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3 Simple DIY Gifts - That they'll love

Rachel O'Reilly

By: Rachel O'Reilly

It’s easy to get swept up into the buzz of holiday consumerism: The pretty stores! The sparkling presentations of things (that you don’t really need)! The festive music! The food, drinks and merriment! It’s enough to put you in a haze of autopilot consumption. But ultimately, does that really satisfy you or the receiver of the gift? Some of the best and most treasured gifts I’ve received have been homemade creations. So, rather than getting swept into buy-buy-buy overdrive, try some of these more meaningful gift ideas you can easily at make at home:

1. Festive Cocktail Kits - Who doesn’t love a ready made craft cocktail? One of my favorite gifts ever was when one of my dearest friends left a surprise at my door after a long day of work… I opened a cute bag to find delicious cocktail fixins inside. “Hallelujah!” was all I could feel. These cocktail kits will make everyone light up! You can dress these up, or keep it simple. The first step is to find bottles you like that are 12 ounces or more (preferably, glass like mason jars or these bottles).

You can arrange your infused alcohol with accompaniments in a simple bag with a bow, or get a little more fancy by putting your goods in a basket and maybe even add cocktail glasses, cider mugs, or a shaker. Just be sure to include a festive recipe card, too. There are many combinations to play with, but here are a few of our faves:

  • Easy - Bourbon spiced cider: Add a couple of cinnamon sticks, and orange peel if you want to get real fancy to the bourbon. Let it infuse for at least 2 days before gift-giving. Include a tasty bottle of apple or pear cider to go along with it… And voila! 

Recipe: Combine 1 ½ ounces of infused bourbon to apple/ pear cider. Can be shaken with ice and served cold, or warm by heating cider first. 

  • Simple - Asian pear & ginger vodka martini: Simply peel and chop an asian pear and peel and slice a stalk of ginger into ¼ inch thick slices. To the vodka, add ½- 1 pear and 2-4 slices of ginger, depending on the size of your bottle. Accompany the vodka with 1 lime, a small bottle of ginger liqueur, and a small bottle of sour mix. You can buy large bottles of the liqueur and sour mix and divvy up into small bottles or mason jars, too.

Recipe: Combine 1 ½ ounces of infused vodka, ½ ounce of ginger liqueur, ½ ounce of sour mix, and ½  juiced lime, into shaker over ice. Shake, shake… Do a little dance and strain into a martini glass.

  • Next level (but still simple) - Rosemary & lavender gin gimlet: To your gin, add 2-4 sprigs of rosemary. Next, make the lavender simple syrup by simply pouring equal parts water and sugar into a saucepan along with 4-10 lavender blossoms, depending on how much you’re making, and bring to a simmering boil over medium heat. Keep stirring until all sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow it to steep for 30 mins, then remove lavender blossoms (it’s ok if a few particles remain), and let it cool before adding it to your small bottle or mason jar. Put the rosemary infused gin, lavender simple syrup, 1 lemon, and a small bottle of club soda together to gift - Herbaceous heaven!

Recipe: 2 ounces of rosemary gin, ½ ounce of lavender simple syrup and ¼ juiced lemon into shaker over ice. Shake what your mama gave ya… Pour into an ice-filled glass and top with club soda.

2. Hydrating Rose Spray - Rose water helps maintain the skin’s pH balance, controls excess oil, and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm skin and reduce redness. This rose spray is so simple to make and a real treat for the senses and skin. I made this spray for each of my girlfriends a couple years ago and for months they kept telling me how much they were enjoying it on the daily... I use mine throughout the day, before bed and even over makeup. It’s especially a treat when traveling and reduces puffiness on long flights. Kids love it too! If you have a little lady who is requesting beauty products or makeup, this is a great way to make her feel special.

Recipe: In a small to medium size glass spray bottle (such as these ones). Combine ¼ part vegetable glycerin and ¾ parts rose water. Replace lid, shake thoroughly, and spray to ensure it’s misting. Stick a cute label on the bottle or tie a tag with instructions to mist face with rose spray freely for a boost of hydration anytime (great over make-up and for travel)! 

3. Artisanal Salt - Salt tingles the taste buds and is used in nearly every dish we make, so this is a gift that everyone will enjoy. These salts can be used with recipes, or as a delightful finishing touch at the table. You can choose between using white, gray, pink, or even black sea salt!

Herb salt - Goes great with all kinds of savory poultry and meat to veggie meals. Trying adding a pinch in place of regular salt to give dishes that little extra depth.

Recipe: In a food processor, pulse ½ cup of coarse sea salt, ¼ cup of fresh rosemary leaves, and ¼ cup of fresh lemon thyme. Pulse until rosemary and thyme have salt like consistency. Add 1 cup of coarse sea salt and pulse to combine. Transfer salt to shallow baking dish and let air dry for 2 hours. Pour salt into your favorite little jars and add a tag!

Curry Rose Salt - Excellent with Indian-inspired dishes, rice bowls, or even yummy (and beautiful) to sprinkle on top of with good bread and unsalted butter. 

Recipe: In a food processor, pulse ½ cup of coarse sea salt with ¼ cup of dried organic rose petals. Add ¼ cup of curry powder and 1 cup of coarse sea salt to food processor and pulse again until desired consistency is reached. We like ours chunky on this one so you can notice the rose petals.

Lime Ginger Salt - Great with seafood, tequila cocktails, even atop salads and soups. 

Recipe: Spread the zest of 6 limes (about ½ cup) over a piece of wax paper and let dry overnight. In a bowl, combine lime zest, 3 tsp. ground ginger and 1 cup of fine or coarse sea salt. Ole! Delish.

We hope these DIY gift ideas take the stress out of traditional holiday shopping and bring you as much joy making them as the recipient will feel from such a thoughtful present. If florals and fauna are more your thing, we have an exquisite guide to creating wildly beautiful winter wreaths.

What are your go-to DIY gifts? We’d love to hear.