7 Essential Oils To Bring Holiday Spirit Into Your Home

We’re officially one week away from Santa breaking into our homes (seriously, this is what we tell children) and leaving gifts behind: The presents are wrapped, the tree and decorations are up, and – if you’re really on the ball – you’ve started (or even finished) your holiday baking.

Unless you have a real tree up and/or you’re baking 24 hours a day though, there’s one thing missing that can really bring the holidays home: Essential oils. Personally, I have a whole bunch of them on hand at all times and use them for just about everything, but if you’re only going to use them at one time of year and for one thing, it should be this. You can invest in a diffuser and use that if you’re really serious, but a couple of drops of one (or more) of these in a pot of simmering water or slow cooker with the lid off will have your home smelling like the holidays into the New Year and beyond!

Here are some scents to get you started, but you’ll know what you like and don’t – Feel free to get creative and make a blend!

Frankincense

Frankincense oil is grounding, calming, and relaxing. It’s earthy and woodsy while at the same time being kind of sweet and fruity. It’s also kind of spicy and warm, which is exactly what you want this time of year to help get you in the holiday spirit.

It can be used by itself to fragrance the room, and it blends incredibly well with others – Play around a little bit and I assure you that it won’t be long before you’ve found the blend that works best for you.

Fir needleFir Needle

If you didn’t get the chance to put up a real tree this year (because of allergies and/or not wanting to clean up the huge mess they create), this is an essential oil that you’re definitely going to want to invest in to get that ‘real tree scent’.

Diffusing fir needle essential oil can also help with colds and flus. When diluted in a carrier oil and applied topically, it can be used to help ease arthritic aches and pains (and if you’re going to walk around smelling like a Christmas tree, there’s no better time than the present!).

Vanilla

Vanilla is another trusty holiday scent. Mix it with a few drops of sweet orange or ginger oil and everyone will be thinking you’re baking a large batch of cookies! Vanilla oil has so many benefits but its relaxing, anti-depressive, and antioxidant properties are among the most potent ones.

Just remember – you only get these benefits from the real thing so don’t settle for a lab synthesized copy.

Sweet orangeSweet Orange

Sweet orange oil is one of the most affordable essential oils available and it’s incredibly versatile. If you’ve mixed a couple of essential oils together and you think that it’s missing something but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is, odds are that adding some orange oil into the mix will get you exactly the scent that you’re looking for.

It’s cheerful and uplifting, and can help take the stale smell out of a room that’s been smoked in (saving you an argument with Uncle George).

Juniper

Juniper essential oil has antiseptic properties, so diffusing it can actually help rid the air of germs in your home (which is especially great if you’ve had a virus going around your house for a while). This is another oil that can help ease stress and calm you down after an especially hectic day (for instance, when you’ve had to battle the crowds in the stores).

The scent of juniper essential oil is woodsy, sweet, fresh, and crisp. It blends well with cedarwood and fir needle oil to create a wonderful holiday aroma.

AllspiceAllspice

If you’re someone that prefers a spicy scent, this is one that you’re going to love. It pairs beautifully with orange or bergamot oil and since it has a high Eugenol content, it has antiviral properties (which is super helpful considering that we’re almost at the peak of cold and flu season).

It’s also been said that it’s a natural aphrodisiac (which is great for staying warm on a cold winter’s night!).

Scotch Pine

If you’d prefer to smell pine over fir, this is the essential oil you’ll want. It has a fresh, woody, early, balsamic scent that can mimic what a real Christmas tree smells like. I wouldn’t suggest mixing this with any other oil except for maybe cinnamon, though – The unique scent is usually enough.

Do you use essential oils to fill your home with wonderful holiday scents (or for any other reason?) Let us know which ones you use and why you like them best in the comments section – I’m always looking for great smelling blends!

If you like what you see here on the blog, consider joining and expanding the Is God Imaginary? community of universally accepting individuals. We’re always up for conversations of all kinds and would love to meet you!

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Happy Noodle Ring Day! Celebrate With IGI

Photo via: nycfooddays.wordpress.com

Photo via: nycfooddays.wordpress.com

Is God Imaginary? doesn’t discriminate. We love the unconventional holidays just as much as the conventional ones! Today just so happens to be Noodle Ring Day, and we’d like to wish you a wonderful one!

Noodle Ring Day? What The Heck Is That?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Apparently it was most popular in the mid 1900s (well before my time) when molds and bundt pans were all the rage (boy I’m glad I was born later than the jello mold craze).

Want To Celebrate? Here’s How

Depending on where you are, I might be a little late for this (although really, it’s never too late to eat some delicious carbs!), but since it’s not even five o clock here in Northern Canada, I’ve taken care of planning dinner for you (Nice of me, isn’t it? My holiday gift to you). Here’s what you’ll need:

noodle

Photo via: Pinterest.com

  • Cooked pasta
  • Eggs (enough to coat the mixture. How many will vary depending on how much pasta you use)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • A cheese that easily melts (my personal favourite is a mix of pepperjack and marble, but do as you please).
  • Filling of some sort (more on that in a minute).
  • A mold or bundt pan.

