Make Your House Smell Like Christmas

The lights are hung around the mantle, the garland is wrapped around the staircase and festive decorations are sprinkled throughout the house. The Christmas scene is almost complete except for one last thing: a scent. Nothing screams Christmas like a whiff of cinnamon, pine and peppermint. Founder and president of Elegant Affairs, Andrea Correale, shared the best ways to make your house smell like the holidays. 

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In the Kitchen

fresh pine, cloves and oranges

Known as “the heart of the home,” the kitchen is an important area to highlight with seasonal scents. Correale suggested mulling cider on the stove with cloves and cinnamon sticks or oranges, cinnamon and cloves in wine, “as you will get to enjoy it later.” Homeowners can also simmer pine needles on the stove to release the pine oil and reduce the need to buy a holiday spray because there is “nothing quite like the smell of fresh pine.”


A great way to incorporate a visual component is candles with wax melts, cinnamon sticks and fresh cranberries or vanilla and cloves. “The initial smell of any scent is perceived as stronger when first lit. You can light them before the guests arrive to warm the entire space or wait until dinner—it is a nice way to warm the table with the smells of the holiday.” Hosts can also use a mix of natural and painted pine cones to create a beautiful centerpiece. Sprinkle them with a homemade pine scent or holiday mist using essential oils.

Place Settings

gingerbread, apples and cinnamon

Take it up a notch by placing pomanders on every person’s plate at the dinner table. “Clove-studded fruits like tangerines, persimmons and apples have been used to mask odors for centuries.” Hosts can also make gingerbread cookies in the shape of name tags and decorate with the name of each guest. “It will add a festive touch that smells amazing, too!”

Around the Home

Correale recommended making a homemade carpet freshener that smells like the holidays. Simply add a few drops of your favorite holiday-scented essential oils to a 50/50 mix of baking soda and baby powder. Then shake the mixture over your carpet and vacuum up to release the smells of the season. For a subtle, woodsy smell, place cedar wood around the house. And for an earthy scent, buy pine incense or frankincense and myrrh incense. To add a crackle and pop to your fireside celebrations, make scented pine cone fire starters. “They will fill the room with the warm smells of Christmas and make it feel a little bit cozier.” Last but not least, a DIY peppermint spray can be made by mixing 1 teaspoon of peppermint oil or extract with 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol and 2 tablespoons of warm water. “You can spray it on garland, a wreath or even the surface of unscented candles to add a very subtle scent anytime during the holiday season.”