sorts of other supplies with a quick search-engine inquiry. Make sure that any essential oils and carrier oils or other bases you purchase are 100% organic and steam-distilled or CO2 extracted—you’ll want to use only the absolute purest substances. The wrapping is up to you: it’s easy to print your own labels (or draw them freehand if you’re so inclined). Just make sure you list the ingredients and describe proper application and your blend’s use somewhere on the container.
Here are a couple of recipes and blends to get you started with your gifting (both are adapted from The Heart of Aromatherapy by Andrea Butje:
Orange Tummy Comfort Butter
A soothing, digestion-easing topical cream to relax tummies after big, yummy meals.
Makes 4 2-oz. containers.
Make the Body Butter Base: Blend 1 oz. beeswax, 2 oz. jojoba, 2 oz. cocoa butter, and 2 oz. coconut oil.
Add to Body Butter Base: 14 drops ginger, 20 drops Roman chamomile, 14 drops spikenard, and 35 drops sweet orange.
Application: Rub the Comfort Butter on your tummy and low back before and/or after eating, and take a moment to breathe and relax. Perfect for hostesses and enthusiastic eaters alike!
Vetiver Relaxing Body Oil
A mellowing, moisturizing body or massage oil that can ease the way to relaxation or sleep.
Make the Oil: Pour 1 oz. jojoba into a 1 oz. (30 ml) bottle. Add 5 drops vetiver, 4 drops neroli, and 3 drops lavender. Roll around to mix.
Application: Massage yourself or another person with the oil to wind down at the end of the day or during stressful times.