Well, we almost made it through the year my friends! Before we kiss 2020 goodbye, I hope you can make the most out of the holiday season. It has the potential to be such a special and magical time of year! At first, I contemplated simply updating our 2019 gift guide, but decided to start fresh with a more deliberate and fitting guide for the year – one with a stronger focus on small businesses, crafty DIY gifts, and a handful of our favorite useful home and garden items – for a total of 29 special gift ideas. Keep your local economy in mind and shop local too, if you’re able!
To shop this article, use the buttons and links provided. Please note that some of the links are affiliate links. Meaning, if you buy someone a gift by using those links, you’re also giving us a gift (a small commission) in return – at no cost to you! We appreciate your support this season immensely.
So, are you ready to find some great gift ideas for your loved ones? The following guide is broken up into three sections: DIY gifts (ideas 1-6), small businesses to support (number 7-15) , and miscellaneous home and garden gifts (items 16-29).
DIY Gift Ideas
1) Homemade Healing Salves
If you’re feeling crafty, try whipping up some nourishing and healing salves (balms) for your loved ones this season! We have step-by-step tutorials on how to make your own lavender salve, calendula salve, or even cannabis-infused salve. They’re quite easy to make, and you could follow the same process with any variety of medicinal dried herbs – not just calendula or lavender!
Calendula does magical things for your skin and can help to heal eczema, rashes, psoriasis, cradle cap, scars, and more. Lavender boasts many of the same benefits, with extra soothing aromatherapy to boot. It can also repel insects and quell itching. Our topical cannabis salve also soothes skin ailments and helps with localized pain, bruises, and inflammation. Made with natural oils, all three are incredibly moisturizing! We offer the lavender and calendula options in our shop if you’re not up for making your own.
2) DIY Beeswax Wraps
Have you used beeswax wraps before? They’re awesome; we use them all the time! Beeswax wraps are a sustainable alternative to plastic cling wrap, and a great way to reduce plastic waste in the kitchen. They’re reusable, non-toxic, biodegradable, and really easy to make. You can use the wraps to cover containers of food, over a bowl of proofing sourdough, or to wrap directly around food – like over hard cheese, cut veggies or fruit. Create a little set to give away as a gift! You can even repurpose old fabric for this DIY project.
3) Fruit & Veggie Stamped Tea Towels
Who couldn’t use some fresh dish or kitchen towels? Garden and plant lovers will especially appreciate these handmade fruit and veggie-themed stamped tea towels. They are unique, heartfelt, beautiful, and useful! See our tutorial for step-by-step tips along with the towels and paints we recommend. Hand-stamped tea towels are one of our favorite things to give to family, friends, and co-workers for holidays or special occasions! This project is an especially fun one to do with the kiddos.
4) Homemade Rice Heating Pad (or Cold Pack)
Do you happen to sew? This is another one of my favorite DIY gifts to give, and to use myself! After a long day working in the garden, my sore muscles love cuddling up against a homemade hot (or cold) rice pack. Truth be told, I use them year-round regardless of garden aches and pains! They’re perfect for heating up or cooling down the bed too. Made with organic rice, up-cycled cotton fabric, and optional organic essential oils – DIY heating pads are a perfect sustainable gift.
5) Give the Gift of Health – Elderberry Syrup or Fire Cider
I think we could probably all use a little extra help staying healthy this season, am I right? So, give the gift of health! Homemade Fire Cider and Elderberry Syrup are both packed with natural healing ingredients that support your immune system, fight cold and flu bugs, and reduce inflammation and congestion. Between the two, we haven’t been notably sick in almost 3 years! You could make a large batch and then portion them into smaller gift-size bottles or jars, like these 4-ounce amber bottles or these 8-ounce swing top ones.
6) DIY Bath Bombs
Does someone in your life need to unwind? (I think we all deserve that, after this crazy year!) A hot bath with a nourishing, fizzy bath bomb sounds pretty dang good right about now. My friend Tanya over at the Lovely Greens blog has fantastic and easy-to-follow instructions on how to make homemade bath bombs. The recipe is very flexible and customizable with plenty of ideas for optional add-ins. She also outlines the specifics to create oatmeal rose bath bombs, or pink grapefruit bath bombs. Yum! I should note that Tayna collaborated with Jan Berry for the recipes, shared from Jan’s book: The Big Book of Homemade Products.
