Nothing Says Holidays Like Fragrance!

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Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit like our favorite aromas of times gone by, and new times. It could be sugar cookies, evergreen, cinnamon, wassail, gingersnaps or nutmeg in eggnog; memories during the holidays are most often triggered by the scents we recall from our childhood, certain meals or events and special moments in our lives.

Perhaps you went to a party and tasted peppermint fudge, so you want to re-create the flavor and smell for your family. Or your grandmother always cooked banana bread to give as gifts and you can actually feel her hugs when you smell it. Perhaps the aroma of freshly brewed coffee takes you back to a favorite restaurant you always visit with family during this season. There are so many new ways to re-create your most treasured smells and make your home a welcoming, delicious haven.

A perfect idea for delightful-smelling garland or a table centerpiece or chair backdrop is a eucalyptus garland made from the stems of the plant and a little twine. Double up the twine and tie together the stems, leaving them in varying lengths to create drama.

Instead of buying the scented pinecones to display around your home, make your own by washing some pinecones, letting them dry, then spraying with cinnamon essential oil mixed with warm water. You can add drops of essential oil directly to the pinecones to give as much scent as you like. And why not use fresh pine clippings to bring the winter scent indoors? Add some dried orange slices for a pop of natural color.

For more cinnamon scent, make tiny houses out of cinnamon sticks, which resemble logs. They can be your new gingerbread houses. Create small winter scenes, such as the popular fairy gardens, with candy canes, tiny trees and white fabric to resemble snow. Use your imagination! Place a few of your favorite holiday ornaments around in the “snow.”

Reed diffusers are available at all your favorite specialty stores and home décor shops. They are decorative and an attractive option that continuously delivers a soft scent into the air, to add subtle fragrance that enhances any day of the holiday.

Remember the simmer pots that you plug in? They still work, but here is another fresh idea. Create layered scents with your bags of potpourri by simmering them on the stove inside or in your outdoor kitchen. Simply add your dry potpourri mix to boiling water and boil for a couple of minutes, then lower the heat until it simmers; be careful not to let it completely evaporate. Use such holiday scents as cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, apple or orange peel, bay leaves or nutmeg. Another option is to use your slow cooker to heat the potpourri; that way you won’t have to tend to the stove during your party.

Room sprays always work in a pinch, and natural room sprays are a great option. These can be found at farmers’ markets, different gift shops or online at sites that specialize in homemade products such as Etsy. Try creating your own scented room spray by mixing distilled water or vodka with a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle. Be sure to keep these homemade sprays in the fridge when you’re not using them, so they stay fresh.

Another inexpensive, natural-smelling standby is incense, which brings inviting smells into any entertaining space. The scented smoke wafts around the room or patio, spreads out quickly and lasts.

Everyone enjoys the scented candles that appear during the holidays, from scents such as crackling fireplace, fresh sugar cookies and gingerbread. It is a good idea to buy scented soy candles when you can or make your own with soy wax flakes and essential or fragrance oils. Flameless candles also are scented now and are ideal for homes with small children or pets, or those that just don’t want to worry about the fire hazard of an open flame. Some run on batteries and some come with a base you can recharge. Their soft light and delicate scent will enhance any gathering.

Pre-lit, holiday scented Christmas trees, although artificial, are infused with a fragrant holiday pine scent, and when the lights come on the scent is enhanced. Also available are pre-lit holiday scented wreaths. Just plug them in and the scent emits!

However you decide to liven up your home during the holidays, make sure you add scent to the season. Be creative and get the entire family involved to create your own new tradition. After all, togetherness is truly the best way to make any holiday complete and memorable.

Happy beautifully smelling holidays to all! ■

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