7 Scents of the Season
Come Black Friday, twinkle-lights are twinkling and Christmas tunes are playing. Our eyes and ears get every clue that the holidays are here. But what do our noses tell us?
There are a few fragrances that immediately trigger thoughts of the holidays. Here are our favorite holiday scents along with easy ways to make your home smell like the season.
Sage may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the holidays. But this little leaf is what makes stuffing taste like stuffing. And when sautéed with onions and celery we dare you not to say, “Mmm, it smells like Thanksgiving!” Our favorite recipe is this Sage Sausage Stuffing from Jo Cooks.
There’s something soothing about vanilla’s warm, sweet scent. In fact, in a test run by the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, patients exposed to the heliotropin — a vanilla-like aroma — reported 63% less anxiety and claustrophobia during MRI scans. We think that’s the perfect excuse for indulging on Vanilla Bean Cream Pie. And don’t throw away the pods — tuck them into your sugar bowl and your sugar will be infused with the vanilla scent and flavor within a week.
During the holidays, icy-cool peppermint mostly comes in the form of candy canes. We love it paired with chocolate, in the form of irresistable peppermint bark.
What smells more like Christmas than a Christmas tree? The fresh, woodsy smell of spruce (or pine or fir) is a sure sign that winter has arrived. And a tip for artificial tree-lovers: visit your local tree farm or lot and ask if you can take the broken branches off their hands. Many places give away spare branches for free. Use them to fill in the gaps of your artificial tree. Not only will it make the tree look fuller, but you’ll get the evergreen scent of a live tree.
It’s probably the addition of cinnamon and molasses that enhances gingerbread’s flavor. But it’s the ginger that gives it a unique peppery scent. Crisp gingerbread that has a “snap” is best for decorating and building gingerbread houses. For snacking, we prefer soft, chewy ginger cookies.
Earthy, spicy and synonymous with fall and winter holidays, cinnamon is one of the most popular scents of the season. Nothing is more comforting than the warm smell of cinnamon on a cold day. We like to add crushed cinnamon sticks (ground cinnamon works too), cloves and ginger to a small pot of water along with a few slices of fresh apple and orange and let it simmer on low heat on the back of the stove. The aroma will fill the house all day long.
Cloves top the list of our scents of the season. These buds have a deeper, stronger spice than cinnamon and are a must-have for apple pie, pumpkin pie, mulled cider and so many more holiday recipes. The best way to perfume the house with the rich scent of cloves is to use them to stud fresh oranges. Piled into a decorative bowl, clove-studded oranges make a beautiful holiday centerpiece.