Monday, 21 September 2015

#SMPXmasCountdown: Day 5 - Make your house smell like Christmas - the frugal way

Apart from the colours and the mood, one of my favourite things about Christmas is the smells. My Nan always made a big fuss during Christmas. Her house was busting at the seams with all 15 grandchildren, her 5 children and their spouses, piling in to spend the day with her. Her house smelt of cinnamon, mince pies, roast turkey with all the trimmings. The day holds such fond memories that even now, years after she has left us, we all feel like Christmas is not Christmas without those things. It brought her so much joy to see us all together and even now we are older and spend Christmas with our own families, we all very much make the effort to keep those memories alive. 

My Nan never needed to buy any sort of plug ins or air freshener to give the smell of Christmas. In order to help others save money, i'm sharing my top 5 frugal tips to a Christmas smelling home. 


1. Rosemary Wreaths 


My Nan loved to make wreaths and garlands. She lived near some woods where chestnuts and pine cones were plentiful. She used to add a few sprigs of rosemary to her wreaths which produced a gorgeous smell when you walked into the porch. 

Remember to rub the rosemary in your hands abit to release the oils and prolong the smell. 

2. Stove top pot pourri

This is so ridiculously easy and could be stored in a jar and reheated once the smell has worn off. I tend to make a couple of bathes over Christmas, with each jar lasting around 2-3 days. You could make any variety of scents, go with what Christmas smells appeal to you. My favorite is the traditional, orange, cinnamon and cranberry

Recipe: 

1 orange (sliced)
2-3 cinnamon sticks (broken in half) - adjust to suit your taste, i like it quite strong. 
Handful of fresh cranberries 
1-2 tsp nutmeg
1-2 tsb cloves 

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and fill to about 3 1/4's of the way (can fill abit more if you would like i just like a strong smell) 

Leave to simmer on low for as long as you would like. Top up the water if running low, or once done, store in jars. This also does well when dried up, just drain the liquid, put into gift bags and gift to a friend with instructions attached. Dried up, it will last a couple of days. 

To keep this frugal, as just running the hob would cost money. I boil this when cooking anyways but i also buy cranberries and freeze them in advance as cranberries go up in price around Christmas. Ill also keep a look out for reduced oranges that i can cut up and use. I use the rest of the cranberries to make cranberry jelly for Christmas dinner and the rest of the oranges to make garlands (see tip 3)

3. Fruit and pine garlands

As i mentioned, my Nan liked to make her own wreaths and garlands. She hated real Christmas trees but adored the smell of them. Each year she would visit a shop that sold real pine trees and ask for a few of the cuttings. She wouldn't do this till nearer the day as the smell wore off quick. Most of the time she was given a carrier bag sized bundle for free, which she would take home and add fruit to, to make a small garland for the tv unit. 

I do the same thing too, The shops throw this away so it is always worth asking. We usually go to the market and some years they have a few real trees on one of the stalls. If we can not get any tree clippings we head to a local woods and take some of branches that have fallen off from there. 

Remember those reduced oranges i use to make pot pourri? I slice a couple and dry them in the oven, I do the same with lemons, add abit of thyme or rosemary, some pine cones and the rest of the cinnamon sticks, then join them together like my Nan did many years ago. 

If you dont fancy making garlands. Use the dried fruit, cinnamon sticks, pine cones and other items, into a bowl and use as dried pot pourri. 

4. Spray your Christmas tree

Most people have an artificial tree. If you mix a few drops of pine oil with some water and put into a squirty bottle, you can simply give your tree a quick spritz for a burst of pine scent. (i buy a small bottle on eBay for around £3 every couple of years)

5. Orange and clove scent balls. 

My Nan called them scent balls, i'm not sure why but they do pack off a strong smell. If you have some oranges to use up, simply stuff some cloves into the rind and wrap some ribbon round it, tie together with a bow and hang from a shelf or a door. My Nan used to hang one outside the bathroom :) 

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