Homemade Eco-Friendly Gifts
This holiday season, send some love and compassion in Mother Nature's direction. Instead of contributing to the mountains of waste in overcrowded landfills, get crafty! Making a present by hand is tactile and engaging. Not only is it fun, it’s also mindful, offering time to reflect on friends and loved ones. You even have the option of personalizing each gift too. Express your creativity and show a little kindness for the earth too with these DIY projects.
Lavender Eye Pillows
Yoga and meditation becomes a sensory and restorative experience when you rest your eyes and allow the soothing aroma of lavender to work its soothing magic. Studies show that inhaling lavender calms the nervous system, helping to ease anxiety.
To craft a lavender eye pillow, loosely fill empty tea bags (or cut a 7-inch strip of pantyhose or use lightweight cotton sock) with dry lavender. For extra scent, add a drop or 2 of evenly distributed essential oil. For the casing, use upcycled fabric such as wide silk scarves, sheets, or clothing made from lightweight, linen, silk or cotton. Sew a tubular shape (best made by folding fabric in half, sewing the long and short side, and leaving the other open to fill) and slide the tea bags inside, leaving an inch in between for the bridge of the nose. Next, sew the open sides shut, flatten to evenly distribute the flowers, and you're done!
Whether it's for snacking, yogurt topping, or breakfast, homemade granola offers a welcome burst of flavor along with heart healthy benefits. Feel free to adapt this recipe with other healthy ingredients you love, such as goji berries, coconut flakes, raw cashews, chia seeds, or whatever you have on hand.
2 ½ C Organic Rolled Oats
½ C Raw Almonds
½ C Pecans
½ C Grapeseed oil
½ C Raisins
¼ C Cinnamon
¼ C Brown Sugar or equivalent Stevia (increase if you'd like it sweeter)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients in a large bowl, making sure oil is evenly distributed. Spread mixture on a cookie sheet. Bake until golden. Allow to fully cool, then transfer toa 32 oz Wide Mouth Mason Jar (a recycled pickle or tomato sauce jar works well too). Store at room temperature or in the fridge. Add a bow of label and your gift is perfect!
CDs can be problematic to dispose of since they're not single stream recycling items. Luckily with some vision and little glue, those dusty old CD's can create surprisingly elegant reflective mosaic holiday ornaments that sparkle like a disco ball. Instructions to craft your Mirror Mosaic can be found on Crème de la Craft V's video. If ornaments aren’t your thing, adapt the concept for a picture frame, box, or even a canvas for a truly unique creation.
Plastic Bag Upcycle
According to Earth Policy, Americans use an astounding 100 billion plastic bags each year! In an effort to reduce waste and bring more beauty into the world, check out the Fill for how to whip up adorable coasters, retro bangle bracelets, cool tote bags and more out of used plastic grocery bags. For even more ways to put those plastic bags to work (pouches, ties, ect...) check out this video from Hometalk. These all make perfect gifts!
Sounds of wind blowing through tin, wood, and glass cast a tranquil spell and help bring you (or whoever you give them to) into the present moment. Anywhere you hang them, wind chimes add a folksy charming touch. Gather mismatched buttons, silverware, pencils, and even twigs from your garden and give them new life. For specifics on how to craft, read Upcycled Wind Chimes from Bob Vila.
Natural Beauty & Self-Care
Who doesn't need a great natural lip balm? Handy and holistic, this stocking stuffer works for virtually anyone with a mouth. Keep lips hydrated and kissable during cold winter months, and lightly scented with aromatic essential oils. Try this minty and lush 5 minute lip balm recipe from The Seasoned Mom. If you prefer sweet and creamy, here’s Coconut Mama’s coconut balm, made with lavender and honey.
Pressed Flower Cards
Along with your original holiday gifts, try your hand at making your own cards, too. Press leaves and flowers into books and use them as mementos is an ancient yet timeless custom practiced by our ancestors. You can also use nature's treasures to make jewelry and wall art. In this New York Times article, discover how to press botanicals, hand color them, and use them to craft your own exquisite, one-of-a-kind greeting cards.