Five festive ways to make your home smell like Christmas!

Which scents make you instantly think of Christmas? Cinnamon and rum? Balsam and cedar? The smell of wood smoke and pine?

They say we remember smells more than we do images or sounds. A smell can unlock a memory just like that. If smell plays such a strong role in memory, then we should find ways to include them in our homes when we want a special time to be remembered, like Christmas. 

Here's five ways to make your home smell like Christmas. 

iStockphoto / barol16
Gingerbread is not only fun to decorate, it smells heavenly. It doesn't matter if you make a loaf or rolled cookies, the smell of baking gingerbread is a classic Christmas smell. But don't bake it alone. Gather the kids and hand out some aprons. Nothing mixes nicer with the festive smell of ginger and spice, than the voices and laughter of kids helping you bake.
The smell of oranges and cloves takes me right back to Grammy's house at Christmas. She'd give my twin sister and me a bowl of cloves and an orange. We'd poke the cloves into the orange so they're close together, but not touching. The cloves preserve the fruit, while the juice mixes with their spicy scent to create a delicious aroma. You can stud other fruit this way too. Lemons, limes, pomegranates, apples. Set them in a tea cups and place them around. They'll smell great for weeks.
Using things you have in your kitchen, it's easy to create a stove-top potpourri. Here's a simple recipe my cousin shared with me: You just put some water in a pan, add some vanilla, orange peels, a few cloves, and a couple cinnamon sticks. Place it on the stove and cook it over low heat. Be sure to check it now and then and add water if needed. And don't leave it on the stove unattended. This mixture is a fast, easy and inexpensive way to inject the smell of Christmas into the air. 
iStockphoto / sssss1gmel

Nothing smells more like Christmas than a fresh-cut tree. In fact, the fresher, the better. If you can swing it, gather the family up and pay a visit to a u-cut farm. Not only will your tree smell twice as nice as one from the lot: It will probably outlast the season in freshness. (Have you ever had a tree from the lot turn brown before Christmas? It's sad when that happens.) 

Which trees are best for fragrance? In my opinion, Nobles and Grand Nobles top the list. Not only do they smell amazing, their needles are soft and sturdy. You won't get speared when you go to hang your ornaments. And you won't have to worry about your heirloom decorations slipping off sagging branches. Having said that, Nobles are more expensive than other varieties. If you're looking to save money, Douglas fir is a good choice and this tree type still smells great. 

You don't have to do a whole tree to enjoy those festive evergreen smells. Even if you put up an artificial tree, you can still include cuttings around your home. Visit a u-cut farm or a tree lot for fresh-cut boughs. The nice thing about this is you can gather a bouquet of cuttings from different types of trees. Balsam smells divine. Add to that fir, spruce, juniper, cedar--the more variety, the better.  

iStockphoto / tycoon751
Oils are a super way to add festive scents to your home. They're easy to use and one of the fastest ways to infuse some holiday aroma into the air. A good way to do this is to boil water, either on the stove or in the microwave, then add a few drops of oil.  

You might also try dabbing a couple drops of oil on a few cotton balls. Hide them under your evergreen cuttings, behind picture frames, etc. Cotton balls can be placed just about anywhere. Put a couple in your vacuum bag and you'll add Christmas to air when you clean.

So which essential oils are good for Christmas?
Here's a few suggestions: Allspice, balsam, cinnamon, cedarwood, clove, fir needle, ginger, mandarin, nutmeg, orange, peppermint, pine, spruce, and vanilla. 

No matter which method or scent you choose, making your home smell like Christmas is an important part of making memorable moments. Do you have a favorite smell that you associate with Christmas? I'd love to hear from you in comments below.

Joy--Fearless Farm Girl,

"Farm girl: it's a verb, because it's what you do."


  1. Pine is always a scent that I associate with Christmas. Orange and cloves are a close second. (although I like orange and clove all year round)

    1. I love the smell of pine, too. I hope you have a blessed Christmas, Sarah!

      Melody Joy