Living in perpetually sunny Phoenix Arizona, we are somewhat disconnected from the swing of the seasons. It’s easy to forget that it’s almost December when it’s close to 90 degrees outside. But no matter what the temperature is outside, there are aromas that will evoke memories and emotions from fall and winters experienced in cooler climes and times.
When I smell pine and evergreens, I can’t help but think about Christmas trees and playing in the snow in Northern Arizona. Whenever I smell pumpkin pie, it takes me right back to many Thanksgivings, thinking I was too full for dessert until I smelled that amazing aroma.
When I see a Christmas tree or a picture of pumpkin pie it doesn’t have quite the same impact. This is because our sense of smell is better at triggering emotions or memories better than any of our other senses. Our olfactory bulb is directly connected to the parts of our brain that process emotion and memory (the amygdala and hippocampus). Interestingly, the parts of our brain that process sight, sound, and touch aren’t as connected to our emotions.
Through the use of essential oils in our homes, we can strongly evoke the sense that winter is coming, even if temperatures outside don’t feel that way. You can use an essential oil diffuser to spread the aromas through your home (along with all the health benefits they provide), but if you don’t have one of those, don’t worry. Simply place a few drops of the essential oils in a glass or ceramic bowl of pure water and put in a central location in the room (out of the reach of children).
Other ways to fill the atmosphere with aromatic oils include:
- Sprinkle your favorite essential oils in a ceramic bowl filled with dried flowers
- Place several drops of essential oils on cotton balls and tuck behind furniture or other places throughout the room
- Fill a good spray bottle with water and add the essential oils of choice. Shake well and spray throughout the room as desired
Some of my favorite seasonal oils are made from spices. Cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg are warming and comforting. When inhaled before eating large holiday meals, they will also help promote appetite and improve digestion.
People often associate the scent of fresh citrus with summer, but fall and winter is when citrus is in season in Arizona. Aromas such as sweet orange and grapefruit are uplifting and energizing, and can be helpful for people suffering holiday blues.
Essential oils that are made from evergreen trees such as spruce, pine, and cypress are classic winter aromas; they are crisp, clean, and refreshing, and promote feelings of peace and calm.
Peppermint is cooling and invigorating and can help you feel refreshed when you are tired.
Both frankincense and myrrh oils are associated with the Christmas season. Made from the resin of Middle Eastern desert trees, these oils have deep and calming aromas, and are often used for meditation.
I really enjoy creating unique essential oil blends to use in an essential oil diffuser. Here are some of my favorite recipes:
Pumpkin Pie blend
Mulled Cider blend
- 6 drops of pine, spruce, or fir
- 1 drop peppermint
Try these blends, or create your own. If you enjoy aromatherapy and want to learn more about making your own blends, check out our upcoming DIY Botanical Perfume class on December 19th!
What are some of your favorite aromas?