With holiday recipes flying, the lights slinging around the tree, and the gifts dropped in gift bags, last year I started a new tradition just for me. Amazingly enough, what started out as a whim, turned into this year’s go-to magic to put me in the holiday mood faster than the star I velcroed to the tree.
This season was as stressful as any – my son, Jordan’s 18th birthday the day before Thanksgiving, then there’s Thanksgiving, then the holiday preparations.
And then there’s always one morning where I get up and there it is: the tired and crabby phase of the holidays.
Last year when this happened, I made a simmer. It’s an on-the-stove potpourri that infuses the entire house with quick joy. You can’t drink it, but you wouldn’t want to – it’s so festive it’s like a decoration for the stove!
The science: Smells are the fastest way past the conscious part of the brain (think stress, overthinking). An odor passes one part of brain and effortlessly without words or images, engages a part of the brain that holds memories, and has the power to help us relax and feel a ton of other emotions. Our olfactory (smell) is the fastest way to access emotions. A ton of my tribe sell aromatherapy and essential oils, so I’m not going to pretend I know more than I do – but the power of smell to calm, help remember, and heal is profound.
But the simmer actually involves several senses – it’s beautiful to watch, the simmer sounds like a warm hug brewing, and of course, it smells like a new family tradition.
The holiday recipe for the simmer I use below will have options- in case cinnamon invokes a poor memory – you can choose other ingredients.
You know what else? This holiday recipe, unlike some, is EASY, FAST, INEXPENSIVE AND FUN.
And you probably have the ingredients handy!!
Vikki’s Magical Holiday Simmer
6-8 cups Apple Juice (most inexpensive you can find)
1-3 Anise stars (it gives it a licorice smell which I LOVE but it’s not essential)
3 sticks of cinnamon
Colorful berries from outdoors or flower arrangements
Put them in a pot until it boils. Then reduce heat until it simmers. Add water as it evaporates. Don’t forget it’s on the stove and check it every hour. ENJOY!!!!
You can get about 3 simmers out of this!!! Once you’re done, let it cool, add water, and cover it with a lid or wrap for the night. Use it again the next day!
Other Variations to Play Around With:
— Orange juice (it gets a little pricey)
— 1 tablespoon whole cloves
— lime slices
— grapefruit slices — 1 Tablespoon allspice or apple pie spice
–1 Tablespoon of nutmeg
Last year amidst my crabbiness and finding a remedy, I realized what I really needed a new tradition with no past memories.
The recipe above held no memories for me and reminded me of nothing in the past.
This year, it held beautiful memories of last year’s love, snow, and warmth. Pass this along to someone who might need a fast easy way to find peace this holiday season!
Author of Momifesto: 9 Practices for Phenomenal Moms.
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