Life and Religion
|Holiday scents boost spirits, capture moments|
|Use all your senses to make the holidays more enjoyable|
|Published Thursday, December 12, 2013|
|The scent of homemade cookies or woodsy allure of a fresh-cut tree is enough to boost spirits with favorable memories of the holiday season.|
The holiday season gives people the chance to take a break from their typically hectic lives to catch up with family and friends. Beyond the festive decorations, music and food that make this time of year so special, it's important to take a moment to enjoy the scents and the great feelings, memories and motivations that they inspire - especially while entertaining. Whether it's the smell of mom's homemade cookies or the woodsy allure of a fresh-cut tree, these smells have a remarkable way of boosting spirits.
Rachel Herz Ph.D., author of "The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell,” has been researching the intersection of smell, emotion, perception, motivated behavior and cognition since 1990.
"Scent is one of our most powerful senses,” she said “It brings more meaningful moments to our lives every day by allowing us to feel more, more often. This is especially relevant during the holidays - a time of year rich with fragrance, emotion and memories."
This winter, capture the moments and special memories of the holiday season by creating a warm environment for family and friends. Here are some tips to incorporate into your holiday entertaining preparations that will make your home perfect for an inviting gathering:
Evoke the senses through scent
From the sweet fragrance of rich vanilla or the blend of winter berries and greenery, walking into a room with a seasonal scent instantly sets the mood, whether it's comfort and relaxation from warm vanilla or invigoration from wintry greens. A lit candle on a side table is always a lovely touch to your holiday décor.
Turn up memorable melodies
Like scent, music has a way of evoking feelings and memories. When looking for a playlist, choose music that speaks to childhood holidays. Or, delight older relatives with holiday classics they'll enjoy. If you have musicians in the mix, encourage them to bring their instrument and favorite holiday songbooks.
Adding a cheery look to your home can be done without a trip to the craft or home decorating store. Simply fill large glass vases, metallic serving bowls or lanterns with brightly colored glass ornaments for gorgeous centerpieces that will illuminate the room. Add a sentimental touch by using decorations that have been passed down through generations.
Let it glow
Having the right amount of light is a must for any gathering. Be sure to have a room that is properly lit for guests to enjoy activities, while maintaining an inviting atmosphere. Everyone will love cozying up to a burning fireplace. If you don't have a fireplace, place candles around your space for an intimate feel.
Serve treats that please the senses
Give guests a trip back in time to grandma's kitchen and bake up special treats that evoke the sense of nostalgia. Time your baking so the goodies are done right before the guests arrive to thoroughly enjoy lingering baking smells. Freshly baked gingerbread cookies, cinnamon apple cake or pumpkin pie are always sure to please.
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