7) Farmhouse Teas
A friend recently introduced me to Farmhouse Tea, and I’m so grateful they did! This small business hand-crafts absolutely scrumptious loose-leaf speciality blends. Even better, Farmhouse Tea places a high importance on sourcing organically-grown, sustainably-grown, and even locally-grown ingredients when possible – in an effort to support their customers’ health, our planet, and their local economy in Oregon.
If that wasn’t enough to make you thirsty, how about this: Cherry Country Chai, Apple Cider Fixins, Farmer’s Market Strawberry Green Tea, Coastal Cranberry Spice… those are just a few of the blends currently on their site. Gift sets and sampler bags are also available. The combo of tea, spices, and chunky dehydrated fruit bits go perfectly in our favorite loose-leaf tea pot or this single-mug strainer.
8) EcoVibe Style
This savvy family-run shop is based out of Portland, and has a fabulous collection of sustainable and plant-centered offerings online. I especially love their selection of beautiful pots, plant hangers, and baskets (that you can put potted plants inside). They also carry candles, home decor, holiday ornaments, greeting cards, clothing, and even ship living houseplants and air plants!
EcoVibe Style’s mission is to make sustainable living accessible to all, and “to support local designers, women, minority and family-owned businesses, small makers and manufacturers”. They place a high value on supporting their local community, and donate a portion of sales to environmental non-profits.
9) Merry People Boots
Say hello to my new favorite garden boots! I discovered Merry People earlier this year, and my feet couldn’t be happier. I am very picky about my footwear and often sacrifice style for comfort (my priority) – but these boots are a win-win! They’re high-quality, waterproof, supportive, incredibly comfortable, easy to get on and off, and stylish enough to wear out and about too. They come in a variety of awesome colors like beetroot red, persimmon orange, pear green, mustard yellow, or classic black. Aaron even got a pair!
Merry people is a small Australian-based company, and they also have a California hub for US shipping. If you’re a half size, I suggest sizing down. I’m usually an 8 to 8.5 and the 8 fits great, with room for socks! Aaron wears an 11.5 and the size 12 or 43 (men’s 11) fits him perfectly too!
10) Natty Naturals Body & Hair Care
Want to spread the love with a little pampering and self-care products? Check out Natty Naturals. They use custom blends of plant-based and floral ingredients to create luxurious body and hair care products, including facial steams, facial serum and mist, body butter, bath salts, beard oil, and more.
Dominique, the brilliant and talented Black woman behind this small business, places the highest priority on using top-notch ingredients, recycled packaging, and exemplary customer service. She also inspires me to look at things differently and strive to be a better person through the raw conversations she regularly shares on her Instagram. Use the discount code Homestead10 to receive 10% off your Natty Natural’s order, now through 12/31/20!
11) The Peach Tree Natural Jewelry
If you’re looking to adorn or gift a beautiful little piece of the natural world, consider the Peach Tree jewelry. I’ve picked up several pieces over the years, for myself and also as gifts for my mom. Amy, the creator behind the Peach Tree, puts an immense amount of love and care into her small business. She hand-crafts every piece of jewelry with natural gemstones, paying equal attention to her simple yet elegant designs as well as the stone’s healing properties. Fluorite, moonstone, agate, obsidian, jasper, amethyst… you name it.
Amy is based out of upstate New York where she sells at local markets, but also has an Etsy shop and website. She also happens to be one of my earliest “insta-friends”, where we immediately bonded over our mutual love for kitties, tea, the natural world, and our goofy backyard chickens. (She also has no idea I’m sharing this, so… surprise Amy!)
12) Pollen Arts Beeswax Candles
I hate to bee the one to break it to you, but most scented candles are made from paraffin wax, a toxic petroleum byproduct. Even soy candles are troublesome because they’re rarely made from organic soy, and soy is a notoriously pesticide-heavy and unsustainable crop. Over the years we’ve slowly replaced all of our old candles with natural, non-toxic beeswax candles instead. They burn SO much cleaner.
