Yule Sachet - Make an Herbal Sachet for Yule

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Yule Sachet - Make an Herbal Sachet for Yule

Herbal Sachet
Patti Wigington

Herbal sachets are a great way to use up bits of scrap fabric, and they have the added bonus of making your home smell amazing! A sachet is simply a cloth pouch or bag stuffed with aromatic blends of herbs, flowers, or other goodies. Believe it or not, there's a rich history behind the use of herbal sachets.

Kirsten Schilling of Arabesque Aromas says that Queen Isabel of Spain had a specific sachet recipe which was used to scent her elaborate brocaded dresses that she wore at Court. Schilling writes, "Isabel’s recipe was much more than a casual fragrance to make her dresses smell sweet and pretty. Indeed, this recipe is closer in nature to a magical prescription, a concoction if you will, carefully and intentionally designed according to ancient folk meaning and symbolism, even invoking the influence of the stars."

You can place herbal sachets in your dresser drawers to give your clothing a soft seasonal scent, or tuck them under your pillow, so you can breathe in the aromas of Yule as you fall asleep. 

During Europe's medieval period, sachets were hand-stitched and held herbs and spices such as cloves, marigolds, rose petals, and other fragrant plants. These weren't just used as air fresheners, though - people often carried them when they went about town, or wore them on a cord around the neck, because they were believed to stave off illnesses, including the plague. 

Some sachets were used for medicinal purposes, especially to help the user sleep. Novelist Susan Wittig Albert, who writes a series of mysteries centered around herbalism, cites a recipe from the 1606 publication of Ram's Little Dodoen: "Take drie Rose leaves, keep them close in a glass which will keep them sweet, then take powder of Mints, powder of cloves in a grosse powder. Put the same to the Rose leaves, then put all these together in a bag, and take that to bed with you, and it will cause you to sleepe, and it is good to smell unto at other times." 

Make Your Own Yule Sachets

During the Yule season, the scents of the holidays tend to stand out. Whether you associate winter with the pine of your grandmother's Christmas tree, the fresh cinnamon of a pot of wassail, or the light aromatic notes of an orange pomander, scents bring out the best of the holiday season. Why not bring those sensations indoors, and enjoy the fragrances of winter?

These simple sachets are easy to make, and you can either use them as ornaments on your holiday tree, or give them away as gifts. You'll need the following:

Mix the herbs together in a bowl, or with your mortar and pestle. Blend varying proportions of each until you've got the scent you want. (Here's a hint: start small!)

Use a spoon to place the blended herbs into the center of a square of fabric. Pull the corners up and tie with the ribbon. Tie a cinnamon stick and a couple of bells in place as well. Use a second piece of ribbon to create a loop so you can hang the sachet if you like. For mine, I used not only a bright red fabric, but also a scrap of lace as an outer layer before I hung my sachets up on my Yule tree.

Timesaver tip: You can buy small tulle bags in holiday colors and spoon the herb blend into them. Pull the drawstring closed and tie shut, then hang up on your tree, or give them to a friend.

For a great gift idea, blend together some of your favorite magical aromatic combinations. Blend herbs together that are associated with money, health, good fortune, or love, and give them to those who might be in need of some holiday blessings this year!