What smells trigger that holiday feeling for you? Having grown up in Ireland, the fragrances that resonate most with me are the tangy, spicy perfume of orange-clove pomanders, exotic and heady incense in the Thurible at mass, the warm and appetizing aroma of spiced beef, and of course the piney-green scent of a real Christmas tree.
Scents evoke memories vividly and powerfully because the part of the brain that processes smells is deeply embedded in the parts of the brain that process memories and emotions. Unfortunately some, but not all, of these smells are re-creatable in Beijing. Thankfully the materials for a pomander are easily accessible in any supermarket here, and this project is simple enough for families to tackle together, even with small children.
This how-to is for pomanders you can display in a bowl as a centerpiece. Be aware that because these oranges are less densely packed with cloves they are more likely to mold, so you should place them close to dry heat and turn them often.
Follow these instructions to make a pretty hanging pomander to place in your tree or entrance-way.
While not the prettiest of designs, this project is the most practical, as studding the entire surface of the orange with cloves will help it to dry out and prevent it from rotting. As well as following the step-by-step you can read an excerpt about the history of pomanders in general and the clove-studded orange in particular, (or read a more detailed account here).
Image courtesy of simplebites.net