Pollen Arts is an awesome small beeswax candle company, and offers everything from tea lights and candle sticks to large pillar beeswax candles. This husband and wife duo makes all of their candles in their home-based studio in the Northern Arizona mountains. Part of their work also involves safely capturing and relocating swarms of bees – rather than the troubled homeowners calling an exterminator! You can find Pollen arts on Instagram, or see their Etsy shop below.
13) Homestead and Chill
Lucky number 13…. I can mention us, right? Sure, why not… because we’ve been working overtime this year to bring you a new line of organic products to enjoy! Our organic dehydrated sourdough starter is a top-seller, and an essentially foolproof way to get you started on your sourdough-making journey. One small packet of starter is enough to turn in to a bubbling liter of starter in just 5 days, and will last a lifetime of baking.
Then there are the very popular salves: calendula salve, lavender salve, and a new-release aftershave and beard balm. All three are made with the highest quality organic ingredients we could find (including homegrown calendula and lavender flowers from the garden!), and are incredibly moisturizing to soothe irritated, dry, and inflamed skin.
Last but not least, don’t forget those kissers! Keep your lips soft and supple with our cocoa bee (unscented), peppermint, or sweet orange organic lip balms – or save with a variety 3-pack of lip balms. We also have a variety of H&C organic t-shirts and a farmer’s market tote bag in the shop.
14) Hawaii Sea Salt
The Hawaiian Islands (and their small businesses) heavily rely on tourism to stay afloat, so they’ve been exceptionally impacted by travel restrictions this year. We too had to cancel a trip to Kauai earlier this year; a place that is very near and dear to our hearts. So when the folks from Kona Sea Salt and Sea Salts of Hawaii reached out to see if we had any interest in helping raise awareness of their business, I was totally on board! Not to mention, we love using quality flaky sea salts in the kitchen to top sourdough crackers, focaccia, fresh sliced garden tomatoes, veggies, and more.
The salts from these two companies are hand-harvested from a small and pristine oceanfront space that they also share with research non-profits and scientists, who have discovered the origin of the salt starts from glaciers in Greenland and slowly makes its way to Hawaii via the Thermohaline current. Fascinating, huh? Once onshore, the salt is slowly solar-evaporated (not boiled) which preserves the mineral content. Kona Sea Salt is a medium grind/flaky finishing salt with exceptional flavor, alkalinity, moisture and texture. Sea Salts of Hawaii offers ‘plain’ and smoked sea salt options as well as several island-inspired flavored sea salts, including Hot Hawaiian Chili Pepper, Spicy Hawaiian Seaweed, Molokai Kiawe Smoked, Garlic Salt, Lemon Rosemary, and more.
15) NuVita CBD
If you follow me closely on Instagram, you may have seen this one coming… because I’m truly smitten! Federally-legal, non-psychoactive CBD oil has helped me get through the mounting anxiety, stress, insomnia, muscles tension, and headaches that this year has brought on. I’ve also given bottles away as gifts to family and friends in need, and heard raving success stories from dozens of people who’ve tried it – including for their pets! If the world of CBD is new to you, feel free to take a peek at our CBD 101 article to learn more.
NuVita is a small woman-owned CBD business from Michigan. The owner Amanda has incredibly high standards for quality and purity, sources only organically-grown cannabis, and believes in rigorous testing and transparency. Let’s just say that is definitely rare in the CBD industry! NuVita also donates a portion of their proceeds to rotating nonprofits every month that support victims of human trafficking.
Use discount code “deannacat3” to save 10%!
Home & Garden Goodies
16) Sourdough Baking Supplies
If someone in your life is not yet baking homemade sourdough, they’re doing 2020 all wrong! Lol. Jokes and quarantine aside, making sourdough is an incredibly fun and rewarding hobby. It’s not nearly as difficult as people think, and we have numerous tutorials and recipes for folks to follow here – crackers, rustic bread, pizza crust, focaccia, cornbread and more. Plus, homemade sourdough is significantly more healthy and sustainable than commercially produced store-bought bread!
Create a sourdough baking supply kit with a proofing basket (banneton), dough scraper, bread lame, and our organic sourdough starter! One small packet of starter is enough to turn in to a bubbling liter of starter in just 5 days, and will last a lifetime of baking. Another sourdough tool I highly recommend is a cast iron combo cooker. Baking bread within a combo cooker (or Dutch oven) is the closest you can get to artisan bread made in a commercial oven at home.
