Lighting dried white sage, blowing out the flames and then fanning the embers to smoke as much as possible to pervade a room is an age-old way to change the energy and vibration of a place. Called smudging, smudging is traditionally used to purify an area of negativity and to induce a feeling of serenity. Other dried herbs used can be sweetgrass, cedar, all sages, and any herb in general, such as lavender. What better time to smudge than early in a new year?
You need to place the sage or herb in a container to keep it contained so there is no danger of fire. I burn sage in a large shell with curved sides, but an ashtray with tall sides is ideal.
Determine how big of a space you want to smudge, and gather dried herbs accordingly. Five or six long leaves is enough to smudge a large living room. I like to break the sage leaves off of a bundle. Place the dried herb in the container and light. Blow on the burning leaves to make a big flame. Once burning well, blow out the flame. I use a feather to fan the smoldering leaves and push the smoke into the room.
Traditionally, burning herbs is a ceremonial act, and I recommend giving thanks to the four directions (east, west, north, and south) before you start.