The Holidays Are Here: Expectations vs. Reality

Picture it: a perfect Christmas season. Lights aglow, laughter filling the air and the beautiful aroma of classic scents of Christmas filling your home. When the holidays first kick off, we all dream up this unreal expectation for the season. But let’s face it, the “perfect Christmas” dream just isn’t reality.

What’s more likely? The lights will be a tangled mess when you take them out of their 9-month storage slumber, the kids will inevitably argue and one (or more) of your holiday dishes will just not turn out quite right.

We’re here to tell you that reality is A-OK in our book! We’re all only human, and it’s no use stressing ourselves out over an un-realistic Pinterest-worthy Christmas. At ScentSicles, we believe the secret to having a truly fa-la-la-ahh holiday is accepting (and embracing) the reality of the situation! For example…

Expectation: DIY Décor vs.
Reality: DIY Disasters

Is it just us, or is the pressure to partake in DIY culture even higher during the holiday season? All that time and effort for a dish or decoration that will never meet the expectation of the original anyway (face it, we’re not all Picasso’s). There are a lucky few who are gifted with the crafting bug, but if this isn’t you, we’re here to tell you there’s zero shame in store-bought everything. Whether handmade or handpicked, the reality is that any holiday décor is sure to bring brightness to your Christmas!

Expectation: Wrapped With A Bow
Reality: Why Wrap It When You Can Bag It?

Neatly wrapped gifts sitting pretty under the tree are a hallmark of any storybook Christmas setting. But the work each perfectly pressed corner and carefully tied bow takes to get there can stress even the most zen among us. Our version of reality? Forgo the scissors, tape, paper cuts and weird folds in favor of easy, breezy gift bags. Bonus: you can reuse the bags next year. Two birds, meet one stone (and a judgement free zone).

Expectation: Chopping Down That Tree
Reality: Faux is So The Way To Go

Be honest: can you tell if this tree real or artificial? Nope? Us either. Real trees are a pretty dream, but we’re all about the faux fir if it means we get to skip lugging it into the house, crawling underneath to water it daily and having to constantly vacuum the fir needles off the floor. Artificial trees make for a no-mess, less stress holiday and can be reused year after year. Plus they are customizable to your holiday décor and aesthetic! Added bonus: with ScentSicles you can always get that fresh-cut Christmas tree smell with none of the headache. Now that’s a reality we want to live in.

Think Outside the Gift Box
With These Affordable Gift Ideas

Naughty or nice? It's more than likely you have a lot of people on your gift list this holiday season. You want to get them something special, but you also want to stay on budget. Whether you're shopping for neighbors, teachers, Secret Santas or the mailman, here are some awesome gift ideas with price tags that won't break the bank.

Mani in a mason jar:
Beautiful nails are always in style. For the lovely ladies in your life, use a large mason jar as your gift holder and fill it with all the supplies for an at-home manicure. Things like nail polish, files, hand lotion, nail clippers and cuticle oil make this a gift that can be used over and over again.

Magical movie night:
The perfect family or couple gift is a movie night basket to inspire a cozy evening in. Start with a popcorn bowl and fill it with everything needed for a great cinema experience at home. In addition to a DVD of a favorite movie, add in theater candy, microwave popcorn and maybe even a new blanket for snuggling.

The scents of Christmas:
Your sense of smell is most closely linked to memory. So, summon all your favorite holiday moments and share them with a loved one by choosing scented ornaments, fragranced paper, or sprigs for your wreath or garland.

Tea with a twist:
Baby, it's cold outside. There’s nothing better than tea to get rid of chills even when temperatures plummet. Make this gift great by adding a few extras to make it stand out. For example, a cute little bear filled with local honey is the perfect pairing to some antioxidant-rich green tea. Add in some butter cookies and you're set!

Vintage candy:
Candy is a popular holiday gift, but what about creating your own sweet treat basket by including a variety of old-fashioned candies? Think French burnt peanuts, Black Jack chewing gum, Mallo Cups and caramel Cow Tales. This thoughtful throwback to yesteryear will bring generations together as everyone can sample different flavors.

New And Noteworthy Christmas Trends

Every Christmas is memorable, so how can you transform your holiday and shake up the season this year? From refining decor with personalized elegance to finding meaningful ways to gift and give back, the top trends for the year are guaranteed to make your holidays merry and bright.

Delightful decor:
This year, people are thinking beyond bright red and green and using holiday decor with creative color schemes and beautiful aesthetics. For example, Bohemian Christmas designs use elements like feathers, dream catchers and natural wood. Additionally, global elements with Middle Eastern influences add zest to holiday designs. Think mirrored elephants or star-shaped paper lanterns. As for color schemes, anything goes! Deep greens are replacing traditional vivid grass green, and can be accented by burnt orange and purple.

Scents of the season:
Go beyond the visual to capture everything that makes the season memorable, including all the aromas of Christmastime. By enhancing your artificial tree with ScentSicles ornaments, the smell of Douglas fir will fragrance your tree and conjure childhood memories of opening gifts on Christmas morning. Or, spice up your holiday by having your wreath don cinnamon-scented ornaments that very well might smell just like Grandma's spice cookies. Whatever scent you choose, the smells of Christmas make celebrating the holidays special by reminding us of times gone by and setting the stage for future memories of precious times spent with loved ones.

