‘Tis the Holiday Season!
Many of us find this time of year very busy and perhaps even stressful … yet the holiday season begs us to slow down, to take a deep breath and appreciate the scents of the season. Aromatherapy uses quality essential oils to encourage relaxation, balance and rejuvenation, with some scents and aromatic combinations creating a memorable holiday atmosphere at the same time. Consider the fresh scent of evergreen, energetic mint, complex sweet spice, joyful citrus, balsamic ‘ancient’ oils and exotic florals. Using the aromatics of quality essential oils to create holiday ambience, to invite a festive mood or to help calm over-stimulated senses can help to make cherished time with family and friends just that much more special, and perhaps even ‘magical’.
Personalize the holiday experience with a blend of seasonal favorites: pine, spruce, cedar, fir or juniper berry; peppermint; clove, nutmeg, cinnamon or ginger; sweet orange, lemon or mandarin; frankincense, myrrh, or sandalwood; and, jasmine, ylang ylang, or rose. Whether diffusing a heavenly blend of essential oils into the air, spritzing artificial greenery, scenting wrapping paper and cards for those special someones or relaxing in an aromatic bath following a harried day, the wonder of aromatherapy offers beautiful holiday season memories.
Be creative and make you own blends or be inspired by the recipes that follow. Ensure that you are using fresh, high quality essential oils in your blends to avoid being disappointed. The botanical names of the essential oils used in the recipes are found at the end of this article.
This diffuser blend is beautifully layered from the hint of lemon through to the depths of frankincense and myrrh. Into a small glass container (with orifice reducer) blend together
- 5 drops of cedarwood essential oil,
- 7 drops of juniper berry essential oil,
- 8 drops of lemon essential oil,
- 15 drops of frankincense essential oil
- and 15 drops of myrrh essential oil.
Use according to the directions for your particular diffuser.
If you do not have a diffuser or nebulizer, passive diffusion can be achieved by adding a few drops of the blend to a simple potpourri made by you! In a decorative container combine some cedar shavings (found in pet stores), real or imitation cranberries for color, a few small pine or cedar cones for texture, star anise for interest and perhaps some small glass beads for bling. Apply 4 to 6 drops of the essential oil blend onto the cedar shavings or cones and voila! Simple, beautiful and aromatic!
For those who use artificial greenery during the holiday season – I stand among you – this essential oil blend from aworldofaromatherapy.com is sure to transport you among the evergreens. Into a small glass bottle (with orifice reducer) combine together
- 10 drops of balsam fir essential oil,
- 10 drops of black spruce essential oil,
- 10 drops of cedarwood essential oil
- and 10 drops of juniper berry essential oil.
Use according to the directions for your type of diffuser. Consider applying a few drops to a terra cotta tree ornament or a small unglazed pot stuffed with cedar boughs. Or make a room mist!
To make a room mist, follow the above recipe, dropping the essential oils into a quality spray (mist) bottle containing 8 oz (1 cup or 240 mL) of distilled water and 1/2 oz (1 tablespoon or 15 mL) of an inexpensive, unflavored vodka. (The vodka is used as an emulsifier.) Shake well before each misting and avoid getting droplets on wood or precious fabrics.
Perhaps it is the ‘hard to resist’ aromas of the holiday kitchen that cause you to stop and take a deep breath. This baked-goods inspired essential oil blend may be the one for you. Remember to keep the experience at the nose level! Do not ingest essential oils!
Combine in a small glass bottle (with an orifice reducer)
- 16 drops of cinnamon essential oil,
- 10 drops of nutmeg essential oil,
- 6 drops of sweet orange essential oil,
- 4 drops of frankincense essential oil
- and 4 drops of clove essential oil.
Diffuse according to the instructions for your diffuser. The original recipe suggests a diffusion time of 5 minutes but I find that 15 minutes is perfect when diffused into a large room. This aromatic blend works well when made into a room mist. (Recipe adapted from wlnaturalhealth.com)
Wrap & Unwrap with lovely scents:
Let’s scent some stationary and wrapping paper! Into a small glass bottle (with orifice reducer) blend
- 10 drops of frankincense essential oil,
- 10 drops of myrrh essential oil,
- 10 drops of cedarwood essential oil
- and 10 to 20 drops of sweet orange essential oil (adjust the number of drops of sweet orange to reach desired aroma).
