<h2 style="margin: 10pt 0in 0pt"><font size="3" color="#990000">Decking the halls:<span>  </span>Holiday ambiance is more than just decorations</font></h2><p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">(ARA) – The holly boughs on the front porch railing and the evergreen wreath on the door may be visible signs of the holidays, but to really savor the spirit of the season, you need to engage all your senses.</span></p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt"><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Just like a romantic dinner where all your senses are involved – soft music, gentle candlelight, enticing aromas, mouth-watering flavors and the soft touch of holding your sweetheart’s hand – celebrating the holidays also can be a feast for the senses … all season long.<span>  </span></p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Each sense you engage adds a layer of appeal to your home environment, creating a complete and satisfying holiday ambiance.<span>  </span>Follow these helpful hints to enhance the holiday season in your home in a special way this year:</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Sight</strong></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">You might think creating the look of the holidays is easy. After all, you probably bring out the same boxes of holiday decorations each year. While beloved ornaments, photos and decorations always will have a place in your holiday decor, spice things up every year by adding a new item or trying a new effect.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">For example, if your family loves decorating outdoors with twinkling lights, this year consider upgrading to eco-friendly LED lights. These energy-efficient alternatives may cost a little more up front, but will last longer and use less energy than traditional incandescent lights. In fact, decorating a 6-foot tree with LED lights and keeping the lights on for 12 hours per day for 40 days can save 90 percent or more energy compared with traditional incandescent lights, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Sound</strong></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Definitely bring out those holiday CDs – music is an integral element of holiday ambiance. Traditional carols, Elvis and even "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," are sure cues the holidays have arrived.<span>  </span>But don’t stop there.</p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"> </p><div style="text-align: center"><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="282"><param name="movie" value="../images/banners/5c.swf" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="../images/banners/5c.swf" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="282"></embed></object></div>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Mix up your holiday audible decor with recordings of your children’s recent holiday pageant, or record the whole family singing holiday favorites and play that in the background when guests visit. Your kids don’t have to be the Jonas Brothers, just sincere, enthusiastic and relatively in tune.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Scent</strong></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">What aroma evokes the holidays for you? Does vanilla bring back memories of Sunday afternoons baking with Grandma? Does mistletoe make you think of your first kiss? Or perhaps the scent of evergreen reminds you of bringing home that special Christmas tree.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"Although we tend to associate sights with the essence of the holidays, scent is actually the sense most powerfully associated with memory," says fragrance expert Rick Ruffolo of Yankee Candle. "It may not be practical to bake a batch of holiday cookies every time you want that wonderful aroma, but you can recreate that effect with a scented candle."</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">In addition to being a simple, cost-effective option, candlelight coupled with your favorite scents is a great way to create a warm, inviting and memorable atmosphere. Yankee Candle offers a range of seasonally appropriate scents, such as Balsam & Cedar, Mistletoe, Christmas Cookie and Sparkling Cinnamon. In addition to traditional scents, try innovative approaches to traditional holiday scents and flavors like Christmas at the Beach (a tropical themed scent with a bright, festive blend of pineapple, coconut and cilantro), North Pole (a blend of icy cool mint and sugary rich vanilla cream), Sparkling Snow (the crisp, naturally fresh scent of gleaming snow-covered pines), or Christmas Cupcake (an irresistible treat of rich, moist vanilla cupcake covered with sweet buttery holiday icing).</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"Having great-smelling scented candles in your home will put the finishing touches on your holiday celebrations," Ruffolo notes. "Your guests and your family members will appreciate how these scents will bring back endearing memories of your experiences together for many years to come."<span>  </span>Visit www.YankeeCandle.com to learn more.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><strong>Touch</strong></p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Anyone who’s ever tried to keep a toddler away from the tree knows there’s a very powerful tactile element to the holiday. Instead of discouraging touching – not just by toddlers but guests as well – give visitors to your home an appropriate opportunity to touch the holiday.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Children will love being able to touch holiday-themed stuffed animals. And tinsel is wonderfully appealing to all age groups – and easy to put back on the tree if it gets pulled off. Decorate banisters with crisp garlands that encourage a brush of the fingertip as guests climb the stairs.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Finally, keep your home cozy for the holidays – for nothing is more associated with the season than warmth and happiness. If you have a fireplace, light it when guests arrive. Be sure there are no drafts and seal any doors or windows with weather stripping. And be sure to offer guests the opportunity to curl up next to the fire in a cozy holiday-themed throw.</p>  <p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">Courtesy of ARA