Want to give your friends and family a magical gift? Why not make something for them that shows you really care? Here are some of the simplest magical items to make -- you can put these together ahead of the Yule season, and give them out to those you care about.
If you've got a set of Tarot cards that you'd like to keep safe, one of the best ways you can store them is in a special box. This easy craft project is one you can make either for yourself, or as a gift for a friend. If you like, make a bunch of them, choosing a personalized card for each of your coven-mates. Perhaps your HPS would enjoy a box with the High Priestess on it, or someone new to the path might relate to the symbolism of the Fool. Be creative - you can even fill the box with a new Tarot deck, or stock it with crystals, herbs, and other magical items.
For thousands of years, people have used fragrant flowers, plants, and herbs as incense. Using smoke to send prayers out to the gods is one of the oldest known forms of ceremony. From the censers of the Catholic church to the Pagan bonfire rituals, incense is a powerful way to let your intent be known. You can make your own quite easily, using a blend of herbs, flowers, wood bark, resins, and berries. Most of these are items you can grow yourself, find in the woods, or purchase inexpensively. Make a selection of different scents and blends, bottle or bag them up, and give them to friends in a decorative basket, along with an incense burner or some charcoal discs.
Our ancestors used oils in ceremony and ritual hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Because many essential oils are still available, we can continue making our own blends today. In the past, oils were created by placing oil or fat over a heat source, and then adding fragrant herbs and flowers to the oil. Many companies today offer synthetic oils at a fraction of the cost of essential oils (essential oils are the ones actually extracted from a plant). However, for magical purposes it's best to use authentic, essential oils -- these contain the magical properties of the plant, which synthetic oils do not have. Put together a few vials of different oils, such as Blessing Oil or Money Oil, and include them in a spell basket for a friend.
Herbs have been used for thousands of years, both medicinally and ritually. Every herb has its own unique characteristics, and these properties are what makes the plant special. Subsequently, many Wiccans and Pagans use herbs as part of their regular ritual practice. Why not put some together for a friend? You can pot fresh ones in a planter, or dry a selection and put them in pretty bags and bottles. To figure out which herbs you want to use, for which purpose, be sure to read about Magical Herb Use.
Got a friend or coven-mate who travels a lot? Put together a portable altar kit. You can include anything you like in it -- find a nice box or bag, and fill it with magical goodies. It's easy to do, and it makes it a snap to just grab-and-go on your way out the door!
Candle magic is one of the simplest forms of spell casting. Considered sympathetic magic, it's a method which doesn’t require a lot of fancy ritual or expensive ceremonial artifacts. In other words, anyone with a candle can cast a spell. So why not make some candles to give as gifts? It's not hard to do, if you've got a little bit of free time. You can make spell-specific candles, such as a Prosperity Candle, or you can create a candle for a Moon Ritual. If you're not sure which one you like, why not try just some simple poured candles with different scents and colors?
The besom is the traditional witch's broom. It's associated with all kinds of legend and folklore, including the popular notion that witches fly around in the night on a broomstick. The besom is a great addition to your collection of magical tools -- it's used in many traditions as a method of cleansing or purifying a space. Why not make one to give to someone who means a lot to you?
Many Pagans and Wiccans choose to use an altar cloth. It tends to serve multiple purposes -- first of all, it protects your work surface from scratches and wax dropples during ritual. It also is a great way to decorate seasonally -- perhaps a green cloth for the spring, or a brown one in the fall. You can make a simple altar cloth by cutting a three- to five-foot square of material and hemming all four sides. Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, create our Elemental Altar Cloth so the people on your gift list can celebrate the four natural elements!
Ornaments make a great gift for your Pagan or Wiccan friends, because there are so few commercially-made ornaments with a Pagan flair. Mix up a batch of Salt Dough, use your cookie cutters, and create your own ornaments that your friends can bake and hang. For a quick and kid-friendly idea, make a bundle of Pipecleaner Pentacles to share, or go out in the woods and gather up some of earth's goodies to make Pinecone Ornaments. Put them all in a pretty tin, tie a ribbon around the top, and share with the people on your gift list.
If you'd like to give a gift to your entire group instead of (or in addition to) individual people, why not make a coven banner? If your group or coven attends public events, it's not a bad idea to have your own banner. You can hang this up so people know who you are, and it also helps to make you look a bit more organized -- groups with a logo or banner appear more "official" to some folks. Anyway, making your own banner is a great magical project -- think of the energy you can put into a creation like this! If you're not part of an established tradition, don't worry - you can still make one of these -- select a logo for yourself, or for the deities you honor, or for your family's heritage.