The holidays are full of traditions and memories – and, more often than not, these fond thoughts are tied to very specific holiday smells. Find out how you can recreate the magic of the season in your home with these “scentsible” tips.
For many, holidays are closely linked to certain scents: roasting turkey, warm bread, baking cookies, refreshing cinnamon, sweet pine. Says Jaimie S., “For as long as I can remember, my parents burned a bayberry candle as soon as we got home from church on Christmas Eve. They make their way home for the holidays with me every year so that we can continue the tradition. The smell wraps up happy memories and hope in one little taper.”
For Charlie P., “Opening a fresh can of cashews always reminds me of Christmas, even in the summer… it was one of the standard stocking stuffers.” Mary F. has lovely memories from “the very distinct smell of the Christmas decorations and ornaments taken down from the attic.”
Whatever smell reminds you of the winter holidays, here are some tips for getting the most coveted holiday scents to permeate your house this season.
Natural, homemade air freshener
Whether you’re going for a cinnamon scent, pine or otherwise, put a few drops of essential oil into a spray mister of water and “spritz” throughout your house at any time, says Deanna Radaj, lifestyle design consultant and owner of Bante Design. “This is especially great before a party. It’s my No. 1, easy-to-do, easy-to-apply tip!” Essential oils can be found online, at your local health food store or a new age/metaphysical shop.
Go for soy or beeswax candles that are scented with natural essential oils. “If it’s marked ‘fragrance’ it’s a synthetic, manmade fragrance and people with allergies or smell sensitivity will have a reaction,” says Radaj. The other disadvantage of using a fragrance candle is that the smell dissipates quickly. The lit holiday candle will “scent” the room because of the power of the essential oil.
“Make your own potpourri with pine cones, holly berries and cinnamon sticks,” says Radaj. Place the mix in a green or red bowl and, when it needs “refreshing,” use a couple of drops of cinnamon or pine essential oil. Just make sure no one thinks your potpourri is a snack bowl – essential oils are not to be ingested.
Pick up some terra cotta lamp rings (usually available at health food stores and sometimes gardening centers) and sprinkle them with a few drops of essential oil. “Place the ring on a light bulb. When the lamp is turned on, the heat of the bulb helps to diffuse the scent throughout the space,” Radaj explains.
Want to carry your favorite holiday scent with you whether you’re in or out of your home? Easy! “You can make a massage oil or bath oil by mixing the essential oil of your choice with a carrier oil like almond or jojoba,” Radaj explains. (Warning: Do not put essential oils onto the skin unless mixed with a carrier oil.) “Though it’s not wafting through the home, you can still enjoy the scent as it’s on you almost like a perfume; this can be nice when you’re trying to relax after a hectic day of shopping, cleaning or holiday partying.”