Making your own hand-made gifts in the run up to Christmas is fun, especially for children. Here is a recipe for creating a Christmas pot-pourris blend that is delightful yet simple to make:

"Collect autumn leaves, petals and decorative seed heads while out walking. Dry the selected seeds, petals and leaves by laying them on trays lined with sheets of newspaper or hung up in paper bags.   Slide them under a chest of drawers away from the light, or place in a dark cupboard. Other aromatic ingredients such as small pine cones, clove buds, sticks of cinnamon or dried orange peel should also be to added to make it more festive for the Christmas season. After a week or so, check that all the materials are dry then place in a mixing bowl ready for use.

Measure out and blend the essential oils into a small glass bottle using a small measuring beaker and stirring rod see our ‘Hands On’ section). If you wish to make a small quantity then the ratio to use is 50 drops of essential oil to every 4 cups/2 oz (50g) dried plant materials. Here is a suggested Christmas recipe: 20 drops frankincense essential oil; 15 drops cypress essential oil; 10 drops orange essential oil; 5 drops cinnamon or clove essential oil.

Add half the total quantity of essential oils to the dried mixture.  Stir together well then put all the main ingredients into a storage container like a large jar before adding the rest of the essential oil blend and shaking thoroughly.  If you wish to make the scent last longer, mix the dried materials with a little orris root powder, which acts as a fixative. Seal the container and leave to mature in a dark place for at least a week.

Finally, display the finished pot pourris in a clear cellophane bag with a decorative ribbon as a gift. Pot-pourri can also make a decorative base for presenting other home-made presents such as herbal bath bags or massage oils. Alternatively for use at home, display in a wide ceramic bowl or glass dish, arranging some of the more decorative ingredients (such as miniature pine cones) attractively on top. For more information or guidance about blending essential oils at home and ideas for making aromatic gifts please see our BOOKS section, including my ‘Home Use of Essential Oils ‘ booklet or my book which contains lots of Christmas gift ideas: ‘Heaven Scent: Aromatic Gifts, Crafts, Recipes & Decorations’.