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Easy DIY Gift-Giving Ideas

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If you’re like most, gift-giving can be the most stressful part of the holiday season. Have a little fun while treating the ones you love with these easy DIY gift ideas!

The holidays are the season of giving. And though nothing feels better than giving a loved one the perfect gift, it’s important during this stressful time of year to take a moment to give back to yourself. So sit back, take a breath, and pour yourself a cup of this stress-relieving tea.

On a worldwide scale, tea is one of the most common, versatile, and health-promoting beverages . As we learn more about tea, we've gained a greater understanding of its health benefits. And as we continue to toy with its ingredients, the list of those potential benefits continues to grow. These days, tea can consist of traditional plants or herbs, or it can be fruits or roots, like ginger or lemon. Or in this case, cranberries.

The round red fruit, perhaps best known for its sour taste and purported (but still debated) effectiveness in treating and preventing urinary tract infections, is chock-full of vitamins. 100 grams of cranberries contain 16% of your daily value of vitamin C, making it a great antioxidant, but the benefits don’t end there. Cranberries are a solid source of dietary fibre (4.6g per 100g), vitamin E (8% of your %DV), vitamin K (5% of your %DV) and manganese (17% of your %DV). Perhaps most surprising is the cranberry’s potential benefits to your dental health; studies have shown that consuming cranberries can actually work to prevent the accumulation of plaque on your teeth (though that’s obviously negated when you’re drinking a cranberry drink with added sugar).

Luckily, this recipe doesn’t have any added sugar.

Instead, it uses lemon to balance out the cranberry’s bitterness, cinnamon sticks to add a bit of spice, and ginger, which brings it all together. But those added ingredients aren’t just for the benefit of your taste buds. The lemon can help soothe a sore throat, the cinnamon can help stabilize your blood sugar, and ginger’s effects against nausea are well documented, making this tea an ideal winter cold remedy, and the perfect 1-2 punch against illness when paired with Jamieson’s Cold Fighter Chewables.

And if you’re not sick? It still tastes pretty great, served hot or even iced in the summer.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the tea, and the simple process to get it from the stove-top to your cup:

Ingredients:

  • Cranberries (85g - Fresh or raw preferred, but frozen is fine too)
  • Zest and juice of two small lemons
  • Ginger (1 inch, peeled and grated)
  • Cinnamon sticks (1-2 sticks, to taste)
  • Honey (to taste)
  • Water (1L)

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot or saucepan, bring water, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, ginger, lemon zest and lemon juice to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat. Let the pot simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Strain to dispose of any chunks of cranberries, lemon, ginger and cinnamon sticks.
  4. Pour into your favourite mug. Add a dash of honey to sweeten the tea, garnish with an extra cinnamon stick, and enjoy.

It’s no secret that the holidays are a stressful time. With crowded malls and endless gift lists, this time of year can also feel a bit too commercial. To help you wash your hands of the holiday hustle, we’ve created this DIY stress-relieving soap, so you can embrace the true spirit of the season and give the gift of relaxation.

Combining lemon, lavender, and honey, this DIY soap is soothing on the inside and out. Lemon has natural properties that help fight nasty colds while and soothing your skin. It can also help combat skin problems, tiredness, and anxiety. Lavender naturally works to defend against wrinkles and rejuvenate dry skin. The calming scent of this familiar flower aids relaxation and helps you sleep soundly. Honey has antibacterial properties, and it’s full of antioxidants. Not only does it help alleviate a sore throat, but honey also moisturizes your skin, creating a natural glow.

Make this stress-relieving soap for friends, colleagues or loved ones, and help them unwind and stay calm during the stress of the holidays.

Materials:

  • 2 lb goat’s milk soap base
  • Silicone soap mould
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 12 drops lavender essential oil
  • 12 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1 cup dried lavender flowers (keep ¼ cup separate)
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Twine
  • Dried lavender sprigs
Moulle

Instructions:

  1. Roughly break up the soap base into a bowl.
  2. Melt the soap using a double-boiler or microwave. If using a microwave, heat in small increments to prevent burning. Once the soap is melted, follow the next steps quickly, as the soap will begin to harden as it cools.
  3. Add essential oils. Use 12 drops of lavender essential oil and 12 drops of lemon essential oil. Mix well.
  4. Add additional ingredients. Mix in ¾ cup dried lavender, the zest of 1 lemon, and 2 tbsp honey
  5. Pour the mixture into the silicone soap mould.
  6. Sprinkle extra dried lavender flowers and lemon zest on top, and press it into the soap.
  7. Let the soap cool for 4 to 5 hours.
  8. Once it’s set, carefully remove the soap from the moulds.
  9. Tie dried lavender sprigs around each bar of soap using twine for a special touch.
  10. Share your stress-relieving soap with the lucky recipients!

Final

References:

  • Cranberries and Cranberry Products: Powerful in Vitro, ex Vivo, and in Vivo Sources of Antioxidants. Joe A. Vinson, Pratima Bose, John Proch, Hassan Al Kharrat, and Najwa Samman
  • Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2008 56 (14), 5884-5891 DOI: 10.1021/jf073309b
  • Total Cranberry Extract versus Its Phytochemical Constituents:  Antiproliferative and Synergistic Effects against Human Tumor Cell Lines Navindra P. Seeram,Lynn S. Adams,Mary L. Hardy, and, and David Heber. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2004 52 (9), 2512-2517 DOI: 10.1021/jf0352778
  • Bonifait L, Grenier D. Cranberry polyphenols: potential benefits for dental caries and periodontal disease. J Can Dent Assoc. 2010;76:a130. Review. PubMed PMID: 20943032.
  • Bodet C, Grenier D, Chandad F, Ofek I, Steinberg D, Weiss EI. Potential oral health benefits of cranberry. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Aug;48(7):672-80. Doi: 10.1080/10408390701636211. Review. PubMed PMID: 18663617.
  • Ernst E, Pittler MH. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Br J Anaesth. 2000 Mar;84(3):367-71. Review. PubMed PMID: 10793599.
  • Luís Â, Domingues F, Pereira L. Can Cranberries Contribute to Reduce the Incidence of Urinary Tract Infections? A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis of Clinical Trials. J Urol. 2017 Sep;198(3):614-621. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2017.03.078. Epub 2017 Mar 10. PubMed PMID: 28288837.