Scents and the Season
Christmas enchants all the senses, captivating us with the sound of carols and jingling bells, the sight of decorated trees and brightly wrapped presents, the sweet taste of cookies, and the hugs and handclasps of holiday greetings. But it may be the smells of Christmas that delight us most. We treasure the aromas of balsam wreaths and garlands, mulled cider and candy canes, and those herbs and spices that enliven special treats that we make but once a year.
Unfortunately, you can’t be baking 24/7. Even in the most Christmas-y home, the smells of the season sometimes taper off. That’s when you can try some of these clever—and often visually striking—strategies for keeping those good smells going all season long.
Hang Fresh Greenery
Nothing beats the smell of fresh-cut pine. In fact, the scent may be the most appealing thing about buying a live Christmas tree! Use fresh winter greenery wherever you can, whether it’s in wreaths, garlands, sprays, or arrangements. The smell will permeate your home and put you in a festive mood.
Clove-studded fruits like oranges and apples have been used to mask odors for centuries. Making pomanders is a simple craft project even the kids can enjoy. After decorating the fruits, roll them in a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and sandalwood oil to let them cure, and they should last for years.
Scent Your Pinecones
Cinnamon-scented pine cones are in nearly every store during the holidays, but you can DIY them very easily. Wash and dry your pine cones after collecting them. Then spritz them with a solution of water mixed with essential oils like cinnamon, apple, or orange. Seal them in a plastic bag for 24 hours, then remove and let them air-dry.
Make Scented Fire Starters
Simmer Smells on the Stove
If you can boil water, you can make your house smell like Christmas. Simmer a pot of water on the stove and add aromatics like cinnamon sticks, pine, orange peel, and cloves. Check Rachel Schultz's site for a full recipe. Before you know it, the whole place will be bathed with the warm, spicy scents of the season.
Mull Some Wine
Mulled wine fills family and friends with warm holiday cheer, and has the added benefit of making your home smell super Christmasy. Whether your favorite spiced wine is a quick-boil version or one you simmer in a Crock Pot all afternoon, the resulting aromas are sure to be, well, intoxicating.
RELATED: Spiced Wine Recipe
DIY Some Peppermint Spray
The sweet and spicy smell of peppermint is an instant mood lifter. Make your own homemade peppermint spray by adding about 20 drops of peppermint essential oil to 8 ounces of distilled water, then pour it into a spray bottle. Spritz the air, furniture, and draperies for a candy-cane fresh aroma.
Make a Liquid Candle
Create a custom scented lantern in a mason jar using a lantern wick and any oil that burns, even the olive oil that’s in your kitchen cabinet. Add your favorite aromatics, like vanilla bean, cinnamon, clove, pine cones, or oranges. More cost-effective than a wax candle, it looks festive and smells delicious.
RELATED: How to Make Scented Candles
Stash a Few Sachets
The internet is awash in recipes for seasonally scented sachets. For one easy-to-make piney packet, all you’ll need is 1⁄4 cup of dried rosemary, pine and Balsam fir essential oils, an 8-inch square of cotton or linen fabric, and some ribbon or string. Tuck your sachets into drawers or incorporate them into your holiday decorations to infuse your spaces with the fragrance of Christmas trees.
Roll Out Some Scented Ornaments
It’s surprisingly simple to make a collection of scented Christmas ornaments. Sugar Salted's recipe requires just baking soda, cornstarch, water, and the essential oils of your choice. Cook over medium heat until thick, cool the mixture, knead it, roll it out, and use cookie cutters to cut the dough into the desired shapes. Make a hole in each ornament for hanging, then let them air-dry. Display these fragrant decorations on the tree, on wreaths or garlands, or on hooks throughout the house.
DIY a Reed Diffuser
At any time of year, reed diffusers are great at releasing a constant flow of fragrance into the home. Change things up for the holidays by using fir needle, pine, orange, cinnamon, peppermint, or other Christmas-y essential oils in your diffuser. Get started with this straightforward tutorial from Sugar & Cloth. Don’t forget to flip the reeds when the fragrance starts fading, and be sure to keep your diffuser away from children and pets.
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