17) Seed Storage Container
Most gardeners are seed hoarders… many with an impressively messy, large pile or cardboard box stuffed full of seed packets hiding away somewhere. That used to be me! While I am still a seed hoarder, I am now an organized one. Years ago we discovered that these awesome photo storage containers also happen to be the perfect size and design for storing seed packets. Group together all the tomato, carrot, or pepper packets into one individual labelled box. This makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, and also keep track of what you do or don’t need during the next round of seed shopping. The container is very durable and made in the USA.
For an extra special gift, you could tuck a gift certificate for even MORE seeds inside the container… You know, to be supportive of the hoarding habit. While we support and buy seeds from many different seed companies, I have become increasingly fond of Botanical Interests over the years.
18) Food Dehydrator
As a gardener myself, I can’t tell you how endlessly useful, easy, and FUN it is to have a food dehydrator. Aside from fermenting foods, dehydration is our go-to way to preserve homegrown food – or even excess goodies from the farmer’s market, friends, or neighbors! Make seasonings like garlic powder, lemon powder, onion powder, chili powder, and dried herbs. You can also create “sun” dried tomatoes, apple chips, fruit leather, kale chips, homegrown herbal tea, dry flowers, or even make meat jerky – if that is what you’re into!
I can’t say enough good things about the Excalibur brand of dehydrators. They’re a California-based company, made in the USA, high-quality, high-capacity, quiet, BPA-free, and even have stainless steel options. We now have two 9-tray Excalibur machines (one for personal use and one for business) and use them constantly! There are also more basic, affordable options like this trusty Nesco dehydrator as well!
19) Garden Gloves & Pruning Shears
I’m lumping these two together because they’re both fairly basic but essential tools for any gardener. They’re also two things that will need replacing on occasion, but hopefully not too often – if you choose good quality ones to start! Digz is our favorite garden glove brand, and we always reach for Fiskars when it comes to small snips, pruning shears, and large pruners alike.
One of the best things about gardening is that there is always something new to learn! The same goes for cooking, preserving food, trying new recipes, or creating homemade natural health and beauty products. Books always make for very useful and thoughtful gifts. Check out the list below, which includes guides on composting, kombucha, gardening, herbs, wildlife, recipe books and more. Many of the authors on the list are fellow bloggers, friends, and small business owners too!
21) Hummingbird Feeder
Must I explain? Okay… twist my arm. Hanging a hummingbird feeder couldn’t get any more win-win. Our little pollinator friends need all the help they can get, and will definitely appreciate a fresh source of nectar. It’s best to also plant plenty of nectar-producing flowers for hummers, but hummingbird feeders can provide an essential source of food when flowers aren’t in bloom, in urban areas, or on migratory flight paths. Then, us humans get the immense pleasure of watching and enjoying our hummingbird friends in the garden. Check out this article to learn how to make a simple DIY hummingbird feeder nectar, along with best practices for cleaning and maintenance of the feeder.
22) Solar Lights
A garden should be a functional place to grow food, but also a welcoming place to relax and enjoy all the hard work accomplished! Solar lights throughout the garden create a magical and inviting atmosphere. They also enable us gardeners to stay out past dark – to both work and play. We have various solar pathway lights strewn among the garden, these badass tiki torches that look like real flames (my favorite!), and whimsical solar fairy string lights wrapped around the raised beds and along the fence, and classic solar bistro string lights around the porch.
23) The Best Hose Reel Cart
While the majority of our landscape is on automatic drip irrigation, we still find ourselves dragging the hose in and out of the gardens a couple times a week. A sturdy, hassle-free hose reel makes the effort so much easier! This Eley hose reel is one of the best garden investments we’ve made. (Seriously. We now have two, and it’s the best.) The cart is incredibly well-made (in the USA!), easy to use and move, compact, leak-free, comes with flat-proof tires, and has a 10-year warranty. And let me tell you, we’ve been through more than our fair share of hose reels and carts over the years! Rust. Flat tires. Leaks. Inadequate size for longer hoses. Been there, done that. We’re not looking back.
