Healing Holiday Scents

Aromatic Seasonings

Aromatic pomander
Aromatic pomander. Jowita Stachowiak / Getty Images

There are certain aromas that we tend to associate with the holiday season. These include scents from the outdoors such as pine needles and cedar leaves because of the holiday trees that were hauled into our homes to be decorated. Smells from the kitchen also remind of us holiday traditions like mom's gingerbread men freshly out of the oven, grandpa's chocolate fudge boiling on the stove top, or aunt Meg's cinnamon sugar cookies arriving in the mail.

Below are a few of the scents that are reminiscent of the holiday season. It is not surprising that many of the scents that we enjoy during the holiday season have healing associations.


Peppermint may very well be the most common aroma wafting through the kitchen during the holidays. Peppermint oil and crushed peppermint candies are often used in holiday baking. In aromatherapy peppermint essential oil is noted as a mood uplifter. No wonder candy canes bring smiles to children's faces and delight people of all ages.

Pine, Cedar, and Eucalyptus

Holiday trees and wreaths hung on your front door are often made from trimmings of pine, cedar, lavender, and eucalyptus. Pine aromatherapy oil is typically used as a disinfectant. Pine has natural anti-bacterial properties. By choosing a pine tree you would introducing the scent of the lush forest into your home, but also offering you living space with lingering scent which houses protective energies.

Eucalyptus oil is also a natural ingredient used in products for treating common cold symptoms. Cedar is also used as a disinfectant as well as an aromatic air freshener.

Frankincense and Myrrh

Frankincense and myrrh are historically associated with Christmas. As told in bible stories, along with gold, frankincense and myrrh were gifts the three wise men presented to baby Jesus.

The burning of incense sticks dipped in both oils of frankincense and myrrh gives off frankincense's sweet perfume blended with myrrh's more potent fragrance. The combined scent is commonly used during meditation sessions or prayer time.

Cocoa and Cinnamon

What could be more more satisfying than drinking a cup of steamy cocoa after an afternoon of sledding or an hour of shoveling snow from your sidewalks during the cold winter season? Top it off with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg and you will be enjoying an extra special treat. Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant. Dark chocolate is one of the super foods, so don't forget to stuff some sweet chocolates inside those holiday stockings.

Oranges and Cloves

Dried pomanders can be made from oranges and cloves. Not only do orange pomanders decorate your home over the holidays but they will double as remedies for cold, flu, and winter blues. Cloves ward off winter nasties associated with colds and flu. Oranges are happiness-bringers, offering optimism and gaiety to the season. Cloves are also aphrodisiacs and may induce romantic couplings by the festive fireside.

How to Make an Orange Pomander - Poke holes into the orange peel with a skewer and insert a whole clove into each piercing. It helps to design an artsy or symmetrical punch pattern for a more decorative result. Your clove pierced oranges can also be dusted with fragrant ground spices such as nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cinnamon. Wrap your pomander with a ribbon and dangle it from doorways or arrange a cluster of pomanders as an centerpiece for your foyer table. Oh, and citrus pomanders make delightful fragrant gifts to give hosts when you arrive at those holiday parties. Limes, lemons, tangerines, or clementines can also be used to make a variety of citrus pomanders.

References: Scents of the season, Teresa Griswold, Wyoming Tribune; Frankincense and Myrrh Sermon, Dr. Neil Chadwick, joyfulministry.com