By Kelly Ewing

You can make gift baskets filled with scented bath items to give as gifts to family and friends at Christmas time. Consider making bath salts and massage oils; both are great gift ideas. Simple instructions are included here:

  • Bath salts: You have two options:

    You can purchase the bath salts in your local craft store and add your personal touch by scenting with essential oils.

    To make your own bath salts from scratch, combine a variety of salts, such as Epsom salt, rock salt, and sea salt. Add some glycerin, essential oils, and colorants and you’re good to go. Finally, place your mixture in a decorative jar or quaint see-through bath bag for storage.

  • Bath Bags: Decorative bath bags not only look sophisticated, but they also feel nice. Whether you’re creating them at home for personal use or giving them away as gifts, bath bags are a classy touch.

    Although you can include plain bath salts inside the bags, why not make your own special body scrub? To do so, combine your melt-and-pour soap, available at craft stores, with dried herbs and a coarse item, such as grated almonds, oatmeal, or cornmeal. You can even add your favorite flowers, if you like, and of course, the finishing touch can be a few drops of your favorite essential oil or blend.

  • Shower Gel: You no longer have to buy whatever scent the store offers in shower gel ¯ no more rain-fresh shower gel, faux citrus fragrances, and the like. Now, you can create your own shower gel with a scent that doesn’t clash with your everyday fragrance ¯ or your nose’s sensibilities!

    All you need to do is add a few drops of essential oil to a plain shower gel base, available at your local craft store or online. Then store your gel in a bottle and use as desired.

  • Massage Oil: To create massage oil choose an oil with skin-softening abilities, add a preservative, such as liquid Vitamin E from a gel tablet, and then add essential oils. Sweet almond, apricot kernel, and grapeseed oils are good for massage because they’re so light. Mix well and place in a bottle.

After you make these items, buy a basket, ¯ the Salvation Army or Goodwill almost always has baskets for next to nothing. Spray paint it for a fresh look and to customize the color. Fill it with your jars of homemade goodies, and top it off with a bow.