Experiential gifts:
What do you get for the person who has everything? How about the kids who already get so many presents? Rather than a typical packaged present that is opened and often quickly forgotten, an experiential gift is something the person can do and remember forever. For example, concert tickets, a membership to the museum, or even a movie basket with candy, popcorn and a gift certificate to the local theater are all great gifts for your loved one to experience.

Homespun holiday:
In a nod to yesteryear, the trend toward a homemade holiday is strong this year. Handmade ornaments, for example, have a unique look with a vintage feeling. Plan an ornament-making party with friends and you'll be making memories along with beautiful decor! Homemade gifts are making a comeback, too. Complementing the trend of limiting the commercial feel of the holidays, homemade gifts allow you to give the perfect personalized creation. When your time and energy goes into making something special, you know it will be deeply appreciated. Whether it’s a hand-knitted scarf, a personalized photo frame or cool textile placemats, a handmade gift is a great way to show someone how much you care.

Giving back:
Christmas can feel commercialized at times, but at the heart of the holiday season is the power of giving. Yes, gifting to loved ones helps make us feel good, but there is an even bigger trend of giving back that truly embraces the essence of Christmas. Families are making time for group volunteer opportunities. Work colleagues are uniting for food and clothing drives. Individuals are buying a few extra toys or household supplies for nonprofits in the area. Doing good deeds is getting renewed attention and is a worthwhile trend we hope continues for years to come.

How To Use Scent To Transform Your Home
Into A Holiday Wonderland

The holidays are a delight for the senses. The decadent foods cause taste buds to dance. The splendid decor adds visual merriment throughout your home. Holiday tunes fill your ears with good cheer. But perhaps the most important sense of the holidays is the one that conjures up memories and helps build new ones: your sense of smell.

When it comes to amazing smells, nothing is quite like the holidays. The season is full of scents that inspire! From the amazing baked goods that tempt us at every turn, to the classic scent of a freshly cut holiday tree, there's something for every nose. Of course, there's not always time to bake those cookies from scratch and a lot of people opt for artificial trees, but don't fret. Here are a few easy ideas for infusing your home with the best scents of the holidays, so you can sit back, breathe deep and enjoy the season to the fullest.

The essence of a fresh-cut fir tree
Nearly 100 million households across the U.S. will display a Christmas tree, according to an American Christmas Tree Association survey, and of those trees displayed, 81 percent will be artificial trees. If your fake tree has you missing that real tree smell, there's a simple solution. ScentSicles scented ornaments are fragranced sticks designed to naturally blend in with an artificial Christmas tree. Simply hang the fragrance sticks as you would any ornament and the scent of fresh-cut Douglas fir will fragrance your tree with the smell of Christmas.

Wonderful wreath traditions
Many people still enjoy the centuries-old tradition of wreath hanging. Historically, these wreaths would weave together the sweet aromas of berries, evergreen and spice. Today, artificial wreaths and centerpieces offer the same visual appeal, but you can get the authentic smell you love with ScentSicles scented sprigs. Just tuck a few into your wreath and enjoy. Your guests won't ever guess it's artificial with such an authentic scent.

Spice is so nice
Whether it's a steaming hot mug of cider or the scent of spicy gingerbread in the oven, cinnamon is an iconic holiday scent. No need to get out the baking supplies to spice up your spaces! Infuse your home with the scent of cinnamon and warm up even during the coldest winter days with cinnamon scented ornaments by ScentSicles. Place in a glass or ceramic vase in rooms throughout your home and you'll instantly be transported to memories of leaving cookies for Santa to enjoy on his midnight mission.

5 Fantastic Tree-Decorating Tips From The Pros

'Tis the season to trim the tree with your favorite decorations. To ensure your Christmas tree has style and personality, follow these five easy tree-decorating steps:

Start with lights: For pre-lit trees, fluff out the branches to distribute the lights evenly. For trees that need string lights, start at the top and work down, weaving lights in and out of the tree to achieve a sparkling glow.

Work from big to small: Once lights are set, decorate using the largest ornaments first and then move to the smallest. That means the first step is garland. A trendy garland alternative is sinamay ribbon because it's beautiful, easy to manipulate and can be used indoors and out. Again, start at the top and work down.

Add whimsy with florals and large bulbs: Now that you have a foundation upon which to build your dream tree, add in florals or coordinating bulbs, dispersing evenly. Remember, not all ornaments should hang from the tips of branches; try to work from the inside out to give your design depth.

Fill gaps with smaller ornaments and baubles: Smaller ornaments and special personal decorations are the last thing to add. Try hanging these items in groups of three, creating a triangle. It's good to mix shapes and textures to create visual interest. Keep in mind, if you have tiny tots, hang breakable ornaments out of reach.

Add wow with finishing touches: A star or angel are traditional tree toppers, but you can think outside the box with a bow, flower or anything meaningful to you. Finally, make any artificial tree smell like the real deal by adding ScentSicles scented ornaments. Try all six true-to-life scents to capture the classic fresh-cut Christmas tree smell you love.

Finally, step back to enjoy your beautiful Christmas tree. It's sure to be a lovely addition to your holiday celebration all season long.