How To Naturally Make Your Home Smell Like The Holidays

January 10, 2018 Allison Hess


You want your home to smell like the holidays during the holidays, but you don’t want to add unhealthy artificial scents or chemicals into your family’s air. So how do you eliminate lingering odors and naturally fashion the warm, inviting smell of the holidays all season long?

We’ve come up with the easiest DIY ways to make your home smell welcoming—without spending lots of money or wasting time making crafts. We’ve got the 9 best ways to keep your home smelling fresh while protecting your wallet, your time, and your air quality!


1. Simmering Potpourri

You can buy potpourri, but store-bought mixtures can sometimes smell artificial or fake. Some can even contain chemicals or allergens. If you want an organic but strong aroma, make a pot of simmering potpourri on the stove. This is especially great when hosting an event, so your entire home will smell naturally beautiful.

The best part? It’s almost impossible to do incorrectly. If you’re not crafty (like me), you can throw just about anything in the pot and create a fragrant potion in no time. This is a great way to use up your citrus rinds, browning apples, or leftover fresh spices that you didn’t use while cooking or baking. You don’t even need to spend any extra money—just throw your “leftovers” in the pot.

Put a mixture of fresh fruit and spices in a small saucepan. You’ll want to fill with enough water to submerge the ingredients. Then, put the saucepan on a low simmer. Do not let the water boil and don’t cover with a lid. As the ingredients in the saucepan heat up, they will start to release a striking scent into the air.

How To Naturally Make Your Home Smell Like The Holidays pot simmering fruits and spices

Some of our favorite recipes of smells: 

  • Ultimate Holiday: 2 cinnamon sticks + 2 sprigs of pine or balsam + 1 tablespoon whole cloves + 1 nutmeg (whole or powdered) + 1/3 cup cranberries + peels from 1 orange
  • Warm And Inviting: 1 sprig fresh rosemary + 2 cinnamon sticks + lemon or orange peel
  • Winter Wonderland: 2 peppermint sticks + 2 sprigs of pine or balsam + 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Easy Peasy: 5-10 cloves + citrus peels
  • Apple Spice: apple slices + 2 sticks cinnamon

Be sure that you watch the water while it’s on the stove. Never leave on while not in the house. Don’t let kids or pets near the stove while the potpourri is on the stove.


2. Scented Pinecones

Pinecones are a beautiful, natural decoration for the holiday season. Add scent to these decorations for a double whammy of outdoorsy-goodness.

You can find pinecones around your yard or purchase them from a local crafts store or florist. If dirty, wash them in the sink with lukewarm water. When dry, place in a large zip-top bag.

Fill a small spray bottle with 1 ounce of water and 1 ounce of cinnamon scented oil. Spray the pinecones inside the bag until completely wet. Close the bag and shake to fill the pinecones with liquid. Repeat the process: re-spray and shake. Keep the bag closed. Set aside—for 2 days up to 2 weeks—to let the pinecones soak in the liquid.

Then, when you use the pinecones to decorate, they’ll release a pungent smell of cinnamon throughout your home. Keep in mind that pinecones are highly flammable. Keep away from fire and heat sources.


3. Essential Oil Ornament

Put your favorite essential oils on your tree to add a stunning aroma to your living room.

Use a razor blade to cut small holes in the top of a 70mm glass ball ornament. Through the top of the ornament, fill the ball with 1/2 tablespoon of whole cloves, 2 broken cinnamon sticks, and 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil. Then, add in 5-15 drops of your favorite essential oils. For the holidays, we like orange, cinnamon, and peppermint oils. Tie it with ribbon or twine to hang on the tree. If the ornament loses scent over time, open the ball and add a few more drops.

Check out this clay-based essential oil ornament by Young Living as well!


4. Holiday Garland

Create your own aromatic garland with just an oven and some twine. 

  • Thinly slice apples and oranges.
  • Place slices on a cooling rack in the oven.
  • Set oven to 180 degrees.
  • Crack the oven door to allow the moisture from the fruits to escape.
  • Leave in the oven until fruits are completely dry and dehydrated.

This will create dried fruit that is perfect for garland or homemade potpourri. You can even do this same dehydration process with leftover gingerbread men for a gingerbread scent.

To create a garland, you may need to punch holes in the fruit and gingerbread cookies. String together using twine. You can also place them in a bowl with cinnamon sticks for an easy, organic potpourri.


5. Sage Wreaths

Sage lets off a healthy smell that will welcome people into your home. Place a sage wreath in entryways or bedrooms for a fresh, air-purifying scent.

Purchase a small Styrofoam wreath from a local crafts store. Pick fresh leaves off the sage branch. Group together in leaves of five or six. Use U-shaped floral pins to tack the bunches of sage to the wreath base. Have the leaves pointed downwards, so they won’t fall due to gravity. Keep pinning sage bunches until you’ve filled the entire base. Learn about the benefits of keeping houseplants here.

How To Naturally Make Your Home Smell Like The Holidays sage leaves

6. Pomander

Pomanders have been used since the medieval ages to ward off illness, bring good fortune, and mask odors. 

  • Use a firm orange, grapefruit, or lemon.
  • Place whole dried cloves in the peel of the orange. You can put them in the shape of a diamond or other interesting design.
  • Use twine or beading cord (0.55mm) to connect the cloves. Leave a 2-inch tail at the end.
  • After decorating, roll the citrus in a mixture of 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg.
  • Leave in mixture for a week, turning it once per day. This will help the pomander cure and last for years.
  • Place around the home. You can hang it by threading a large needle and string from top to bottom. Use a knot at the bottom and a loop at the top.
  • Tie with a red ribbon for a festive look.


7. Peppermint Spray

Peppermint not only smells like the holidays—it instantly lifts mood and reduces stress-headaches. Create your own peppermint spray with 8 ounces of distilled water and 20 drops of peppermint essential oil. Put in a spray bottle so you can spritz candy-cane freshness in the air, on the furniture, on the draperies, or even in your son’s gym bag. Plus, peppermint will help deter insects and critters during the cold winter months.


8. Aromatic Fire Starters

A fire is always a good way to get your home smelling like winter warmth. You can add more scent to the fire with a homemade aromatic fire starter. You place these homemade fire starters in the bottom of the fireplace between logs and light the wick (before lighting the fire). It’s like a candle for your fireplace!

  • Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Fill each paper liner with a mixture of: 1 bay leaf + 1 cinnamon stick (cut into thirds or fourths) + 2-3 whole cloves + mini pinecones + 1-2 small sprigs of rosemary.
  • Put a 1 and a half-inch cotton wick in the middle of each liner. It should be sticking up like a candle wick.
  • Melt 1 pound of soy wax flakes in an old pan on medium heat over the stove.
  • Pour the wax in each muffin tin. Make sure all items are at least partially submerged in the hot wax. Use a toothpick to submerge items that are sticking out.
  • Let cool. The wax will harden.
  • Once cooled, remove from muffin tin. Store in a tin or jar until ready to use.

Only use these fire starters in traditional fireplaces or campfires. Don’t use in gas fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. Always follow fire safety precautions, open the flue, and use a fire screen.


9. Cookies

Baking cookies in the oven is the oldest trick in the realtor handbook. Freshly baked cookies have a fragrant, inviting smell that will instantly welcome people into your home.

How To Naturally Make Your Home Smell Like The Holidays baking holiday cookies

The Bottom Line

You can burn organic, scented candles and put fresh greenery throughout your home for warm and enticing smells—or you can make some of our fragrant DIY scent-suppliers!

Happy holidays to you all! What are your nose-happy tips and tricks for the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!

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