“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” There’s nothing like chilly night parades with hot cocoa in hand, picking out the perfect Christmas tree as a family and anticipating your first visit from that silly elf!

The minute that Target Holiday Catalog hits the mailbox (before Halloween) the boys start clipping and pasting their Christmas wishes for Santa and are eager to get the Christmas lights hung. I just love these traditions we have created as a family and look forward to them each year.

One tradition we have continued is making the majority of our gifts at home. Coming up with something unique and meaningful each year is so much fun. Teaching the kids that giving is just as fun as getting is important. And seeing the looks of excitement as their grandma opens something that they had worked so hard on is priceless.

One year we poured paint colors into the inside of clear Christmas tree bulbs and personalized each and every one with sticker monograms. They came out amazing! Or the cool mosaic stepping stones we made with chipped dishes and outdoor pots that were a hit! My oldest son’s preschool teacher still proudly has hers displayed right outside her classroom door. But I’m pretty sure the snow globes we made out of salt and pepper shakers were number one!

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Gifts made with love and thought mean more than any pair of slippers or collared shirt… guaranteed! This year is all about pampering and self care, because everyone loves to feel their best. To add a holiday feel to our gifts we decided to go with a peppermint scent for our Lip Balm and Sugar Scrub. So far, my (11, 9 and 3 year old) helpers haven’t lost interest!

Whipped peppermint sugar scrub

• ½ cup coconut oil
• ¼ cup sugar
• ¼ cup pink sugar (sugar + 1 drop of red food coloring)
• 6 drops peppermint essential oil
• Air-tight jars (Amazon.com)

DIRECTIONS
1. Mix sugar and one drop of red food coloring to make pink sugar (set aside).
2. Combine white sugar and coconut oil. Beat together until it becomes light and fluffy.
3. Mix in pink sugar.
4. Scoop into jars.

Peppermint lip balm

1 ½ tbsp. natural beeswax
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. shea butter
2 tbsp. sweet almond oil (or olive oil)
20 drops peppermint essential oil
Tins with lids (Amazon.com)

DIRECTIONS
1. Boil water
2. In a separate glass measuring cup mix beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil and sweet almond oil.
3. Place glass inside pot of boiling water and melt ingredients while stirring.
4. Remove from heat and add 20 drops of peppermint essential oil and stir.
5. Pour into tins right away.

Super easy, right? Now add your own personal touch with a label or some colored twine and a candy cane! Ta-Da! Christmas shopping DONE! Be sure to make a little extra to pamper yourself during the chilly holiday season. Have the happiest of holidays.

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