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Episode 222: Creating a Holiday Environment and a Look at Balsam Fir

In this episode we sit down with Samantha Lewis, a member of the doTERRA product marketing team, to talk about how you can use essential oils to create a holiday environment. She'll discuss what difference your environment can make, her advice for those who are new to using essential oil to affect their environment, as well as some of her favorite oils to use such as Holiday Peace, Midnight Forest, and Holiday Joy.

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doTERRA: Is there anything better than walking into a warm, cheery room and being met with an inviting, welcoming scent? Today we'll help you discover how to create that in your own home. Welcome back to Essential Oil Solutions with doTERRA, the podcast where you'll hear exciting, useful, and simple everyday uses for essential oils from experts in the field.

Today’s episode is brought to you by the MetaPWR System. Designed to help you live your most powerful life, this three-step system will be a game-changer in your daily routine as you embark on your journey to supporting a healthy metabolism.

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Today we're excited to talk to Samantha Lewis, a member of the doTERRA product marketing team, about how you can create a holiday environment in your home. Then, we'll take a look at the history of Balsam Fir.

Samantha, thank you so much for sitting down with us today.

Samantha Lewis: Happy to be here.

Importance of Your Environment

doTERRA: This is a topic that I love to talk about because honestly, I love diffusers and I think they're incredible. So, let's just get going and talk about, what kind of difference can your environment make?

Samantha: I'm totally with you. I am constantly diffusing all day, every day, and I think that your environment can really make all the difference depending on what you're trying to achieve.

So, we're getting into the holiday season, right? Getting into festivities. And I feel like the right ambience can totally communicate the feelings you want. Anyone that comes into the space to experience, whether you're throwing a holiday party, having a few friends over for dinner, or you just want to create a peaceful environment for your family at home. Your goal for that environment is so important and it can make all the difference.

doTERRA: Yes, I think you are completely right. And so, we want to make that difference, we want to have that change, what are a few different ways that I can affect my environment?

Samantha: So, I think setting the environment can start anywhere from how things look to how they smell and even from how you act as the host in the environment. It can definitely affect that. I think the first place to start is identifying how you want everyone to feel when they walk in. Do you want it to be cheery, festive, uplifted, or maybe more peaceful, calm and reflective? You can decorate accordingly, then find a signature scent that perfectly complements the ambience you're trying to set. Or, even start with that signature scent and then let your decorations and your party ideas kind of run wild.

doTERRA: I love the point that you touched on there, that it really matters that you are intentional about what kind of environment you are trying to set.

Samantha: Yeah, absolutely.

doTERRA: That you go in with that intention, that you look at every step as it's leading you there.

Samantha: Yeah, I think that's one of the key ways to create that really great ambience. Whatever you're looking for is what do I want to achieve and what do I want people to feel?

Creating a Peaceful Environment

doTERRA: Absolutely. Now, one of the big times that we want to do this is around the holidays. We're having a lot of parties, people over things like that, and the holidays can get a little overwhelming. So, what are some of your favorite oils to help create a peaceful environment during all of that?

Samantha: Yeah, the holidays definitely can get a little overwhelming. It's a lot. And I think it's really important to find time to reflect and reminisce during the holidays because things can move at such a fast pace. It can get out of hand sometimes.

So, if you're going for that peaceful, calm and maybe more reflective environment, you could start with Holiday Peace or my personal favorite diffuser blend we've done in the last few years, Midnight Forest. So, these both have grounding wood oils that are known for their soothing aromas.

Take some time with these blends and some of the key ingredients in each one when you're stepping back from the chaos to reflect and hopefully it'll kind of reset you and get you ready for the next step to get your holiday festivities moving along.

doTERRA: Both of those blends are kind of in my top ten, probably for aromatic use, and they both have such a perfect aroma for the holidays. So, wonderful recommendations.

Samantha: Yeah, I love them. They're so good and they're so easy to use. Like, it's simple. A few drops of just those ones in the diffuser. It's wonderful. I love it.

Creating a Positive Environment

doTERRA: Yes. Now, like I mentioned, a lot of people are having people over to their houses this time of year. What oils do you recommend if we're looking to create a really positive environment for those gatherings?

doTERRA: Yeah. So, if our intention is to create a positive, cheery, maybe more festive and uplifted environment, I'd suggest starting with Holiday Joy. Now, that might be the easy answer here. You can actually throw in some citrus bliss in there. Bring in some of those like kind of brighter citrus and spices.

Samantha: But Holiday Joy is really our classic holiday blend that freshens up the air and brightens the spirit. You can even use the scent to inspire the decor at your holiday event that you're throwing. The citruses and spices in Holiday Joy could spark ideas with your color scheme and actual decor pieces by bringing the natural elements into your environment and playing off of that intention that you're trying to create for whatever kind of festive event you're looking for.

doTERRA: I think that is a genius idea. And like we said, when you're creating this environment, you want it to tie all together. So, if you're pulling those decor items into the scent that you're creating, it can be just one giant perfect atmosphere.

Samantha: Yeah, I love it. I mean, who doesn't love going into that holiday party and like, wow, it seems like there was a lot of thought put into this, but realistically, it's probably pretty simple. It's with that intention and those little pieces of inspiration that can spark that creativity. And we know we're talking about creating an environment, right? It's all about creating that ideal environment for whatever you're looking for and whatever event you're trying to set up.

Starting at the Basics

doTERRA: Absolutely. Now, Samantha, we've talked a lot about creating this perfect environment, but also that the holidays can be overwhelming and we don't want to add just one more overwhelming thing to someone's plate. So, what advice do you have for someone who is new to using essential oils that wants to affect their environment?

