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When I was a kid, I remember that Christmas had a distinctive smell to it.

It was sweet and spicy and our house never smelled like that, except at the Holidays. In my kid mind, I assumed it was the smell of my Mother cooking and the tree and holiday things. As I grew up, I realized that my Mother was terrible in the kitchen and that our Christmas cookies came from the bakery. I realized that our tree came from a box under the stairs and it smelled more like cheap plastic than anything else and I realized that my favourite Christmas smells came in a can.

WOMP WOMP. What a disappointment.

I’m not knocking the folks who have managed to get the essence of the holiday into a spray, but that stuff is kind of gross. It’s full of dangerous chemicals, like phthalates. Being exposed to air “freshener” chemicals as little as once a week can increase your odds of developing asthma symptoms as much as 71 percent and can contribute to an increased risk of a number of pulmonary diseases.  Oil-based scents aren’t much better. They say right on the labels that using them can leaded to “irritation to nose, throat and (the) respiratory tract”. Powdered “deodorizers” aren’t meant to be inhaled, since “excessive inhalation can cause headache, drowsiness, nausea and lack of coordination.”

This stuff is bad for us to inhale and it’s bad for our pets too. Still, I wasn’t quite ready to let go of that holiday smell.

Luckily, it’s super easy to add scents to your home that are easy and pet safe.

It all starts in the kitchen. Food smells are kind of my favourite smells. This way also happens to be the fastest and easiest way to spread a lot of scent quickly.

It’s easy: combine your scent mixture in a pot (more on that later), cover with water (or juice) and bring it to a boil. Simmer gently, adding more water as needed to ensure the pot doesn’t boil dry. (Trust me, you’ll be sorry if it does.)

Want to scent a room that isn’t near the kitchen, like a basement or a bedroom? Get thee one of those adorably tiny little crock pots (Check out this one <–affiliate link). You can bring everything to a boil in the kitchen, transfer it to a crock pot and plug it in where ever you like. The scent isn’t quite as strong as the boiling method, but not many people have a stove in their bedroom, amiright?

Here are my favourite scents:

  • Apple Cinnamon: A box of apple juice, a couple cinnamon sticks and a splash of lemon juice
  • Orange Spice: 4 – 5 oranges (or a box of orange juice), a couple cinnamon sticks, and a hearty dash of ground clove. If you keep it in the house, star anise makes a nice addition.
  • Vanilla Cardamom : A vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract) plus a dash of cardamom
  • Williams Sonoma Knock Off: 1 lemon, a vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract) plus 2 sprig of fresh rosemary.
  • Gingerbread Spice: Sliced fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, plus a dash of, nutmeg,  allspice and cloves, along with 2 tbsp. dark molasses. (You can use all powdered spices, if you like, but I find the fresh ginger makes it smell extra spicy and delicious). Make sure you watch the water level!
  • Woodsy: Sprigs of pine or cedar, with the needles, a couple bay leaves & nutmeg.
  • Floral: If you love the scent of your favourite flower, you can boil the leaves. (I find this a little heady, but a friend loves it).

These DIY Room Scents can make your home smell great and they’re totally safe for pets.

What’s your favourite smell? Have you ever tried making a homemade scent out of it?

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