Apartments can smell great! While it might still be warm, just seeing “September” at the top of the calendar can bring a huge wave of nostalgia. For some, it’s the remembrance of back-to-school shopping, the feel of new shoes and slightly stiff new clothes while waiting for the bus on a cool morning; and knowing that the Holidays were just around the corner, and that they’d be filled with wonderful smells and sights and celebration.
Bringing beautiful, nostalgic holiday scents into your apartment can magically make it feel more special and celebratory; and it’s easier than you think! While most of us head straight for the candle aisle at our favorite store, not every apartment community welcomes the use of candles. Happily, there’s an even better way to make your home smell naturally yummy! Start by heading to the spice aisle, instead!
Simmering spices for their scents is a wonderful tradition that can become part of your family’s Holiday Season Routine. All you need are a few great smelling, natural ingredients (some of which you might already have in your spice cabinet or refrigerator), and a pot (a regular, cooking variety one, or a full-sized or mini crock pot) filled with simmering water. THIS IS IMPORTANT: just like an untended candle, an untended simmering pot can be a heat hazard; so be sure to watch your pot, adding water as necessary, to make sure it doesn’t boil down. The smell of burnt spices is not a pleasant Holiday aroma!
Feel free to experiment with ingredients and amounts to discover your own, unique favorite combination; but here are a few recipes to get you started! All recipes start with a pot of simmering water.
The Signature “Williams Sonoma” Scent: Add one sliced lemon; three sprigs of fresh rosemary; and about a teaspoon of vanilla.
Christmas in a Pot: Add two slices of fresh lemon; two slices of fresh orange; two cinnamon sticks; one teaspoon of whole cloves; one teaspoon of allspice berries; one sprig of fresh rosemary; and a few fresh cranberries.
Spicy Orange: Add the peel torn from one large orange; one cinnamon stick; and several thin slices of fresh ginger.
Apple Jack: Replace half the water with apple juice and add two cinnamon sticks; and a teaspoon of whole cloves.
Creamsicle: Add the peel from one orange and two cinnamon sticks.
Bay Spice: Add five bay leaves; one tablespoon whole cloves; and two sticks of cinnamon.
Holiday in Provence: Add one cup dried lavender; one tsp anise; one tablespoon nutmeg; one tablespoon whole cloves; and one cinnamon stick.
Winter Breeze: Add three sprigs of fresh rosemary; one cup dried lavender; ½ cup dried eucalyptus leaves; ½ cup dried peppermint or spearmint (or a couple of drops of mint essential oil); and ½ cup dried bay leaves.
Walk in the Woods: Add one sliced apple; two clean pine-cones; two sticks cinnamon; and two star anise.
Night Café: Add ¼ cup whole roasted coffee beans and a few drops of almond or vanilla extract.
Easy as Pie: Add one sliced apple, two cinnamon sticks and a few thin slices of fresh ginger.
Now, get your spices simmering, snuggle up on your couch with a warm blanket and enjoy!