Hands up who has bought a sneaky extra candle when shopping for a friend as the festive season approaches? After all, what is Christmas without those familiar seasonal scents of cinnamon, clove and perhaps a little bit of pine thrown in just to mix things up a little?
I know, not just because I’ve done it myself, but because my husband Cam and I used to own a gift shop, so I’ve seen it happen many times in the lead up to the holiday season. It’s OK – your secret is safe here 🙂
It was actually during this time that my interest in aromatherapy and essential oils began to develop, as I started researching product lines to stock in the shop. Cam is a self-confessed ‘aroma-addict’ and he relished making our customers shopping experience an aromatic one. It didn’t take us long to quickly come to the realisation that good scents ain’t cheap, and cheap scents, ain’t good!
Candles are generally divided into two main camps: Paraffin wax or natural wax based. Paraffin is petroleum based and known to contain potentially harmful and carcinogenic chemicals like benzene and toluene, whilst natural wax candles may not be harmful to our health, they can sure hurt our wallets.
The bottom line is, if we desire a good quality and ethically sourced product, one needs to part with a considerable amount of money.
This is fine, and for our family and friends, totally worth it too. However, after 10-20 hours, once that candle has burnt itself out, we need part with another £30+ all over again.
Because the problem is, once you know your home can smell that good, there’s no going back; but there is (in my humble opinion) a better way…
There have been several junctures in my life where my interest in essential oils has reared its beautiful fragrant little head and flirted with my senses, but none more so than my introduction to the ultrasonic diffuser. A somewhat accidental occurrence during a late night clicking session. I had gifted myself a gorgeous little diffuser (oh and a selection of 10 oils, but that’s a whole other story!)
A quick read of the instructions, a little water and a few drops of essential oil later, I was in heaven; a true epiphany of the senses!
The harking of angels indeed heralded in a new time and I’ve come to understand longstanding Winter scents like cinnamon and clove have rightly earned their place not just for their aromatic delights but for their incredible health benefits too. It’s no coincidence that these much-loved aromas are filled to the brim with immunity protecting properties that serve us so well at this time of year.
Here are a couple of blends to try at home:
Traditional Christmas Blend:
3 drops of cinnamon
2 drops of wild orange
2 drops of clove
Cinnamon and has been used therapeutically for thousands of years in the East for a wide range of physical complaints including colds and flu and dried sweet orange peel has been used in traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of coughs and colds for centuries. Clove has antimicrobial and antifungal properties and has been used for infections and digestive issues extensively in herb and folklore tradition, so it’s probably no coincidence that these three scents have become synonymous with our Winter when such ailments are generally prevalent!
Winter Forest Blend:
3 drops of frankincense
3 drops of douglas fir
2 drops of myrrh
Frankincense wasn’t gifted to Baby Jesus without good reason. Known as the King of Oils, Frankincense is often used to maintain and enhance health and support the immune system. It’s pine-like, woody elements complement beautifully with douglas fir (a conifer rich in beta-pinene which also helps support our airways). Add to that Baby Jesus’s other gift- myrrh, and you have a trifecta of respiratory health benefits, as myrrh’s decongesting nature makes it a welcome addition in this blend. It has grounding and calming emotional and energetic qualities as well.
Let’s Finish with some Maths
So, I’m not great at maths, but it didn’t take me long to realise that aside from the health and safety benefits of diffusing over burning candles (you can leave your diffuser running and not have the very real fear of burning your home down) this was also by far a more economical way of creating beautiful scents in our home.
For example, most 15ml bottles of essential oils contain about 250 drops of oil. Of course the cost of the essentials oils vary depending on the oil you’re purchasing and the company you are purchasing it from.
It’s important to remember that to truly benefit from the therapeutic quality of oils, buy only organic or therapeutic grade oil from a reputable and most importantly, ethical supplier.
These are precious gifts from the earth and it’s vital that they are farmed and harvested with good juju by people who are treated and paid fairly.
Back to the maths though…so you would only use on average 7 drops of oil in your diffuser, which would generally run for about 4 hours. Again, this depends on what diffuser you purchase as not all diffusers are created equal. It’s definitely worth investing in a better quality diffuser which will work more efficiently and last longer than opting for something perhaps less well-made. The beauty is that after your initial investment in a diffuser and a couple of quality oils (warning: oil collecting may become addictive!) which probably equates to the purchase of two posh candles, you have unlimited scenting time and as you grow your collection of oils, unlimited scent options too!
So next time you’re considering adding that sneaky extra candle into your shopping basket to make home smell a little more “Christmassy”, remember that for a comparable amount of money, you could set yourself free with a lovely diffuser and a couple of good quality essential oils which will last (and benefit!) you well beyond the festive season.
Love Pen x
Images by @annabelbeeforth