7 Ways to Make Your Home Smell Wonderful for the Holidays


It wouldn’t be the holidays without all your favorite traditional dishes and sweet treats, of course. But don’t forget how much the scents of the season (pine-y trees, spiced drinks, cookies baking in the oven) really make the holidays feel like they’ve truly arrived. Try these easy ways to enjoy even more seasonal fragrance over the next few weeks.

Slow-cook cider.

This aromatic winter favorite gets its memorable scent from apples, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice and black pepper (and, yes, we suggest you spike it with a little gin).

Mull wine.

Ina Garten (who’s never been caught without a genius entertaining tip up her sleeve) knows guests will instantly relax and get cozy when they smell a hot holiday drink as they step inside your home.

Put together a simmer pot.

Before you open your door to party guests, throw some herbs, fruit slices or other aromatics into a saucepan with some water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and the steam will fill your home with a subtle scent. Try one of our nine combo ideas, or experiment with your own.


Bake with peppermint.

This minty fresh take on stained-glass cookies employs crushed candy canes. When melted, they create a tie-dye-like effect, and their quintessential holiday scent will permeate your kitchen.

Or, slowly glaze some nuts.

This slow-cooker solution for spiced nuts not only helps you make a party snack with nearly zero effort, but it also fills your home with a sweet nuttiness that sets the mood for your get-together.

Hang an herb wreath.

We’re very impressed with decor that can do triple duty: First, of course, wreaths offer classic holiday beauty to any room. Second, this one ($50 at Sur La Table) is made from an especially lovely collection of fragrant dried herbs. And third, this wreath is usable. The herbs not only smell great, but you can also pluck them off to use in cooking. What a wreath!


Turn sweet and spicy ingredients into a garland or ornament.

Follow the lead of our friends at HGTV and turn dehydrated oranges, star anise, cloves and cinnamon sticks into decor you can enjoy (both with your eyes and your nose!) all season.

Photo: Adam Smigielski/iStock