24) Goodies from Gardener’s
I allllmost tucked Gardener’s Supply up in the small business section. While they certainly aren’t tiny, this Vermont-based company is both employee-owned and a socially-responsible certified B corporation. Gardener’s offers a huge array of garden goodies, including seed-starting supplies, grow lights, garden decor, bee hotels, raised garden bed kits, potting benches, compost bins, bird houses and feeders, and more.
Our personal favorite items that we use from Gardener’s Supply are these BPA-free soaker hoses, and these garden hoops that we use to protect our crops and support insect netting, frost protection and/or shade cloth. Almost every one of our raised garden beds is now outfitted with both!
25) Loose Leaf Tea Supplies
We love to drink tea for a variety of reasons – to boost health, soothe upset tummies or sore throats, or simply to enjoy a tasty warm beverage. Farmhouse Teas has some exceptionally delicious loose-leaf blends! Loose-leaf tea is often more healthy and sustainable than bagged tea. Some tea bags are 100% cotton and therefore compostable, but unfortunately many contain some synthetic materials – meaning they don’t break down, but also may release micro-plastics into your beverage. In addition to buying loose leaf tea, we also love to make homemade tea with fresh or dried herbs from the garden. When I’m brewing just a cup, I use this awesome little stainless steel mug strainer. When we make tea for two, we reach for our glass tea kettle with built-in infuser.
26) Immersion Blender
This dang trusty tool. Ironically, Aaron’s parents gave us our immersion blender as a holiday gift many years ago, and we truthfully weren’t sure how much we’d use it… yet it’s proven itself as a very valuable kitchen tool that we use all the time! We regularly make large batches of creamy soup and sauces, and it’s incredibly convenient to blend it right in the pot.
For example, we use an immersion blender for our easy roasted tomato sauce, tomatillo salsa, creamy butternut squash and sage soup, potato leek soup, and roasted sweet potato and carrot soup. We’ll also use it next week for our mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. I love that you can easily pulse or only partially blend something too, rather than churning it all 100% smooth.
27) Veggie Grill Basket
Summer BBQs may not be at the forefront of your mind during the winter holiday season, but this stainless steel grill basket is too good not to mention. Most often, we cook our veggies indoors in our favorite cast iron wok… yet it’s fun to change things up, and grill outside when the weather and mood is right! Plus, grilling veggies gives them that extra special char or roasted flavor.
We use the grill basket to cook eggplant, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and onions – sometimes a mix of them all. Grilled tomatillos make the best roasted salsa verde, and don’t even get me started on the potatoes… Cut potatoes into large bite-size pieces, marinate with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary or other herbs for a bit, and then toss them in the hot grill basket. Yum!
28) Compost Supplies
Composting and homesteading goes hand in hand. Homemade compost is some of the absolute best (and free!) organic fertilizer around. Not to mention, composting is super earth-friendly and diverts waste otherwise destined for the landfill. But rather than toting kitchen scraps outside to the compost pile every time we need to dispose of them, we collect the scraps in this stainless steel compost crock. It lives under our kitchen sink, and has a carbon filter in the lid that keeps smells inside and the fruit flies out. Then we can bring it out to add to our worm bin, the big passive pile, or to our handy compost tumbler about once a week. This white ceramic compost crock is another really classy option. Either would look nice on the countertop too!
Now, this admittedly is a bit of a big-ticket item… but I never knew I could love a blender until we got a Vitamix. I first sought one out because my garden green smoothies were not quite as ‘smooth’ as I’d like them. However, we’ve found that the vitamix does a stellar job for a wide array of homestead projects.
For instance, our old Ninja blender could not grind homegrown dehydrated turmeric pieces or lemon peels into a fine powder. It left behind very hard (inedible and dangerous) little rock-like bits. Yet the vitamix turns those hard chunks into fine fluffy powder with ease. We use the Vitamix to grind dry onions, turmeric, garlic, leek greens, herbs, chili peppers, and more into homegrown seasoning powders. I happen to like my besto pesto, homemade pumpkin puree, and hummus really creamy as well, and the Vitamix delivers!
Well, did you see a few things that interest you?
I hope this article helped you find the perfect useful home and garden gifts for your loved ones, for any special occasion! Above all, I hope that you are able to have a peaceful, enjoyable holiday season this year despite it everything else going on. Gifts aside, please remember to spread love, respect, and kindness – to everyone and all living things. We sincerely appreciate you tuning in as a valued part of this community!