Scenting Your Home for the Holidays

Trisha Shirey, Director of Flora & Fauna - 21st November 2013

The holiday season is a time for gathering together with friends and family and opening our homes for parties and feast. We want all of the senses to be engaged as we entertain; from sparkling decorations to dazzle the eyes, sumptuous food to tempt the taste buds, comfortable and cozy pillows and blankets for cuddling by the fire and we want our homes to have smells that enhance the holiday mood.

Unfortunately, that just painted smell, the fish from last night’s dinner or our furry friends may be the first scent that our guests experience. Instead of harsh artificial scents that simply mask smells and may irritate allergic or scent sensitive guests – use natural aromas derived from plants to bring a smile as guests enter.

Carpet deodorizer
Carpets can harbor many odors in our homes. Choose scents to bring the holidays to mind and bring the scent of a freshly cut evergreen tree to your home even if your tree is not real!
1 cup baking soda or borax powder
25 to 40 drops essential oils
2 tablespoons ground spices
Example:
20 drops orange oil
10 drops cinnamon
10 drops fir oil
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Sprinkle over the carpet and leave for several minutes or overnight. The house and even the vacuum cleaner will smell fresh and fragrant.

Simmering Scents
Keep a pot of water on the stove on a low simmer with an assortment of whole spices and citrus peels to provide a festive aroma. Don’t allow the water to boil dry! Assign a helper to keep an eye on the pot if you are entertaining.

Spices to use: cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice, cracked nutmeg, cardamom, star anise, citrus peels or slices of fresh citrus fruit or apples.

Pomander Balls
Dried citrus fruit decked with cloves and rolled in a spice blend will be long lasting and fragrant.
Choose thin skinned oranges, lemons, limes, or kumquats. Use an icepick to make a hole and insert a whole clove. Add as many cloves as you wish, in any pattern you like. Roll the studded fruit in the spice blend mix and allow to dry. Turn the fruit frequently as they dry.

Spice Mix
3 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons ginger
3 tablespoons allspice
3 tablespoons orris root powder (optional – acts as a preservative but many people are allergic to it.)