Setting a Holiday Mood with Fragrance

Nov 26, 07:52 PM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

There are certain aromas that we associate with the winter holidays. The warmth of cooking spices and clove pomanders, the bracing aroma of fresh evergreen branches, or the heady, balsamic scent of incense used during seasonal religious observances. Essential oils can be diffused into the home environment to enhance the holiday spirit, creating a fragrant backdrop for get togethers with family and friends or adding to the festive ambience of a holiday party.

The most effective way to fragrance a room is via use of a nebulizing aromatherapy diffuser. Nebulizers use forced air, or a combination of ultrasonic current and forced air, to disperse essential oils into the environment in a microfine mist. Diffusers come in a myriad of sizes and models, and choosing one that is most appropriate for your environment depends on the strength of the pump (more powerful pumps will fragrance a wider area of square footage) and other desired features such as intermittent timers or flow control devices. When selecting a diffuser, make sure that it does not use a heat source to disperse fragrance, as heat degrades the aroma and quickly breaks down any therapeutic phytochemicals present in essential oils.

Here are a few essential oil combinations that are nice for holiday entertaining:

Ginger, Clove and Sweet Orange - This sweet, spicy and warming combination can help take the chill off a wintery night. Both clove and sweet orange are highly antiseptic, and continual diffusion will sanitize room air, helping protect you and your guests from seasonal colds and flu.

Black Spruce, Scotch Pine and Sweet Orange - Diffuse these essential oils to create a "Christmas tree" aroma. All three are strongly antiseptic, cleansing room air, and the conifers help open stuffy noses and clear the lungs.

Frankincense, Myrrh and Elemi - An exotic mix of essential oils rendolent of incense. Calming and soothing, this blend is lovely for meditation and quiet gatherings. Frankincense deepens the breathing, and both frankincense and elemi support the lungs during cold and flu season.

Rosemary ct. cineole, Peppermint and Petitgrain - A bright, cheery blend that will lift the spirits, clear the mind and put guests in a party mood. Rosemary and peppermint are also great for stuffy sinuses that can occur in overheated rooms.

Bay Laurel, Lemon and Frankincense - This unexpected and extremely pleasant combination creates an interesting backdrop for your holiday event. These oils are strongly antimicrobial. Diffuse them, and make your own antibacterial soap for the guest bath by adding a few drops of the blend to a bottle of unscented liquid soap.

Depending on your diffuser, a total of 6-20 drops of essential oil can be enough to fragrance an area for several hours. Experiment with a few of the suggested combinations, or invent one of your own. Either way, aromatherapy will add a subtle sparkle to the season.

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