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October 24, 2017 3 min read

Who else aside from me absolutely loves walking into a house filled with the aromas of mulled cider, or baked goods? The aromas of warmed candied oranges, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla are a type of “Welcome on in!” music to my nose! So, let's chat about hosting aromatic holiday festivities.

Before you start running for your favorite festive essential oils, though, I want to make sure we cover a few things first to make your holiday celebration a memorable and fun one.

Holiday parties and essential oils

Essential Oils Can Have a Negative Effect on Some Individuals

While that average healthy adult with no medical issues or requirements for medication might thoroughly enjoy a beautiful holiday blend of essential oils, not every will.

There are some individuals that have a heightened sensitivity to essential oils because of their potency.

I have one client that only requires four drops of any essential oil or blend in her aromastick because she is so sensitive to them! When we first started working together we started at 9 drops and found she would get a headache and need to cease use. It took a few more visits to finally find her magic number. Imagine what her reaction would be using a diffuser to make her home smell festive with essential oils!

There are individuals that may be allergic to inhalation of specific essential oils or have reactions due to previous sensitizations or autoimmune disorders.

Sensitization is a “type of allergic reaction to a substance when it comes into contact with skin.1” For someone who has had this type of reaction, even diffusion can cause an uneasy feeling for them…making them feel somewhat unwelcome. Additionally, depending on the location of the diffuser, it is possible to have a minute or residual amount on furniture that those guests may sit on or near. You can learn more about diffusion in an article by Tony Burfield & Sylla Sheppard-Hanger called “Sensitization Revisited Again.2

I actually know someone that has a severe anaphylactic reaction to the smell of anything with cinnamon. Her reaction if I remember correctly is related to her immunodeficiency. Visiting certain restaurants or even shopping during the season of “cinnamon everything” can be a nightmare for her. Even though most of us have no issue with the inhalation of it, some have the rare reaction to inhalation such as hers.

Some individuals may be taking medication that will interact adversely with some essential oils or have a medical condition that may cause an adverse reaction when essential oils are administered.

An example of this might be someone who is on blood thinners or has some type of blood clotting issue. Cinnamon is one that can create an adverse reaction. While low diffusion is acceptable if there is a need, when there isn’t a need, it is best avoided because even passive diffusing is the same as dosing.

Holiday Parties and essential oils

If the Need Doesn’t Require Dosing, Find an Alternative

So what can we do that will bring in those warm and fuzzies and still be amazing? There are several options to getting those wonderful aromas all over our homes!

A simple one is baking – which many of us do already. The amazing pumpkin pies, apple pies, pecan pies… They all produce an amazing and fragrant aroma that isn’t just mouthwatering, but welcoming, too! Even warming a premade pie in your stove can produce some amazing aromas in the home.

Another great alternative is putting some holiday spices and dried fruit in a pot with some water. Boiling those also produce a fantastic aroma. I can just smell it all now!

A final thought on using essential oils for your holiday festivities. Your guests are there to see and interact with you. When I have friends over, I will admit as a type A personality, I want everything to be perfect and pristine. However, I have learned that my family and friends are just happy to be around me. So if my German Shepherd or my kids are not smelling like apple or pumpkin pie, it is OK.

 Sources:

1 http://aromatherapyunited.org/sensitization/

2 http://www.atlanticinstitute.com/sensitization-revisited-again/