Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
A fun part of beekeeping is using the products of your beehives to put together creative, practical, and thoughtful gifts for friends and family.
First, let’s talk about honey. In and of itself, a jar of honey makes a fine gift. But, if you want to jazz it up a little, think about creative jars and bottles you can use. One of our favorites for gift giving is a “Muth Jar” of honey. It is a very pretty bottle, with a “vintage” feel. With a nice bow, it makes a great gift. You can also attach a nice looking honey dipper to make it even more special. Also, think about pairing the honey with other items such as: tea and a nice mug, a homemade loaf of bread, or cheese and crackers. Baked good made with your own honey are also a welcome gift. Bread, cookies, and other desserts can be made ahead of time, and frozen until you are ready to give them as gifts. Honey can also be used to make flavored “creamed” honeys that many people enjoy. I have also sometimes included a honey – themed cookbook with a jar of honey.
Beeswax can be used to make a wide variety of candles. I try to give different types of candles as gifts on different years. Some years I might give taper candles, another year I made tree candles, and this year I bought a mold to make pillar candles with a fern design. Again, the candles could also be paired with other items such as candle holders, decorative matches, and candle snuffers to make a nice gift set. Votive candles are very simple to make, and there are many types of votive holders out there to make each gift unique.
You could also try your hand at making beauty products with beeswax. One year I made beeswax lip balm using a kit. It was quick, easy, and made enough lip balm for all of my friends and family. There are also many recipes online for hand salves, lotions, soaps and bath products using honey and/or beeswax.
Another simple idea that makes a great stocking stuffer is beeswax bars. We make these small bars of beeswax by using a simple mold, gift wrap them, and attach a note explaining that it can be used for sticky drawers or windows, waterproofing leather boots, etc.
Of course, you can combine any of the ideas above to make fun gift baskets with several products of the hive!
Gift for the Beekeeper
Now, what about gift for the beekeeper in your life? Here are just a few ideas!
One of the nicest “beekeeping” gifts I have received came from my husband last year. He put together a gift box of exotic varietal honeys for me to sample. It was so much fun to try unique honey that is not produced in this area – Chamiso, Tamarisk, Huajillo, Kiawe, and Chestnut honey. I have also received Heather and Chestnut honey as gifts. Even though I produce my own honey it is a lot of fun to do taste tests of these other varieties of honey!
If the beekeeper makes candles, you could look for a new mold for them to use. This is especially nice if you know they are looking for a particular type of mold. If they do not already make it, kits that allow you to try out making beeswax soaps, lip balms, or lotions are a lot of fun. It gives the person a chance to try it out, and they can then decide if it is something they want to continue making or not.
What about books? There are so many beekeeping books out there! Practical “how-to” books, books on the history of beekeeping, and narrative beekeeping books that are just plain fun to read. In my previous blog, Dealing With Winter Honeybee Withdrawal I talk about some of my favorite beekeeping books. There are also many videos about beekeeping as well!
Bee-themed items can be nice, but be careful of overdoing it! Honeybee jewelry, stationary, mugs, t-shirts, etc. can make great gifts, but make sure the beekeeper is not already saturated with these types of items.
If you are close enough to the beekeeper to know if they need a particular piece of beekeeping equipment, it will be greatly appreciated as a gift. If not, a gift certificate to a beekeeping supply company makes a practical gift that will always be welcome.
I hope that I have inspired you to make beekeeping a part of your gift giving this year! Happy Holidays!
Jennifer Ford owns and operates Bees of the Woods Apiary with her husband Keith. You can visit them at Bees of the Woods Apiary & Mallard Pond Maple's website.
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