Food for Thought – Festive isn't always about food.

Believe me, I love to cook in Autumn and Winter.  I adore the tastes, the smells, and the warmth of holiday cooking.  I love to gather friends and family around a festive table in celebration.  I especially enjoyed planning and cooking Thanksgiving dinner with my mother.  I could easily stretch the holidays into an excuse to cook and eat from October 1 to January 2, and then grab at New Year’s resolutions with desperation.  What can a creature of tradition like me do to obtain these cozy feelings without obtaining an ass 10x the size I’d like?

PLENTY ! And in the Food for Thought series this week, I shall elaborate.  For today, the subject will be aromas.  We already know that aromas can influence our moods.  For instance, the smell of Lavender is known for having a calming effect.  In day spas and hotels, where relaxation is the order of the day, you will often find lavender candles and lavender scented products.

So, the other day I gathered up my coupons and went on a minor holiday preparation spree.  My first stop was The Yankee Candle Company.  I am a Yankee Candle snob.  I’m hard pressed to find candles that smell as good as a Yankee Candle.  (When determining whether a candle company  merits my hard earned dollars, I follow my mother’s rule… smell the vanilla candle first.)  Last year, I burned a lot of Autumn Wreath scented candles.  This year I stocked up on…

  • Vanilla Pumpkin… burning right now and smells divine.
  • Be Thankful… has all the fine scents of a productive holiday kitchen and is next to be sacrificed at the altar.
  • Holiday Wreath… stashed for December and reminds me of a blue fir tree.
  • Jack Frost… also stashed for December / January and smells like a candy cane.
Food for thought.... or not!

Food for thought.... or not!

I have learned to appreciate the smell of food as much as the taste, as that was the only way to defeat Aunt Annie’s Pretzels on my way home from work every day.  (Dammit if those pretzel franchises don’t come equipped by default with a giant fan to waft the pretzel aroma the entire length of the train station.)  If you are easily tempted to eat by the smell of food, there are plenty of non-food scented candles to be had that smell equally as wonderful.  Being a member of their mailing list, I had a coupon which knocked down the cost substantially.  I also had the opportunity to purchase an additional large Macintosh Apple scented candle for just $5, which I gladly took them up on with the intention of giving it as a gift.  Guess I can’t really do that now, can I?  :)   Oh well.  I’m forced to burn it.  If you don’t want to sign up to the Yankee Candle mailing list, you can also buy them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond using their seemingly ever present coupons.

Now that we’ve covered candles, let’s move on to body scents.  If I had to choose, I’d give up everything to retain my scented soaps and creams when it comes to my beauty regimen (after eyeliner!)  I usually prefer Victoria’s Secret when it comes to these… Lord knows none of the clothes in there fit me right.  (I have concerns about any undergarment referred to as a “balconette” !!)  However, to slather myself with the traditional smells of the holiday season, I turn to Bath & Body Works.  Being a little short on cash, I opted to purchase disinfecting moisturizing hand soaps this time.  On sale, they didn’t cost much more than what I normally buy in Walmart…  and anyone who washes their hands in my house can now smell lovely and be moisturized & germ free.  (No, I don’t get paid to say that.  Wish I did!)   I picked Frosted Orange Spice for Autumn, and Vanilla Bean Noel and Festive Vanilla Fig for Winter.  (Are you sensing a theme here?  If only there were chocolate candles that actually smelled like chocolate..)

Finally, since money is tight these days and the holidays aren’t necessarily about spending money either, let’s talk about stuff you can do for free.  You can cut pieces from a pine tree and fashion your own homemade wreath or potpourri.  You can make a dainty little sachet with material from an old blouse, thread, cotton and the spices and oils in your cupboards.  You can make a fire in the fireplace.  You can put vanilla extract and water into a pan on the stove and let it simmer.  You can add spices to coffee or water or to just about anything you already drink every day.  Drop some cinnamon and orange rind into the coffee beans before you grind them.  (I have a whole post planned pertaining to wise warm winter beverages.  Stay tuned this week!)

In a nutshell… your home is truly your castle.  Whether you live alone or with a crew, you can go crazy and make whatever fantasy out of it that you wish… however you wish.  These things that smell so attractive also make the house look festive.   Not to mention, while you’re shopping or crafting… you’re not eating. 😉


  1. I do so agree! For me, The Holiday Season is all about spending time with loved ones. And the smell . . . I love the smell that wafts in from the stores, the tingle that one gets out of seeing all those Christmas tree lighted up and houses all decorated, and such. And the food . . . nothing like getting together with family and friends.

  2. I am a Yankee Candle snob, too. Love Jack Frost. I have a car jar of that that I’ve kept with me all year long.

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