Christmas is a time for nostalgia and tradition. Traditions are an opportunity for us to create long lasting memories, and the smells that surround us at Christmas time plays a part in creating these memories. The link between our sense of smell and our memory is the reason why the many different aromas that waft through our homes around Christmas time, has the power to evoke memories of Christmas past.
Because we all have different experiences and memories, we all have different preferences when it comes to smells. Therefore, it is important that we surround ourselves with scents that make us feel good and remind us of happy times.
Aromatherapy with the use of essential oils, is one of the easiest and most natural ways of evoking happy memories. They also have the added benefit of relaxing, uplifting or energizing you at the same time. Mix and dabble with these wonderful oils to create your ideal Christmas fragrance.
Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica) and Pine Scotch (Pinus sylvestris) will give you the woody fragrance that your artificial tree lacks. As well as bringing the freshness of the forest into your home, both of these oils from the Pinaceae family will benefit anybody who suffers from respiratory ailments. They are both highly antiseptic, which makes them an excellent choice of oil to burn during the winter months. Pine is sharp scent and quite stimulating. A herb of protection, pine helps to guard against feelings of helplessness and worthlessness. It helps to build self-esteem and encourages positivity.
Cedarwood is more relaxing and calming compared to Pine. It strengthens our will to cope with occasions or sentiments that threaten to challenge our mood or morale. It can diffuse fear and restore confidence in our own spirituality.
Winter Spices & Jolly Fruits
The sweet spicy aroma of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) essential oil is stimulating and revitalising. It creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Oil of nutmeg contains a chemical compound called myyristicin, which causes hallucinations and possible convulsions when abused. Use in very low dilution in your burner and avoid overuse.
Clove Bud (Syzygium aromaticum) – The magic ingredient that gives a hot whiskey its tantalising aroma! I doubt very much that there’s an Irish household that doesn’t have a jar of cloves in the spice rack around Christmas time. Clove essential oil has a strong spicy odour that stimulates the mind and refreshes the memory. Like cinnamon, it is a strong air antiseptic and both should be used with caution!
Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). Cinnamon brings to mind the smell of the traditional Christmas cakes and puddings. It is believed that cinnamon has the ability to help release pent-up emotions caused by past shock or upset. It helps to restore a sense of security and self-confidence. Its strong antibacterial properties help to cleanse and purify the air.
Many experienced aromatherapists condemn the use of cinnamon oil and clove oil on the skin!
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) is the must-have Christmas essential oil as it brings a charm of its own to almost every oil that I know. It blends particularly well with the above mentioned Cedarwood and all the spicy aromas most associated with the festive season. For me, sweet orange is the queen of oils when it comes to promoting joy and positivity. It is very often used as an antidepressant and encourages perfectionists to adapt a more relaxed attitude when dealing with stressful events.
It is not recommended to use essential oils every day. To maintain the Christmas fragrance in your home, add several drops of your favourite ones to a bowl of pine cones or fir cones. The smell will remain for many days but the chemicals will have long evaporated. So you’ll still get the wonderful festive smell, without the mental or emotional effects. (And remember its the smell and not the chemicals that evoke the memories we yearn for at Christmas time.) This method of using aromatherapy will also help to ensure that you don’t overuse the more powerful spicy oils such as nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, particularly during pregnancy and when young children and pets are present.
I really hope this guide will help you find the aroma that evokes many happy and peaceful Christmas memories to ensure that your mood remains merry and bright!
And after the year we’ve all had, we certainly need all the help we can get to left our moods! Merry Christmas!
What’s your favourite Christmas smell and why? Please tell.