The holiday season doesn't have to mean pigging out and depleting your bank account. You can make Christmastime meaningful — the best gifts are always the ones that have a unique meaning. We remember the things that touch our hearts, and we keep them because they serve a higher purpose, rather than just buying something to add to the collection of stuff. 

Here, I'm going to show you how to make your own gifts. It's easy — and trust me, your loved ones will be so grateful that you took the time to craft some magic. I personally love body care items because they are good for anyone — men, women, kids, elders, etc. And there are lots of bad body care items out there! Unfortunately most people buy what you find in regular grocery stores, which are mostly made of cheap ingredients that are actually terrible for the skin. They have tons of preservatives, are dehydrating, and can clog up your lymph nodes if you overuse them. 

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A lot of people don’t want to spend the money on good body care products because they don't think they need them. Here I'll show you how to make an herbal-infused body oil, a basic salve, and a lip balm so that you can choose to make one — or all! — to gift this holiday season.
Herbal Body Oil Ingredients:
1 cup of organic jojoba oil 
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed 
1 cup of organic apricot oil 
1 cup of arnica flowers and leaf 
1 cup calendula flowers 
1 cup of comfrey leaf 
Essential oils to scent

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Instructions for Body Oil:
Add all ingredients into a double boiler and allow to cook for up to four hours. Check in on the ingredients regularly, making sure the heat is controlled. Once the oil is rich in color with a floral aroma, strain through a cheesecloth. Add your essential oil of choice; I recommend rose, jasmine, or real sandalwood. Pour into your chosen bottles, label them, and enjoy!

For Salve:
Over very low heat, gently warm 1/2 cup of oil in a glass or stainless steel pot (or use a double boiler). Add 2 tablespoons of beeswax. Stir until beeswax is melted, then remove from heat. Add a few drops of essential oil if desired, according to taste. Choose your favorite (I recommend jasmine, rose, or lavender). Pour into jars. The salve will set as it cools. 
*This recipe can be doubled

For Lip Balm: The basic salve recipe above will make about 12 pots or tubes. To make a lip balm, put the above salve in a smaller container. The best oils for lip balms are almond, apricot, hemp, grapeseed.  
Bonus: Add vitamin E as an extra ingredient. For flavoring, add a few drops of vanilla, cinnamon, or peppermint oil, or other essential oil you like.  
For 20 percent off products from our website, use the code vivalamagic

Adriana Ayales is a Founding Creator and botanist. When she's not writing for, you can find her at the apothecary Botica & Co. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.