What smells bring Christmas to your mind?? Gingerbread? Hot apple cider? Candy canes? Turkey roasting? Mandarin oranges?
My favorite is an obvious one: the smell of real evergreen Christmas trees!! This year we have a real tree and I’m just loving the scent of it!! I can put up with all the shedding for that wonderful spicy smell that transports me back to Christmases past!
Other smells that remind me of Christmas in my childhood are ones found in Guatemala: the smell of aserrín=sawdust! (dyed many different colors and used for making nativity scenes), the smell of manzanilla (little yellow fruit that is strung into garlands for decoration), the smell of crushed pino (clusters of long-needled pine that are scattered on the floor at parties), the smell of ponche simmering on the stove (a cooked fruit punch full of fabulous fruitiness), the smell of tamales in their green leaves (this now reminds me of Christmas, but I wouldn’t touch them when I was a kid!) and one of my favorites: the smell of gunpowder from cohetes!!-fuegos artificiales-! (we always lit off fireworks at Christmas and New Years! And even today the smell of gunpowder immediately makes me think of Christmas and celebrations and fun!!)
I was thinking about the smells of Christmas and wondering what scents will remind my kids of the Christmases we have spent together…..baking shortbread? gingerbread cookies? pine tree?
And so I decided that we should make a few “smelly” crafts this year, just to make sure that when my kids are all grown up, they will be transported back to family Christmases every time they smell…….cloved oranges!! And cinnamon apple decorations!!
I remember working on cloving oranges when I was a kid and my mom would supervise us as we stabbed the hard oranges with cloves…or large needles before we could get the clove in! This year I found a helpful idea on pinterest, so just had to try it with my kids. The secret: make grooves in your oranges first!! The photo I saw said something about paring the oranges, and I tried it with the end of my peeler, but that didn’t work, so I just used a knife to cut a “v” groove down the side of the orange…then let the kids at them with the cloves!! Ahhh what a lovely smell!!
Another oderiferous craft that I thought we should try was cinnamon and applesauce oranments. Yes, that’s all they are, cinnamon (lots of it) and applesauce. I used the recipe found here. It turned out to be a very crazy craft!!! I guess we must have done something a bit wrong, because the “dough” was too soft…needless to say, there were a whole bunch of “potty jokes” flying around the table as we worked with that soft brown dough…..(shudder shudder!)We put a tablespoon too much of applesauce, then kept adding cinnamon to try and make it firm up….the dough was so damp that it was super hard for the kids to make shapes out of it or cut it with cookie cutters.. It was so funny to work on these!!! But it was a little strong and my son’s hands started to turn a bit red and itchy! 🙂In the end, I scooped up all the mushy ornaments and pressed it bit by bit into a small heart shaped cookie cutter and then used a drinking straw to make a hole in each heart…..no one seemed to mind that I did that…..and when the ornaments were slowly baking it made the house smell fabulous!! Everyone enjoyed that part!!P.S. the recipe says that the ornaments are not for eating, but my oldest daughter thought they tasted great and kept nibbling at the dough and consumed several baked ornaments!! Craziness! There’s like a half a cup of cinnamon in there!
So it was a messy crazy craft, but I think I would do it again, for the laughs and the great aromas that it brought!! And they look so cute on our little white tree and still smell so nice…. Fun Christmas crafts, and did you notice that we didn’t have to buy anything “special” to make them (I happened to have a new large container of cinnamon on hand!!)?? It gives a nice homey, handmade feel to our decorations…..and the smells!! For sure those smells have become part of our Christmas memories! 😉