The sweet smells of holiday baking tantalize the senses and remind us of family and seasonal traditions. Unfortunately, though, we don’t all have time to fill the house with olfactory stimulating baked goods, and seeing how artificially scented fragrances can cause neurological damage among other issues, we natural mamas must resort to other methods of adding holiday scents to our homes.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be that difficult. We can use herbal, holiday potpourri blends to fill our homes with the scents of the season, and the best thing is it’s completely natural.
Today I wanna talk about scent memories and give you a few options for creating your own authentic holiday potpourri blends which you can use to fill your home with memory evoking scents of the season this year.
It Goes Back To Scent Memories,…
I have fond memories of baking marathons with my aunts and mom at my grandma’s house every November. We would fill the large dining room table with thousands of Christmas cookies that would be enjoyed throughout the Christmas season. The whole house smelled amazing!
What I liked even better, though, was the delicious smell of the holiday potpourri sold in the stores. I loved the pungent cinnamon and the spicy clove. The closest thing we had at home though was the cinnamon spice fragrance spray that was stashed in the bathroom.
Now that I have my own family, we have the diffuser running almost every single day with essential oils, but there’s something to be said about the homemade, simmering stovetop potpourris that I’ve used in the past.
… But It’s More Than Just A Good Smell
However, did you know that there’s more to pleasing scents than simply making your nose happy?
It’s true! The chemical constituents found in volatile essential oils interact with our neurotransmitter receptors, specifically dopamine, serotonin and glycine. These hormones are the “feel good” substances of the body and are what help us feel happy.
Next, the limbic system processes memory, emotions and smell.
Think of the smell of turkey on Thanksgiving day or of grandma’s apple pie. It’s your scent memory that has caused you to become attached to that particular emotion.
You see, our sense of smell is directly linked to the olfactory bulb in the brain, which houses the amygdala that’s in charge of storing our scent memories. So since grandma’s Christmas sugar cookies evoke happy memories whenever we inhale those smells, we revisit those same happy memories each and every time that scent is smelled.
Not only does the amygdala store pleasant scent memories, but negative ones as well. Whenever we smell a skunk, our brain is telling us that that’s a skunk, it’s stinky and to stay away! It’s also why the smell of a hospital or funeral home can immediately evoke feelings of sadness for some people.
By choosing certain scents during the holidays, among other times during the year, I’m helping my family to relax and create pleasant memories that will last them for rest of their lives.
Keeping Germs Away With Antimicrobial Essential Oils
Another great thing about these holiday scents, like clove and cinnamon, is that they do double duty. They contain antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties that help cleanse the air of harmful pathogens.
3 Authentic Holiday Potpourri Blends For Your Home
There are plenty of mix and match options when it comes to creating simmering herbal potpourris. You really can’t go wrong. Because essential oils contain volatile compounds they evaporate into the air fairly easily. Even heavier compounds, like the sesquiterpenes found in frankincense and vetiver, will fill your home even though they don’t evaporate as quickly as “top notes” like orange and lemon.
Below you’ll find 3 authentic holiday potpourri blends to use in your home this year. I hope you enjoy their looks and scents as much as my family does!
1. Citrus Spice Blend
- 2 orange slices or 2 tbsps orange peels
- 2 lemon slices or 2 tbsps lemon peels
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, cut into slices
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
2. Christmas Tree Blend
3. Cranberry Spice Blend
- Combine the herbs and oils of your choice in a small saucepan or crockpot. Add enough water so that the herbs are completely covered. Dried herbs will absorb water, and the water will evaporate into the air, so make sure you add enough.
- Gently simmer the herbs uncovered over very low heat on the stove or set your crockpot to low.
- Add more water every few hours as it evaporates.
Have you ever used herbal potpourri to scent your home during the holidays? How’d it work for you?