If you think it’s too early to be talking about holiday gifts, you may want to check your calendar. We are less than one week away from Black Friday, the official start of the holiday season. It may be tempting to run out and get some bargains for everyone on your list, but in my experience it can be difficult to find something for that “person who has everything.” Sure, you could pick up a gift card or a bottle of wine, but not without appearing like you have no imagination. Why not consider something different like exotic incense and incense holders?
What is “Gift Quality” Incense?
If you shop around, it’s easy to find a nice selection of incense at a nearby gift shop, but that may not be the “gift quality” incense. If you really want to make an impression on the recipient, look for authentic and handcrafted incense from companies like Shoyeido, Nippon Kodo or Stamford. A good example of this is Shoyeido’s Sitting Zen stick incense, which is made from a calming blend of sandalwood, cinnamon, clove and spices. Incense should be subtle enough for meditation and quiet reflection without being obtrusive.
All of the Zen incense made by Shoyeido is extra thick and requires a holder with a larger hole, but the benefit of this is its two hour burning time. Considered by incense aficionados to be the finest incense in the world, each scent is hand blended from the best natural ingredients using secret recipes and a family tradition that has been in place for more than three centuries.
One of my favorite products from Shoyeido is their Xiang Do Palo Santo Incense. Created by master blenders using an exclusive pressing process, all of the recipes in the Xiang Do are considered “atmospheric scents,” but only Palo Santo is known as the “Holy Stick” because it is a citrusy natural wood that was initially used as a spiritual remedy. To this day, many Palo Santo fans believe this refreshing scent has the capacity to ward off bad energy and purify the body. It was even used by Shamans in their sacred plant spirit ceremonies.
If you would prefer to make more of a statement with your incense purchase, you might want to select one of the many gift sets. Packaged in beautiful color-coordinated boxes, these sets include incense sticks and a matching incense holder. Shoyeido offers an Orchid Gift Set which includes 100 sticks of their popular Orchid blend. The incense sticks are packaged in a wine-colored paper box with elegant floral graphics, as well as a colorfully glazed ceramic incense holder.
Before you think that Shoyeido is the only company making “gift quality” incense, you may want to check out Nippon Kodo. This trusted worldwide brand offers a variety of fragrances and gift sets made in the time-honored Japanese tradition and based on original formulas. Nippon Kodo’s Wake-Up Incense may seem like an oxymoron, given that most people light incense when they’re trying to relax, but once you try it you may soon find it as valuable as coffee. Unlike some of the “heavier” incense fragrances like lavender and patchouli, the aroma of lime, pink pepper and bergamot give this scent an airy lightness that sparkles as a new day dawns.
Also available in this unique “Fragrance Memories” series are Rain Forest and Spring Leaves. In this and all of their products, Nippon Kodo promises a new dimension of spiritual awareness, featuring lovely scents from the most beautiful spots in the world. One favorite item is their Nippon Kodo Kayuragi – Wisteria Incense. In Japanese, the definition of “Kayuragi” is “fragrance meets with slowly wafting scented smoke.” But it’s the Wisteria that makes this the perfect gift. A gentler scent for incense, wisteria gives it a floral note that promotes a pleasant mood of relaxation. As a natural stress reliever, it’s the ideal choice for meditation, massage, yoga or bathing.
Don’t forget the incense burner!
Two of the more memorable incense burners for this holiday season are the Tibetan Yrli Incense Bowl and the Buddha Leaf Incense Burner.
The Tibetan incense bowl is filled with sand, which holds a stick of incense quite easily, but the bowl has a decorator look all its’ own. Complete with brass accents and a red stone embedded in the handles, the bowl is 3 ½” tall and measures 4 inches in diameter.
The Buddha Leaf incense holder is unique in that it is carved out of soft gray soapstone with a sitting Buddha guarding the end of a carved leaf. A unique gift that adds a “touch of Zen” to any room, this incense holder measures 4 ¼” long and is 2 ¾” high.