Holiday aromas are everywhere we go this season: in department stores, grocery stores, malls and especially craft stores. Pine, ginger, cinnamon, citrus and spice seem to fill the air this time of year, inviting us into that cozy spirit. Unfortunately, it often takes a load of artificial candles, sprays and chemicals to actually produce those intoxicating aromas. Instead, recreate holiday scents using all-natural ingredients. Here are four great DIY tips for making organic holiday scents for the house.
Prepare this stovetop potpourri when company is coming over, or when you have the whole day ahead of you to craft holiday gifts, or especially after preparing a large meal in the kitchen (it clears out food smells fast).
Combine orange, lemon, and/or lime peels, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, a few pinches of nutmeg and a star anise or two in a small saucepan. Add just enough water to almost fill pan; bring to a simmer and let it cook for hours over low. Add more water as needed to prevent burning.
EASY ORANGE POMANDERS
These look so fancy, and they’re really easy enough to make with the kids. Simply take large, wholeoranges and lemons, and stud them with whole cloves. Arrange the cloves in lines, stars or other patterns to your liking. Leave the studded fruits on your countertop for days, and allow the natural aromas of citrus and spice to slowly fill your house.
HOLIDAY AIR FRESHENER
Make a non-toxic air freshener with minimal ingredients, and at a fraction of the cost of those sold at health food stores. Fill a small (8-ounce) spray bottle—you've got to have one lying around—with distilled water. Add a few drops of essential oils to your liking. For an authentic holiday blend, try a few drops of each: cedarwood, pine, nutmeg and spruce essential oils. For a sweet-spicy blend, try orange, clove, ginger and cinnamon essential oils. Note: Be sure to use only pure essential oils, made without artificial ingredients or additives.
BALSAM AND ROSEMARY SACHETS
Fill small muslin bags or jewelry bags with a mixture of dried balsam and rosemary; tie them and hang from the house for decorative, aromatic herb sachets.
Image: Jakob Hans