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Scent-ual

Scent-ual
Aromatherapy

has been used for centuries to promote psychological and physical well-being. How do we know this? Scientific studies reveal that cells that detect odor are connected by nerves to the part of the brain responsible for emotion and pleasure. Essential oils, candles, soaps, incense, and even tea, are gifts that will make men and women on your list feel good. So, go ahead, give a little goodness.

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Energy and uplifting: sage, basil, bergamot, spearmint, clove, ginger

Votivo offers a wonderful array of travel tin candles good for on the go or staying put.

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Black Ginger

combines the fragrance of time worn leather and sweet mulled spices brewed over an open flame, with the invigorating surprise of tropical ginger.

Forgotten Sage

perks up the memory with the pervasive aroma of hand hewn cedar planks, bent twig baskets overflowing with sun dried sage and natural sweet grasses from the Dakota plains. These candle tins burn 20-25 hours. ($10; specialty stores such as Monarchs Heaven in Oak Park, Yellow Bird in Wilmette and Cocoon in Geneva)

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A great stocking stuffer is

Bath & Body Work's travel size Energy Orange Ginger Body Lotion.

It refreshes and uplifts to keep you on the go. Ginger essential oil sharpens the senses and the creamy body lotion contains natural soybean oil to nourish and moisturize and glycerin to attract moisture to the

skin

. Available in larger sizes and other products. ($5; Bath & Body Works)

For those on your list who need instant grrrrrr, give them

The Body Shop's Total Energy Pulse Point Balm.

Apply this pocket-sized balm to pulse points to get instant energy and a dash of well-being through a combination of citrus-scented organic bergamot oil, gurana extract and ginger oil. In addition, happy belle, derived from the Monks Pepper plant mimics the effect of endorphins and induces a sense of happiness. ($16; The Body Shop)

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Holiday scents: balsam, pine, apple, cinnamon, frankincense

Many people find familiar holiday scents comforting and reassuring. Since 1931, Paine Products and Incense Co. has been making an iconic holiday incense:

Balsam Fir.

While some refer to it as pine, these balsam logs or sticks provide the backdrop to the season whether burned in an incense holder or in the traditional favorite, the log cabin burner. (Balsam incense sticks and holder $4.50; balsam logs and holder $6; large log cabin burner with logs $9; specialty stores including Pioneer Garden and Feed in Villa Park.)

Perfect for safely enjoying the scents of the season is WoodWick's new spill-proof diffusers. Sit back and appreciate the

Cinnamon Chai Spill Proof Diffuser

, combining spicy cinnamon with rich vanilla notes. This type of diffuser design delivers refreshing scents similar to a reed diffuser but in a more stable format. It also is available in Frasier Fir. ($19.99; major retailers including Von Maur)

What began as a homemade gift from a 17-year-old boy to his mother, 41 years later is the wildly popular Yankee Candle Company - delivering sought after scents through its popular long-burning jars that can burn anywhere from 110-150 hours. Using pure natural plant extracts,

Mistletoe

presents the woody scents of mistletoe, berries, pine boughs and holly.

Sparkling Cinnamon

offers the spicy warmth of real imported stick cinnamon with a hint of cloves. (22 ounce jars $24.99; major retailers including

Bed Bath & Beyond

)

Romantic scents: patchouli, sandalwood, citrus, cinnamon, jasmine, rose

For the man on your mind, Caswell-Massey has created the

Gentlemen's Choice Soap Collection.

This collection of 12, 5.8-ounce soaps for the bath includes Spicy Aura of Patchouli and Sandalwood, Citrusy Number Six and Refreshing Lime, among others, and are sure to get your sweetie smelling good and thinking romantically. The set comes handsomely packaged in Caswell-Massey's signature green box. ($90; specialty stores such as the Paper Merchant in Geneva)

For those on your list who travel a lot, send them off with

Archipelago Caffe Patchouli Mini Diffuser & Votive Set.

The mini-diffuser and votive set is small in size but ample in aroma, enhancing smaller spaces whether on the road or in your home or apartment. The soy wax votive candle burns for approximately 18 hours; mini-diffuser lasts for approximately two months. The Caffe Patchouli fragrance features rich coffee beans and spicy patchouli, balanced with hints of star Anise and bergamot. ($25; specialty stores such as Chalet Nursery in Wilmette and major retailers)

Designer Jonathan Adler offers the ultimate in romance with his

Muse Blanc

or

Muse Noir scented candle and holder.

Muse Blanc is a crisp floral candle reminiscent of fresh-cut flowers. Muse Noir is midnight black wax with deep notes of bergamot and black plum mingled with amber and vetiver. The translucent porcelain vessel glows as the candle burns and after the candle is gone the vessel is a lovely addition to your nightstand done in Adler's inimitable style. ($68; Jonathan Adler Chicago and major retailers including Nordstrom

Stress and anxiety-alleviating scents: lavender, chamomile, jasmine, cardamom

This time of year settling in with a warm cup of tea eases stress and tension. And

aromatic tea

is a great stocking stuffer. Fragrant jasmine tea, made from green tea leaves that are scented with jasmine flowers, gives a wonderful floral aroma and subtle sweet flavor. White tea is also combined with jasmine, and both green and white teas have received accolades for their high anti-oxidants. Celestial Seasonings has added green tea and fragrant jasmine to its classic chamomile-based Sleepytime Tea, coming up with the new

Decaf Sleepytime Lemon Jasmine Green Tea.

A brewed cup will help the cares of the world slip away. (Prices vary; grocery stores and discount retailers)

Solitude

is a cleaner burning soy candle made and poured in the U.S. by Beanpod Soy candles. It offers a soothing blend of chamomile, amber, lavender, coriander, and cardamom that promises to transport you to a restful place. Solitude is one of the company's top sellers. Recently, Beanpod introduced a new look with an embossed lid, streamlined jars and removable labels. (Prices vary for sizes ranging from 4.5 ounces to 25 ounces; at specialty stores such as Shaker Traditions in Evanston and Hallmark stores)

Women on your list will enjoy the clean fresh scent and calming properties of English lavender in

Crabtree & Evelyn's triple-milled Lavender Soap

($20 for thee bars). Using the tradition of 19th century French soap making, the company takes 30 different steps to create each bar, triple blending them with pure lavender oil. The process results in soap that lasts longer. A pioneer in botanical formulations for more than 35 years, Crabtree & Evelyn recently launched its new

Heritage Soap Collection.

The collection includes Crabapple & Mulberry, Oatmeal & Wheatgerm, Vetiver & Juniperberry and the gentle cleansing formulas are free of parabens, lauryl sulfates, mineral oil, and propylene glycol. ($8 each; Crabtree & Evelyn stores)

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