Written by Sharrie Thompson, RN, CCA
Gingerbread, oranges studded with cloves, apple cider, delightful food, and the tree; ah, the smell of the tree!!! It truly evokes the season, doesn't it!
A live tree with a root ball to plant after Christmas is an excellent way to get that Christmas smell in your house. My mom planted a Douglas fir in 1984, and it's 150 feet tall today. The secret: she dug the hole before the ground froze, plopped the tree in the hole after Christmas, and added excellent soil to finish filling the spot.
For many, a live-cut tree has lost some of its allure this year. Untold numbers of trees perished in wildfires this year. Since our planet's health depends significantly on trees, trees still growing in the ground are cherished.
Cue the artificial Christmas tree: convenient, long-lasting, reusable, and the Christmas smell can still exist! Yep, essential oils can make your fake tree smell like Christmas!
Essential Oils that generate Christmas smells
Reported properties of each oil per Dr. Scott A. Johnson in Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy (2015):
Cinnamon: helps with morale and courage, uplifting. (p83)
Clove: promotes self-confidence, self-assurance, and courage. (p92)
Ginger: encourages feelings of balance and stability, reduces mental fatigue. (p119)
Orange: reduces anxiety, stress management. (p181)
Lime: uplifting, stress management, reduces anxiety. (p154)
Pine: Reduces anger, reduces anxiety, relieves fatigue. (p203).
Cedarwood: Stress management, reduces anxiety, fear, and insecurity. (p80)
Fir: corrects negative emotions, emotionally stabilizing, aids concentration, and meditation. (p52)
Spruce: Relieves exhaustion, grounding, calming, reduces mood swings, encourages self-confidence and forgiveness. Relieves anxiety and promotes a sense of security. (p245)
With that list of wonders, is there any doubt why the smells of Christmas are loved?!?
Smells tap into your memory bank. If the smell of cinnamon evokes being in your grandmother's kitchen and you have fond memories of being there, that's a good one for you to use. Conversely, if cinnamon takes you to grandmother's kitchen and it was fraught with tension and anger, it won't be a good one for you as it'll bring that memory back too. And, who wants to be tense and angry at Christmas!!
Essential oils without pesticides and insecticides are preferable to prevent contaminating the air; look for organic essential oils to be sure. (These are the ones I use if you don’t have a favorite brand.) A few drops of essential oil (try using 2-3 different oils) placed on cotton balls that are in a dish to protect surfaces is called ambient diffusing and considered safe.
Good to know
Keep essential oils out of reach of children and away from pets. Store in a dark, cool place. Do not apply essential oils to your body without direction from a certified clinical aromatherapist (CCA). Find one on the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy site. Type in your location, and you'll see who in your area has had training and continues the education necessary to be certified.
Essential oils are concentrated plant material and can cause issues if not used prudently. Not all essential oil guide books were written by clinicians who have studied botany, chemistry, safety information, interactions, side effects, safe usage...; many provide incorrect information.
Be a wise consumer. Essential oils can significantly enhance life when used wisely! Embrace your ambient diffusing of Christmas smells and Happy Holidays!
Sharrie Thompson, RN, CCA