While the appropriate time to start playing holiday music may be up for debate, there is no denying that the time for planning holiday gifts is now. Channel your inner Etsy artist and give your dance family some do-it-yourself gifts this year. You'll save some money and your teachers and friends will love the personal touches.
Painted Picture Frame With Picture
Turn a snapshot into a lasting memory by placing it in a frame you painted yourself. Buy an inexpensive wood frame, acrylic paints, brushes and Mod Podge from your local craft store. Paint the frame with colors that complement the photo or your dance team's colors, or that match the recipient's style. Seal your work with Mod Podge, then print out your favorite post-recital picture with your besties in a size that fits the frame, and you have a personal work of art to give away.
Dance Bag Scent Sachet
Let's face it: Everyone's dance bag could smell better. Freshen up the whole studio by gifting some DIY sachets filled with potpourri. Purchase small drawstring bags made of muslin—or if you're handy with a sewing machine, whip them up yourself. Then, in a bowl, mix uncooked rice with dried plants, herbs and spices such as cloves, cinnamon sticks and anise—all of which have antifungal and antiseptic properties to keep your dance bag smelling clean. If you desire, include a few drops of essential oil for a stronger scent. Add a few teaspoons of baking soda to absorb moisture and neutralize any bad smells. Stir the components together and distribute evenly among your muslin bags. Close the sachets with a few stitches or a tight knot.
DIY Bath Soak With Epsom Salt and Essential Oils
Help your teacher or classmates unwind after a long day with a homemade bath soak. In a mixing bowl, combine two cups of Epsom salt with one cup of baking soda. Add 15 to 20 drops of essential oils, which offer both a soothing scent and potential health benefits. Try lavender for relaxation or eucalyptus for stress relief, or mix and match to create a unique scent for each of your gift recipients. Scoop the mixture into clear glass jars with airtight lids and tie with a festive ribbon.
Homemade Granola Bars*
Beat the Nutcracker rehearsal munchies by bringing homemade granola bars to share with your castmates. Toast 3 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats on a baking sheet at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine the toasted oats with one cup of nut butter and half a cup of honey, agave or maple syrup. Stir in a half teaspoon each of kosher salt and cinnamon. Then add any extras you like, such as pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, craisins or mini chocolate chips. Press the mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper and chill in your freezer for 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
*Make sure there aren't any people with nut allergies in your class before moving forward with this gift idea.
Personalized Water Bottle
Purchase a simple plastic or metal reusable water bottle and decorate it to suit anyone on your Secret Santa list. Acrylic paints allow you unlimited creative freedom, but make sure to coat the water bottle with dishwasher-safe Mod Podge once the paint has dried overnight. Or curate with the perfect stickers to show how well you know your recipient's personality. Either way, every time they take a sip in class, they'll think of you and smile.