There’s nothing like the fragrance of pumpkin pie or sugar cookies baking in the oven to convey the warmth of the holidays.
But when baking isn’t on the agenda, there are plenty of other ways to evoke the coziness:
• Candles. You can find seasonal scents in stores this time of the year, from evergreen to cinnamon to cranberry to pumpkin. For gift-giving and year-round use, Nancy Farrow of Green Elephant in Wichita likes Lafco candles, which are labeled for specific rooms of the house, from kitchen to library to master bedroom, and come in colorful glass jars ($60 for a 16-ounce candle).
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• Reed or flower diffusers. Sticks, or reeds, submerged in a jar of scented oil diffuse fragrance into the air. The oil can maintain its potency for a good long while, and there’s no need to worry about burning a candle. But the oil can look, well, yellow and dull.
A new alternative is the flower diffuser. Trios at Bradley Fair has Zodax porcelain flower diffusers in floral scents. A white porcelain flower sits in a clear glass bottle of clear oil; there is also a holiday version. Prices range from $52.50 to $62.50.
• Essential oils. You can buy an electronic diffuser that wafts the fragrance of an essential oil into the air, sort of like a humidifier. Or you can get really low-tech and sprinkle the oil on cotton balls that you hide strategically around the house.
• Potpourri. Dried plant material suffused with fragrance can be placed in a basket or other open container to give a mild fragrance to a room. The fragrance subsides over time with exposure to air. Country Bumpkins has a tub of buttery-, holiday-smelling potpourri that you can scoop year-round.
• Cinnamon microwave popcorn. Act II makes a Sweet Cinnamon microwave popcorn that imparts a cinnamon-roll-baking aroma. Just don’t burn it!