By Anjanette, Contributing Writer
The holidays engage all of our senses, don’t they? I bet you could readily tell me about holiday tastes and smells that induce nostalgia for the best years you’ve had and long to experience again. I feel warm and cozy just thinking about how wonderful pumpkin pie smells – especially with a warm buttery crust and a bit of ice cream.
Unfortunately, holiday memories often induce just as much stress as nostalgia. And even if you aren’t looking toward this season with dread, you are probably feeling the pressure of time and anticipating how busy you will be for the next couple of months.
Even if you can’t slow down the clock, you can carve out a little bit of self-care for you and your family. You can use aromatherapy to fill your home with fragrances that will boost your mood while adding to the holiday ambiance. And you can do it without expensive tools and without increasing the toxic burden of synthetic chemicals in your breathing air.
My family uses a reed diffuser on our homeschool table to aid concentration, in our children’s room to help them sleep, and now in our living room to help banish holiday stress. We’ve made multiple reed diffusers for a fraction of the cost we would spend on an electric one, and since we can’t have an open flame in our condo, this is the primary way we freshen our air.
You can use any container you’d like to make your reed diffuser, but be careful that it is solid enough that stronger oils won’t eat through it – glass and ceramic make good choices. A small neck/opening is also helpful so that the oils will take longer to evaporate.
Heavier carrier oils may make it harder for the essential oils to travel up the reeds. I’ve seen fractionated (liquid at room temp) coconut oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil recommended. This last time I made a diffuser I only had castor oil on hand (leftover from oil cleansing), and while it is a bit thick, it still worked!!
The higher the essential oil to carrier oil ratio, the stronger the scent. You’ll want to take into account the size of the room you are placing the diffuser in, and fill your container up to 3/4 way full with up to 80% carrier oil and 20% essential oils. As you can see from my photos in this post I don’t fill mine up that much at a time – mostly because I have 5, 3, and 1 year olds and the likelihood of it getting knocked over is pretty high. Frugality is part of the point here. 🙂
Step 1: Place about 10 reeds in your diffuser and wait a few minutes, then flip the reeds over to begin releasing the scent. You can also increase the potency by increasing the number of rattan reeds (I have heard that you can use bamboo skewers or twigs from your yard instead, but I have also heard that they don’t have the same “channels” in them for the oils to travel up).
Step 2: Turn the reeds every few days to renew the fragrance, and dispose of the reeds when they stop smelling or when you change oil blends. Reeds are very affordable and usually come in large bundles. Don’t pay more than you need to!
Best Essential Oils for Holiday Help
The world of essential oils is relatively new to me, but I have already seen wonderful benefits to my family while using them. Some of my favorite for general use are lavender (calming), rose (added to my oil cleansing blend for aging skin), and peppermint (for headaches and congestion).
Interestingly, some of the best oils for lifting your mood during the Winter are also smells we regularly associate with this time of year! For a great holiday atmosphere, try cinnamon, clove, and/or orange essential oils. All three also promote peace and calm. Appropriately, Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils are also both uplifting and restorative.
I am no essential oil expert, but thankfully I know someone who is! I asked my friend Lea, a certified aromatherapist who runs LearningAboutEOs.com, whether or not she thought that diffusing with reeds could effectively disperse enough of an oil into the air to boost immunity or kill germs during Winter.
Lea’s take was that while it is difficult to say how much of the essential oils would be absorbed by the reeds before reaching the air, it certainly can’t hurt. However, she recommends a diffuser that uses water/mist to propel the oils into the air and disperse them more evenly (like this one*), or an essential oil inhaler.
If you make your own essential oil reed diffuser, I want to see photos! Which scent will you fill your home with first?
* This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for supporting me with your purchases.