Samantha: I totally agree. One less thing we can add on to someone's plate the better. So, some simple places to start, I think just begin with what smells good and what inspires you. Doesn't matter what smells good to anyone else, what smells good to you? What makes you happy?

And I don't think there's really a wrong place to begin when it comes to creating a certain ambience of essential oils. You really can't go wrong. So, smell different blends, play around with different combinations. And I really recommend learning about the ingredients in each blend that you're drawn to.

Sometimes I feel like a blend just doesn't quite hit right, depending on the environment I'm trying to create. So, I'll dive into ingredients of that blend and pull out a few key ingredients I have on hand that I think need a bit of a boost.

I also know that the more you smell and diffuse essential oils, the more comfortable you become with them. So, diffuse whenever you get a chance. Have a portable Pilot diffuser in your car or the really beautiful Laluz at your desk and become a bit of a mad scientist with oils and blends that you have available.

Take note, depending on what you diffuse, to help inspire future ambiance creation.

doTERRA: I think that is incredible advice. It's easy to start. Just start where you are, start with what you like and move forward from there.

Samantha: Exactly, it can be so simple. I totally get how it can start off a little bit intimidating, but let's keep it simple. Let's take it down to the beginning level and just start smelling stuff. It's so much fun and so exciting to create little diffuser blends and to boost existing diffuser ones and learn what smells, you know, draw you in and what inspires you.

doTERRA: I totally agree.

Samantha, thank you for being with us today for teaching us a little bit more about how we can affect our environment and giving us some great oil recommendations to do that.

Samantha: Yeah, thanks so much for having me. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

Balsam Fir

doTERRA: Refreshing, clean and airy. The aroma of Balsam Fir conjures up images of forests covered in crisp, freshly fallen snow. Cozy holiday gatherings around a crackling fire and a brightly lit tree. Balsam Fir has a long and storied history, and we can't wait to learn a little bit more today.

Today we're going to talk about some internal historical uses for some of these plants. But we want to remind you that not all of these oils and blends are for internal use and should only be used arithmetically or topically.

Any internal benefits discussed for the individual oils in the blend are not applicable to aromatic or topical use. Also, various plant parts such as the leaves, bark, flower, stem, fruit peel, bud resin, etc. were often used for many different practices and benefits throughout history.

These historical uses are mentioned here to offer insight as we explore the history of oils and plants. As such, these ancient uses are solely for informational purposes and are not being advocated or recommended by doTERRA. Proceed at your own risk with such uses.

Deep in the North American forests lives a special evergreen tree. This tree is Abies balsamea, or the balsam fir. Other names for this tree include Balm of Gilead, Northern Balsam, Silver, Pine and Blister Fir.

The word fir comes from the old English word for firgen, which means mountain forest and comes from ancient words like firre. F-I-R-R-E and fyr F-Y-R meaning fire and light respectively.

Fir trees and other evergreens were seen as ancient symbols of eternal light associated with the Winter Solstice and the return of the sun.

In fact, during the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which led up to the Winter Solstice in honor of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture, evergreen wreaths, decorated doorways.

Germanic people also brought evergreen boughs into their homes during the mid-winter festival of Yuletide.

Balsam fir is native to eastern and central Canada, as well as the northeastern United States. And, unsurprisingly, it has a long history with many First Nations as a resource in traditional wellness practices. And the Chippewa First Nation reportedly used the gum and the essence of the root. Many other nations use the tree in their wellness practices as well.

In modern day, balsam firs are often farmed on plantations. Many of these farms are family owned and techniques for taking care of these trees have been passed down through generations.

You may be surprised to learn that balsam fir trees are actually one of the greatest exports of Quebec and New England. Why, you may ask? Well, this species of fir tree is a popular pick for Christmas trees. Due in large part to its rich fragrance, which feels like walking through the forest with fresh brush underfoot. In fact, these trees have been used six times as the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree between 1964 and 2019.

Of course, this hasn't been balsam firs, only use throughout history. While most people may not find the fir too appetizing, it's certainly edible and may help sustain you in an emergency. Though let's hope it never comes to that. The resin has also historically been munched on like a chewing gum, albeit a very strong flavored one.

The fir trees also have a very detailed symbolic history. They symbolize determination, honesty and the endurance that comes with hope for the future. Fir trees can also inspire dreams of better times when going through hardship and teach the lesson of being true to yourself while being confident in your decisions.

When they are grouped together, fir trees become a symbol of friendship. This symbolism is furthered by the fact that firs are evergreens and never lose their green vibrancy. A reminder of the lifelong connections we can share with our friends.

Legend says that firs were also markers of important gravesites for the Druids and Celts, and that even from a great distance, certain firs could be identified as the markers of great chieftains and heroes among the Celtic people.

Balsam fir has also had many practical applications throughout history. For thousands of years, Native Americans used the tree for a variety of wellness purposes. They also sometimes combined the tree's resin with grease to make a fragrant hair oil. Additionally, its needles were used to brew tea and even served as a source of food.

In Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu wellness system, the tree's essential oil is considered sacred and is often used in the art of Ayurvedic massage.

With its incredible history and beautiful fragrance, we know you'll love Balsam Fir. It's the perfect essential oil to capture the spirit of the holiday season.

Thanks for joining us and congratulations on living a healthier lifestyle with essential oils. If you want to try any of the products you learned about, click on the link in the episode description or find a Wellness Advocate near you to place an order today. And remember, if you liked what you heard today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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