Keith Kelsen’s Scent Narrative: Happy Scent Holidays

Happy Scent Holidays! Homecoming for the holidays recalls that sweet smell of home; but what is that for everyone?  The Scent Narrative has often profiled worldwide customs of many people.  I thought about the home I grew up in more so than what my children have experienced.  I started my research with those media standards that older Americans grew up with, Good Housekeeping and Readers Digest.  This week, Readers Digest had “21 Clever Hacks” for making your home smell good, and Marissa Laliberte made practical suggestions like the following eight:

  1. Get oven-fresh smells without baking: Pour a teaspoon or two of ground cinnamon and cloves on a baking sheet. Leave it inside a 200°F oven for half an hour, keeping the door ajar. You’ll fill your home with a lovely spicy scent.
  2. Use dryer sheets: Tape a new dryer sheet behind curtains or under chairs.
  3. Refrigerator fragrance: Dampen a cotton ball with vanilla extract & leave it on a refrigerator shelf.
  4. Make a Happy Sink: Toss leftover orange or lemon peels down the disposal.
  5. Switch On for Scent: Place a couple drops of vanilla on your light bulbs. When you flip the lights on, the heat will diffuse the scent. Your home will smell like freshly baked cookies.
  6. Citrus refreshes: Cut a couple lemons or limes in half, then place them cut-side-up in a dish. Leave the dish near a litter box or in a bathroom to give a fresh scent.
  7. Let your vacuum do double-duty: Soak a cotton ball with your favorite Scent, then drop it into the vacuum cleaner bag.
  8. Make fires smell nicer: Throw a few lemon or orange peels into the flames; the flammable oils in the peels will burn way longer than paper.

Happy Scent Holidays in your home

However, when you think about happy Scent holidays in your home, it’s probably the fresh scent of pine greenery, cookies from the oven, cinnamon and nutmeg. It could be the oil frying in the pan as latkes start to sizzle, and the aroma of the candles burning in the menorah. Maybe its that first glass of eggnog which comes to mind. Perhaps it’s the memory of how Grandma’s house always smelled of roses and fresh linens.  As you begin to go down your memory path, try out certain Scents that you want to use to recreate those memories. Here’s some simple suggestions for room by room Scent.

In your living room: Greet friends & family with comforting Scents

Entertaining family and friends in the living room means choosing a Scent that should be friendly, under-powering and agreeable. This time of year, a woodsy Scent would be a good idea. Try something like a cedar-wood or sandal-wood with a calming hint of lavender or a sensual hint of vanilla. The festivities can be comfortable and youngsters will tend to be calmer.

In your kitchen: Brew up a Scent memory

Most people tend to hang out in the kitchen. It is an anecdotal fact. A simple concoction mixed with water, simmering on your stovetop will do the trick.  Be creative this holiday season; combine the Scents.  My Danish Grandmother always had the kitchen smelling of delicious herbs and spices like Rosemary, Cinnamon and Pumpkin.  I like adding some lavender and even mint.

In your bedroom: Imbibe in romantic rose

The celebrating and the fun of the holidays can be exhausting.  To make the bedroom your sanctuary from the holidays, try the calming romantic Scent of Roses.  Not only is it soothing, it may induce a feeling of well-being (warning, cuddling may occur).  We know that the hypothalamus is critical in Scent recognition.  What we learned from a renown sleep therapist is that the temperature can also effect it:

“Quiet, dark, and cool has always been the rule for good sleep. We now know that 65 degrees Fahrenheit promotes the deepest and longest sleep. You want a body temperature where neurons aren’t firing intensely, and that happens when the hypothalamus, the temperature regulator in the brain, is cool.” – James Maas, PhD, CEO of Sleep for Success

In your home office: Focus with Peppermint

The crush of year-end work, combined with expectations for the holiday festivities can be very distracting and overwhelming.  Focus with the Scent of Peppermint.  As we have pointed out in previous Scent Narratives, Peppermint is proven to focus mental acuity.  Maybe combine it with citrus to help align your thoughts.  Research shows that this Scent can help you focus while feeling less anxious and fatigued.

Happy Scent Holidays are personal and Memory based

Your choice of Scent is very personal and probably focused on early life experiences.  These suggestions are based on a traditional viewpoint and experience.  In America, we know that the Scent of Christmas is a Hybrid of fresh baked cookies and pies with an overlay of woodsy.  A visit to Grandma’s house would flood our noses, associating those smells with the feeling of unconditional love.

Happy Scent Holidays Outside America

Globally, however, Scents of the season can be very different. They could be rich in spices that we don’t often experience from rich curries to robust classics like Frankincense and Mir. There are many scents that are unique in the worldwide “Scentscape”. There is creative research being done.  Kate McLean, is the creator of sensorymaps profiling cities and Scents around the world. Her breakthrough work is a fusion of science and art.  Her work as an artist and designer has been to focus on the actual smells of geography so people can trace their root experiences:

“I focus on human perception of the urban smellscape. While the visual dominates in data representation I believe we should tap into alternative sensory modes for individual and shared interpretation of place.  Smells form part of our knowing, but are elusive, often disappearing before they can be described pinned down. Smell perception is an invisible and currently under-presented dataset with strong connections to emotions and memory. I am part of a small but growing number of innovative practitioners committed to the study and capture of this highly nuanced sensory field.” Kate McLean

Whatever your personal experience, whatever your personal memories, let’s all join in celebrating the end of the year with Joy, Peace, Harmony and Love.  Happy Scent Holidays!