'Tis the season to draft your gift list, and you need something that will suit everyone - from your always-on-the-go brother to your happy-at-home aunt. You need something special for each and, of course, homemade would be perfect. Something fresh and unexpected, customized, yet easy on your pocketbook. And while you're at it, something environmentally friendly as well.Aromatherapy gifts can help fit the bill. By using essential oils selected with your recipients in mind, you can easily create unique aromatherapy gifts that will delight. "Homemade gifts say that you care," says Tim Blakley, aromatherapy author and training manager for Aura Cacia, a leading aromatherapy brand. "And when you make one using essential oils, you can go one step further and personalize its aromatherapy benefits as well."

To personalize your aromatherapy gift, simply choose pure essential oils with benefits that best suit the person receiving the gift. To help you get started, review the benefits of the essential oils suggested in the instructions for making the gifts below.

Experts caution that full benefits are available only from natural, unadulterated essential oils - not petroleum-derived synthetic fragrances or essential oils that have been diluted with less expensive components. "Aura Cacia offers a full selection of 100 percent pure essential oils for purchase and a wealth of information on essential oils and aromatherapy", adds Blakley.

Replace a stressful shopping expedition with a pleasant hour of fragrant creativity and craft the perfect gift for everyone on your list. "These gifts are easy to assemble, easy on the budget, and easy on the environment', adds Blakley, who helped develop aromatherapy gift ideas for a Web site feature at www.auracacia.com/gifts. Here he shares three of his favorites:

Aromatherapy Zen Garden

A creative way to deal with stress at the office or at home.

You'll need: 1 tiny garden rake or chopsticks (to serve as the garden rake)

1 decorative shallow glass bowl or ceramic tray

Table salt (enough to fill container).

Small decorative rocks and shells.

One of the following meditative essential oils: frankincense, myrrh or sandalwood

To assemble: Fill the container with the salt and mix in 10 to 15 drops of oil. Smooth and add the rocks and shells in a pleasing arrangement. Using the rake or chopsticks as a stylus, draw flowing continuous patterns in the salt. Experience the garden fully as you meditate.

You can assemble the garden ahead of time for a personal presentation or send unassembled over a distance.

Holiday Botanical Diffuser

Brighten the atmosphere as well as the table with this attractive and aromatic decoration. Your choice of spices will personalize each gift.

You'll need: A decorative glass jar An array of spices such as cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole nutmeg, cardamom pods or bay leaves

A spicy, holiday aromatherapy blend (To make your own, combine 1 teaspoon of Aura Cacia sweet orange essential oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of Aura Cacia anise seed, clove, and cinnamon bark essential oils in a.33-or.5-ounce essential oil bottle.)

To assemble: Layer the spices in the jar and - just before giving the gift - sprinkle 10 to 15 drops of the aromatherapy blend. (Include the blend with the gift so that the recipient can refresh the scent as needed.)

Courtesy of ARA content

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