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Whether it’s lavender, coconut, or grilling meat, scents undeniably have some effect on your mood, emotions, and memory. I once had a friend who enjoyed the smell of farts because it reminded him of growing up with his cousin. No joke. It likely wasn’t the smell of hot trash that comforted him, though (I shudder to think it might be); rather, a smell or odor triggers an emotional response before you actually identify what that scent is. That’s because your olfactory receptors stimulate your limbic system, which regulates emotion, before reaching your cortex, the part of the brain where cognitive thinking occurs. Use this to your advantage while you’re preparing your home for the annual holiday party, and consider the following scents commonly associated with the holiday to create the ideal space and mood for you and your guests!
Peppermint: This crisp smell, very distinctly winter, can actually be invigorating and therapeutic. The high menthol content numbs your sinuses just enough to be relaxing and refreshing—perfect for your bedroom after a long night of party hosting.
Cinnamon/ Clove: While both have distinct smells, cinnamon and clove establish the same type of mood: warm and inviting. Both fragrances also relax and appropriately welcome guests into your home, so you might consider placing some close to your front door or entrance.
Vanilla: Perfect for a bedroom, this sweet scent, reminiscent of treats and candy, can create a calming atmosphere because of its stress-reducing effects. Repeated studies testing with vanillin continue to have similar results, where patients report the scent as “pleasant” and subsequently experience a more positive mood.
Pine: The quintessential holiday scent, pine is both uplifting and festive. Plus, it has that added “freshly cleaned” smell, ideal for a living room or wherever your guests might spend the most time (especially if you didn’t do a thorough cleaning).
Candles, flameless candles, diffusers, and plug-ins offer an affordable variety of effortless mood-setters, or you can opt for a more DIY-friendly option with drops of scented oil on a cotton ball strategically placed in a room. So after the decorating and cooking, try adding that small but potent accessory of winter scents to influence just the right mood for everyone (or to cover up potential farts from your own family members)!