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Holiday Aromas


It is a proven fact that our sense of smell evokes some of our strongest emotional and physical responses. Fragrances can bring back memories of wonderful times and make us feel like those times are with us again. Of all our senses, smell is the one that never fails to reach our emotional center to evoke feelings and memories of the past. Your sense of smell is also the speediest of all the senses. Memories are evoked by smell even more quickly than by sight or touch.

On the subject of how aromas can affect us, Helen Keller wrote "Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived. The odors of fruits waft me to my southern home, to my childhood frolics in the peach orchard. Other odors, instantaneous and fleeting, cause my heart to dilate joyously or contract with remembered grief. Even as I think of smells, my nose is full of scents that start to awake sweet memories of summers gone and ripening fields far away."

The unmistakable aroma of a fresh cut Christmas tree will always get me in the holiday spirit. Get yourself and your family in the mood for the holidays. Fill your house with the fragrance of real pine branches or the spicy aroma of cinnamon. If you have an artificial tree, consider some other alternatives to fill your home with the aromas of the holiday season.

Add Another Dimension to Holiday Decorating

This is a great simmer recipe to fill your home with a wonderful holiday atmosphere. In a simmer pot or small kettle, combine the peel of orange, peel of lemon, 12 whole cloves, 2 dried bay leaves, 1 stick of cinnamon and cup water. Bring this to a boil, then turn down and simmer on low for several hours. Add more water as necessary.

Candles, incense, and potpourri can all add a wonderful scent to evoke the holiday feeling.  A typical Christmas potpourri could include cedar, pine, anise, dried orange, cloves and other richly scented elements.

An herbal potpourri can actually act as a mood enhancer as well as providing a pleasant scent. Herbs and other scents can be comforting and relaxing. Here are a few herbs, and the benefits attributed to them, to consider when choosing or creating a potpourri.

Lavender: Stress buster, relaxant
Peppermint: Headache and indigestion remedy
Cloves/Eucalyptus: Cold, stuffiness
Lemon: Cooling, uplifting
Jasmine: Positive mental effects
Juniper: Muscle relaxant
Bay Leaf: Relaxing, soothing, female system balance

If you prefer to use food smells to get everyone in the spirit, bake something spicy, like gingerbread or pumpkin bread. The familiar aromas of warm ginger, brown sugar and cinnamon will transport you to memories of old traditions. Baking apples and cinnamon also provides a traditional holiday aroma. Nothing evokes our memories of holidays past like these familiar smells of baking. If you are not a baker, buy frozen pies or breads, or slice and bake holiday cookies and bake them. Much less work and the same wonderful baking smells. However you create the aromas, they will be an important part of the whole holiday experience. Happy Holidays!


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