Mix the first four ingredients together until well blended. Stick it in a mold or bundt pan until the cheese is melted and the eggs are cooked (Again, your cooking time will vary according to your mixture, but 20 minutes at 325 should probably do the trick). Let it cool for a minute or so before popping it onto a plate and filling with a mixture of your choice!

Popular Fillings

Here are some of the more common fillings:

  • Chicken Salad
  • Meat Sauce
  • Steamed and buttered veggies
  • Canned tuna or salmon
Photo via: semisweetandnuts.com

Photo via: semisweetandnuts.com

As you can see, it’s kind of like a pasta bake (but better!). In the event that you’ve already had dinner and/or none of those fillings look very appealing to you, here’s a variation that you might enjoy:

Use a milder cheese (or omit it altogether) and add a little bit of sugar to the mix. Let it cool completely and fill it with one of these instead:

 

  • Ice cream
  • Pudding
  • Fruit
  • Custard
  • Pie Filling

Add crushed up cookies and/or whipped cream for even more yum.

Noodle Ring Day might sound unconventional, but who likes normal anyway? At the very least, it’ll be a nice change-up from your regular routine (and an excuse to use that bundt pan you’ve had sitting underneath your stove since you first moved out of your parents’ house).

If you do end up celebrating Noodle Ring Day, we’d love to see some pictures! Please feel free to post them in the comments section below.

And if you like what you saw on the blog, please consider joining and expanding our community of universally accepting people – We’re always happy to welcome new members (of all beliefs!) with a smile.

Happy Noodle Ring Day!

 

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One For Each Night Of The Celebration: 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Hanukkah

hanfeat

We’re officially in the swing of the Festival of Lights (more commonly referred to Hanukkah). This year the festival started on Sunday (December 6th) and will continue until the 14th of this month. To an outsider, Hanukkah just looks like an eight day feast featuring pretty candlelight and some gifts thrown in for good measure, but it’s so much more than that! The internet is filled with all sorts of things that can tell you about the origin of the celebration, so we’re not going to go into all of that today.

Instead, we’re going to educate you on the lesser-known aspects of the holiday. Here are eight things (that’s one for each night of the celebration!) that you probably didn’t already know about the Festival of Lights celebration:

1. Dreidel Spinning Was A Cover Up Long Before It Was A Hanukkah Game

han

Photo courtesy of: Wikipedia

Way back in the second century B.C.E., Greek-Syrian law prohibited Jewish folks from learning Torah. They were so serious about said law that if you were discovered studying the religion, you could literally be killed. Jewish kids obviously didn’t want their lives to end, but they didn’t want to lose their faith either so they studied secretly in caves. Whenever a patrolman came across them, the kids would begin to play with their drawn out dreidels like their lives depended on it (and they completely did). If that’s not quick thinking, I’m not sure what is!

2. And It’s Actually A Competitive Sport Now

Photo courtesy of: annarbor.com

Photo courtesy of: annarbor.com

If you’re thinking about taking up a new sport but you’re not exactly into basketball or hockey, you might want to consider giving professional dreidel spinning a try. Major League Dreidel is actually a thing, and they claim to be ‘reinventing the dreidel in a modern and exciting new way’. While I wouldn’t personally consider this to be a sport, the NCAA disagrees and holds an annual tournament. No gelt, no glory, amirite?

3. The Menorah Lighting In Jerusalem Is Something Like The Olympic Torch Lighting

Photo courtesy of: learni.st

Photo courtesy of: learni.st

One of the most well-known things about the Olympic games is the torch carrying/lighting ceremony. The Menorah lighting ceremony in the Hanukkah capitol of the world isn’t much different – Runners begin in the Israeli city of Modiin and race a great big bright flame for twenty miles until they reach Jerusalem. There, the chief Rabbi takes the torch and lights the giant Hanukiah at the Western Wall to officially kick off the holiday.

4. A Menorah And A Hanukiah Are Two Different Things

Photo courtesy of: Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of: Wikipedia

You’ve probably heard the two terms used interchangeably this (or some other) holiday season, but they’re actually two different things. A Hanukiah is a candelabra that’s specifically designed for this holiday – It has eight candle holders in a line (one for each day of the festival) as well as one (referred to as the shamash) in the middle (and slightly out of place) for lighting the others. A Menorah on the other hand has only seven branches (it was used in the first temple in Jerusalem). The Menorah is utilized all year long while the Hanukiah is brought out specifically for the eight days of celebration.