Apply several drops of the essential oil blend onto a cotton pad and place it in a plastic bag, or other sealable container, with your selected paper products. Do not allow the cotton pad to touch the paper as it will leave a stain! Seal the contents and let it rest for a day or two, allowing for the full absorption of the aroma. (Recipe adapted from aromaweb.com)
Reminiscent of handmade orange-clove holiday balls this aromatic blend is both refreshing and balancing. Combine
- 12 drops of sweet orange essential oil,
- 7 drops of cinnamon essential oil,
- 5 drops of ginger essential oil
- and 1 drop of nutmeg essential oil.
And if you are looking for a seasonal blend that will put some pep into your step consider this ‘head clearing’ blend of
- 8 drops of cedarwood essential oil,
- 12 drops of pine essential oil
- and 12 drops of peppermint essential oil!
Need to slow down and relax? I came upon this ‘heavenly’ aromatic blend from snowdriftfarm.com. Aptly named ‘Angel’s Breath’, aromatherapy bath gifts made with this blessed recipe will be amongst the parcels I send to family and friends who live away.
Into 1 oz (2 tablespoons or 30 mL) of a non-scented base (carrier) oil, such as grapeseed or fractionated coconut oil, add
- 12 drops of lavender,
- 6 drops of sweet orange,
- 4 drops of Roman chamomile,
- 4 drops of ylang ylang
- and 3 drops of sandalwood.
Use as a massage oil or disperse into a bathtub filled with warm water. Consider adding the essential and carrier oil mixture to 16 oz (2 cups or 460 grams) of Epsom salts. Mix well. Use half of the aromatic Epsom salts in a bathtub filled with warm water, and save the other half in a sealable, decorative container. Dim the lights, light a candle or two and plan to soak in the aromatic water for at least 15 minutes.
Staying with an exotic floral theme, consider this precious recipe (also from Snow Drift Farm). Combine
- 5 drops of rose absolute,
- 5 drops of sandalwood essential oil,
- 4 drops of bergamot essential oil,
- 3 drops of jasmine absolute,
- 2 drops of sweet orange essential oil,
- 2 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil
- and 1 drop of ylang ylang essential oil.
Beware! This complex blend not for the faint of heart!
Let’s see … we have created festive ambiance, crafted seasonally-scented potpourri, taken an aromatic journey into the evergreen forest, tinged the air with holiday-kitchen spice and citrus, scented stationary and wrapping paper, punched the atmosphere with energetic mint, bathed in ‘angelic’ waters, and drifted to a far away place fragranced with intoxicating florals in a bid for relaxation and rejuvenation. I hope that one of these seasonal offerings resonates with you. Perhaps you are inspired to create your own seasonal blend.
Well … I’m off to do some blending but not before I extend to you my best wishes for a truly joyous, scent-sational holiday season!
Barbara Power, Certified Aromatherapist
Common and Botanical Names for Essential Oils
Balsam Fir – Albies balsamea; Bergamot – Citrus bergamia; Black Spruce – Pacea mariana; Cedarwood – Cedrus atlantica; Cinnamon –Cinnamomum zeylanicum; Clove – Eugenia caryophyllus; Frankincense – Boswellia carteri; Ginger – Zingiber officinale; Jasmine absolute – Jasminum officinalis; Juniper Berry – Juniperus communis; Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia; Lemon – Citrus limon; Myrrh – Commiphora molmol; Nutmeg – Myristica fragrans; Peppermint – Mentha piperita; Pine (Scotch) – Pinus sylvestris; Roman Chamomile – Anthemis nobilis; Rose Absolute – Rosa centifolia; Sandalwood (Australian) – Santalum spicatum; Sweet Orange- Citrus sinensis; and, Ylang Ylang – Cananga odorata.