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Seasonal Project Ideas

An easy to make holiday gift!

This was the scent of all my childhood winters and Christmases. In WA State, we had a wood burning stove. There, a cast iron pot simmered all day and night. When we lived in Cuba, it simmered in a saucepan on the kitchen stove.

This year, I made some for my neighbours. It was fun to deliver them. Most people had never heard of it and were excited to do it. Of course, I threw in some magic and all the jars left reiki charged, blessed & dressed!

If you want to make it like I did, all you need can be purchased at the market.

  • Dried cinnamon sticks (wealth, abundance, protection)

  • Dried bay leaves (protection, healing, purification, strength, wishes,exorcism, inspiration, wisdom, creativity)

  • Fresh (or frozen, dried is not the same) cranberries (abundance, healing, energy, & love)

  • Dried star anise (brings calmness, good luck, protection, psychic awareness)

  • Fresh rosemary (Love, fertility, faithfulness, purification, cleansing, protection)

  • Fresh thyme (purification, protection, cleansing, healing, psychic awareness, energy, strength, courage)

  • Dried cloves (brings courage, good luck, anxiety relief, romance, passion, mental clarity)

  • 1 lemon (love & protection)

  • 1 mandarin orange (love, fertility, success, prosperity, & friendship)


  1. Cut the fruit in thin slices, only cut what you need 

  2. Place a couple of slices in a small saucepan along with a little bit of each item

  3. Fill with enough water to cover the ingredients and then some

  4. Place on stove and set to simmer

  5. Refill water as needed

  6. Enjoy the scent of the holidays in your home!


  • If you have access, you can also add a sprig or two of an evergreen tree. Blue spruce and Douglas Fir are my favourite but any aromatic evergreen will do. You can use it in lieu of rosemary. The evergreen will over power the rosemary so no need to do both.

  • You can use any aromatic spice like cardamom or nutmeg. Cardamom pods would add a lovely pop of green and would look pretty, but also include some that have been crushed and broken. Cardamom has a rich but soft scent profile and will easily be overpowered by cloves so it might be best to choose one or the other.

  • Because they're so festive, people want to keep them out on display so I tell the recipient to store it in the fridge since most of the ingredients are fresh.

  • These are great for anyone, regardless of religion or spiritual belief. I like a bit of nostalgia, so I prefer to wrap things with plain old twine. You can usually get it from the hardware store for a couple of dollars. Don't buy it at the dollar store though, that stuff typically has a strong gas/chemical odour. The red and white package twine is also very inexpensive and readily available. It would look equally lovely with blue and white string. And of course, white ribbon is always a beautiful (and safe) choice.

  • The tags, I cut from a piece of 65 lb paper. I was able to get 8 tags per sheet, which was great since I messed up one. I punched a hole in it and then added reinforcement hole stickers and tag strings someone had gifted me. I coffee stained them and inked the edges but none of that is necessary. You could purchase similar ones in small packs from any office supply store. You can also buy fancy/holiday themed ones from any craft store like AC Moore or Michaels. I hand wrote the directions on each tag but you could easily print them on your home printer, use a service like Office Depot, or visit your local printer.

  • Jar assembly - It's so easy to get empty spots in the jar. Make sure everything is well distributed. Aim for it to look full on all sides but if that’s not possible, you can probably get away with just one side. Pick the best side and place the bow. Very few will examine the jar. Most will only look at the front. Some may look at the back but the sides often get overlooked. Ideally, I like to put the lemon in first since it’s the biggest. Then I add ¼ of the cranberries, prop the cinnamon sticks against the lemon, and then I add the thyme. It’s uber delicate and will quickly look tired if handled too roughly. I like to press it up against the glass so I wedge it behind the lemon both for the aesthetic and the stability. Then I add ¼ more cranberries and plop in the orange. Gently swirl the jar to help distribute the cranberries down and around. Rosemary is quite hardy and even if it gets a little bruised, it will retain its shape and smell even better. I like to snake it around the other ingredients, so it peeks out from under and in between. It looks especially nice against the fruit. Add the rest of the cranberries and then place the bay leaves and star anise. I try to put the whole stars against the glass and put the broken pieces in the middle. Lastly, I drop in the cloves. They look really pretty if they fall in between the lemon and the glass. Because they are so small, sometimes they all trickle down to the bottom. That’s what happened with mine, you can’t see them at all. 

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