5. Calorie Counting Goes Out The Window, But It’s So Worth It

Photo courtesy of: fabandfru.com

Photo courtesy of: fabandfru.com

You’ve probably seen pictures of all the wonderful grease-filled food that comes along with this holiday, but I bet you’d never guess just how much of it gets consumed. Here’s a quick tidbit of information for you – More than 10 billion calories (from simple sufganiyot – that’s a filled donut) are sold in Israel along every Hanukkah. And that’s just one thing (and it’s not even a dish)! Clearly these folks don’t care about counting calories, which immediately makes them my type of people!

6. Giving ‘Gelt’ Is A Fairly New Tradition (At Least In The Chocolate Sense)

Photo courtesy of: ohnuts.com

Photo courtesy of: ohnuts.com

Those adorable gold-covered chocolate ‘coins’ haven’t always been a thing. Originally people were encouraged to give money (or gelt in Yiddish) to children to encourage them to continue their studies (whew, that’s a lot of encouragement!). Kids don’t generally care too much about money, so in the 20th century an American chocolatier came up with chocolate filled gold foil coins as a more age appropriate gift. The idea was obviously a big hit and now kids all over the world eat the coins over the holiday season regardless of their beliefs.

7. Two Different New York Cities Compete For The Largest Menorah Display

Photo courtesy of: ny.curbed.com

Photo courtesy of: ny.curbed.com

There’s one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn; both claim to display the largest Menorah in the world. Both of the structures stand 32 feet tall – the maximum height allowed according to Jewish law – and although the one in Manhattan holds the Guinness World Record, the one in Brooklyn actually has a shamash that’s six inches taller.

8. All Spellings Are Technically Correct

Photo courtesy of: play.google.com

Photo courtesy of: play.google.com

Chanukah, Hannukah, Hannukkah, Channukah…. Which one’s right?! Well, technically they all are. You see, ???????? is the traditional Hebrew spelling, and when it’s translated it doesn’t exactly work out. So regardless of how you choose to spell it, the celebration is always the same. It may not be the holiest of Jewish holidays, but it’s certainly the most well known!

Photo courtesy of: sharefaith.com

Photo courtesy of: sharefaith.com

Happy Hanukkah to all of our Jewish readers! We hope that you’re having an amazing celebration. What sorts of things does your family do to make this holiday special? Let us know in the comments section below – We always love hearing from you guys!

Want to join in on the Is God Imaginary? discussion? Consider joining and expanding our community of incredibly diverse and universally accepting members.

 

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Happy Holidays From IGI!

holidayfeat

Hey there!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry about that. We’re working on it ;). Happy holidays, seasons greetings, merry whatever-it-is you celebrate (or don’t!). Point is, today is a day to smile, because…

Is God Imaginary? is back to celebrate the holidays! Although I’m not a religious person myself, Christmas is my official holiday. And generally that’s the one that people think of this time of year – All of the big box stores are pushing lights, decorations, and “great gift ideas” so hard that it’s impossible to miss.

But there’s so much more to the holiday season! This month we’re going to cover what the holidays look like all over the world! Different places, different religions, and fun holiday facts. If you’ve got a holiday story that you’d like to share with us, please feel free to leave it in the comments section below – There’s nothing like a personal story, especially this time of year.

New Year's snowy background

One thing’s for sure, the atmosphere completely changes during December. People are generally nicer, the air is crisp and clean, and if you’re really lucky – which sadly we here in Northern Canada likely are not this year – you’ll get to wake up to a fluffy blanket of snow one morning soon (you can’t argue that lights just look better after it snows).

Another benefit to this time of year is all of the quality holiday movies that come on. Here are three that I think are worth a watch over the next few weeks:

I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1998)

holiday1

Photo courtesy of: crazyhdsource.com

This one’s on my must watch list every year because I was a preteen in the late nineties and well, JTT’s in it! You remember JTT – The lovable, adorable middle child of Tim Allen on Home Improvement. The storyline of this movie is incredibly predictable and cheesy (which is perfect for any December evening), and JTT will remind you of your younger days.

Die Hard (1988)

holiday2

Photo courtesy of: film actually.com

This one’s on the list because although it’s not necessarily a holiday movie, it always plays this time of year. and, to be honest, it’s a nice break from all the craziness that is your regular holiday scheduling. This is definitely the movie that you want to throw in to the mix once you get sick of all the happy.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

holiday3

Photo courtesy of: nerdreactor.com

This movie tops my list every single year. Why? Because it mixes the very best of Halloween and Christmas. This has been my favourite holiday movie since it came out when I was just a wee thing (I was six), and even though Henry Selick – the director of the film – recently confirmed that it’s officially supposed to be a Halloween movie, I’ll continue to watch it every single year at least once around this time. Tim Burton is brilliant, and this is one of his best in my opinion.

Do these movies make your holiday cut? What are your personal favourites? Let me know in the comments section below. And stay tuned for more great new IGI? posts this week – It’s going to be a busy month!

If you like what you see here on the blog, consider joining and expanding our community of incredibly diverse and universally accepting members. If you have an idea for a blog post, let me know below.

Posted in Celebrations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment