By Megan Patrick, Staff Writer
Scent is the sense of memory. You can create wonderful holiday memories in your home by bringing all the smells of the season inside with these simple do-it-yourself crafts and ideas. That way, even if you don't have time for a marathon cookie-baking session, your whole home can still be filled with wonderful smells like cinnamon, clove and orange!
Fill your home with the scents of cinnamon, clove and citrus by adding mulling spices to a pot of apple cider. Simmer the cider on the stove at a low temperature and the steam will perfume the air. Plus, there will be a delicious warm beverage for guests who come in from the cold.
Also known as a pomander, the clove-studded orange is a traditional holiday decoration that is known for bringing bright smells inside. Simply poke holes in any pattern you like in an orange and push whole cloves into the skin. You can then display the fruit in a bowl or tie a ribbon around the middle to hang it from a doorway.
Blending your own holiday potpourri is an easy way to add a festive smell and look to any room. Simply find a pretty shallow bowl and fill it with it a mixture of dried fruit and botanicals: pinecones, citrus slices, leaves, flowers and berries. Any well-stock craft store should have everything you need.
If your yard is full of pinecones, gather them up and bring them inside to transform them into a holiday decoration. Wash the pinecones to get rid of any debris, then bake them in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour. When they're cured, add a few drops of cinnamon oil to a spray bottle of water. Spritz the pinecones and seal them in a bag for 24 hours. Let them dry on baking racks then arrange them in a bowl or hang them from ribbons.
You cut flowers from your yard in the summer to bring the scent of spring inside, and you can do the same in winter. Just find a pretty evergreen branch and cut a few pieces. Arrange them in a vase or other container than can hold water. Remember to change the water every few days to keep the boughs fresh and smelling like winter.
Whether you're having friends over for a holiday party or just want to set the mood for a gift-wrapping session, you can bring holiday smells into your kitchen with a simple simmer pot. Just set a small pot of water on the stove to boil then add a sliced orange, a chopped apple, 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks and a dash of nutmeg. After 15 minutes, lower to a simmer. Keep an eye on the water level as the day wears on.
If the idea of leaving a pot cooking on the stove all day makes you nervous, there's a safer way to create scented steam in your home. Just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (like cedar or cinnamon) to your humidifier.
If you don't like the fake scents of typical room sprays and air fresheners, you can create a DIY version that will allow you control the fragrance and its potency. Fill an empty spray bottle with inexpensive vodka and add pine needles, cinnamon sticks, cloves or any other holiday scents you enjoy. Allow the spices to steep for a few days and then spray wherever you want to create a fresh smell.
Capture the bright scent of winter citrus by preserving oranges and turning them into holiday ornaments to hang from your tree, a wreath or anywhere you want to bring a fresh smell. Slice an orange or two as thinly as you can and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dust both sides of the oranges lightly with powdered sugar then bake at 200 degrees for 3 hours, turning the slices halfway through. Once cool, you can poke a small hole at the top and thread them with ribbon. Or you can use the dried oranges in potpourri or simply displayed in a bowl.
Create a delicious fruity dessert while perfuming your home all day with the scent of warm apples and cinnamon. Use the ingredients in this baked apple recipe, but instead of putting them in the oven, use a slow cooker set on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours.
Add a delightful burst of fragrance to your fireplace by keeping bundles of dried herbs in a basket on the hearth or mantel. Toss one into the flames for an earthy scent. Lavender is always soothing but rosemary will give off of a more holiday-appropriate smell.
Make small bundles of cinnamon sticks to bring this favorite smell of the season to any room. You can even hang them from doorways. If you want to get a little more elaborate, you can buy an inexpensive grapevine wreath from a craft store and hot glue cinnamon sticks to the front. Finish with a bright red bow at the bottom!