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  • Writer's pictureAnji Connell

10 Scents To Make Your Home Smell Like Christmas

While Christmas is known as "the season to be jolly," it can also be a significant source of stress, pressure, and conflict. Some of us feel overwhelmed by the excess and expectations and become depressed during the holidays. This year our Xmas holidays are looking a bit different. We still have so much to be thankful for, and if ever there was a year to embrace this seasonal indulgence, it's 2020 - and who doesn't need a little bit of extra cheer right now.

This year, let's "Go Wild" with a "more is more" philosophy of holiday decorating, adding a frivolous festive indulgence. Christmas is a time of celebration, festivities, food, family, and friends when Christmas aromas re-ignite pleasant childhood memories.

Nothing says Christmas quite like a fragrant Christmas tree. There are 35 different species of trees grown especially for Christmas—with many things to consider: size, shape, needles, branches, fullness, and fragrance. After Balsam Fir, Fraser Firs are incredibly fragrant. The smell of freshly-cut pine trees fills the air with seasonal joy. They are loaded with compounds that have positive effects on the human body.

The Best Fragrant Evergreens

Jasmine and Gardenia and Sweet Olive are well known for their heavily perfumed white blooms, and Clematis for their shiny, satiny green leaves and delicately scented blossoms.

Cedarwood's rich aroma makes any home feel cozy and warm during the cooler winter season with its woody scent. Cedarwood also helps the body to detoxify, stimulates metabolism, and soothes coughs while you relax in its retreat-like aroma from the comfort of your own home.

Rosemary, sage, and thyme are the most popular Christmas herbs. Rosemary is the perfect morning pick-me-up. In addition to improving memory retention, rosemary has stimulating properties that fight physical exhaustion, headaches, and mental fatigue; used topically, it relieves muscular aches and pains. Rosemary is not only for cooking; it's great for decoration. Small rosemary bushes decorated for Xmas smell and look fabulous. According to legend, this plant bloomed and bore fruit (out of season) on the night Jesus was born.

Tie a bunch of rosemary sprigs with twine for that rustic look, or use red ribbon for a more festive holiday vibe. Place them in mason jars, soup cans, vases, coffee tins, whatever you have on hand. It doesn't have to look perfect. That's part of the appeal.


Sage is known as the herb of immortality as legend holds that Mary and baby Jesus hid in a sizeable blooming sage bush when King Herrod searched for them. Sage is one of the must-have herbs for a traditional Christmas meal; and can be gathered in a glass vase or jug for a fragrant, beautiful centerpiece or set along with your table runner, along with bay leaves, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.


Cinnamon is one essential oil that can trigger a sense of warmth via its impact on our sensory memory. Whether it's cinnamon cookies fresh from the oven or hot drinks, this spicy aroma will remind you of a warm home filled with merry gatherings. Cinnamon can also support your immune system, which can end up working overtime during the cold season—tied into Christmas Wreaths and ribbons used in place settings.


Like cinnamon, nutmeg also activates the sensory memories associated with home baking or spice-infused drinks. As a natural way to support good sleeping habits, this often-overlooked spice has numerous benefits such as helping digestive problems and arthritis.

Anise is a traditional spice commonly added to baked goods during the holiday season in European countries that elicits a sense of the old world. It is a potent relaxant that works to slow down stress responses in circulation and the nervous system. Anise is an essential oil that can also help relieve symptoms of a cold or flu, such as congestion.


A significant scent for Christmas, peppermint is found in a variety of festive things that are immediately related to the holiday season. It reminds us of peppermint cookies and candy canes while also increasing our energy for various holiday season activities. This delightful flavour also promotes relaxation, making it an ideal scent to have in the home.

If you are looking for a Christmasy fragrance that is a departure from the classic pine and sugary-sweet scents of the season, Frankincense and Myrrh might be the scents for you!

Both scents are on the bolder, stronger side. Frankincense is sweet, warm, and woodsy, while Myrrh is more earthy with slight licorice notes.


Frankincense holds significant spiritual meaning as well as helping to relieve anxiety and boost the immune system. The smell of frankincense varies both by species as well as soil and even weather conditions. It has aromatic, musty pine notes of citrus and spice. It's an austere, earthy scent somewhat similar to rosemary.


This scent pairs together nicely with frankincense and holds the symbolic meaning of the birth of Jesus. After being a gift from the three wise men, it was customary to burn this scent in places of worship. Aside from its spiritual symbolism, this aroma is also an immune booster and anxiety reliever.

Myrrh is a natural gum or resin harvested from Commiphora trees. It is resinous with an aromatic woody and slight medicinal smell. It can range from bitter and astringent to warm and sweet. Similar to frankincense or pine, it's a cooling scent. The trees are native to Somalia, Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, and parts of Saudi Arabia.

Myrrh is produced by bleeding their waxy sap of the small thorny trees. As it dries, the gum hardens into tears, and the yellowish color darks as it ages. The resin tends to have a smokier and sweeter smell than essential oils, which are distilled through steam and have a more medicinal quality.

Myrrh was among the earliest perfumes used in prayer; in fact, the religious burning of incense gave perfume its name (per fumum — through smoke). It's still a popular ingredient in many modern Oriental fragrances.


From pomanders to the Christmas ham or bottle of wine, this classic scent gives depth to your holiday atmosphere. This spice's scent also helps to relieve sinus problems and respiratory issues during the flu season.

Sweet Orange is traditionally mixed with cinnamon and clove and adds sweetness. It is also known to detoxify the body and help decrease the pain that exists with inflammation.

Like other citrus fruits, bergamot has a distinctive, heady fragrance and flavor. This fragrant oil is used in perfumes, colognes, scented soaps, and it gives Earl Grey tea its signature flavor and aroma. The flesh tastes the same way it smells: tart, acidic, highly fragrant, and spicy.

Although Lavender is traditionally associated with summer, its believed Mary washed Jesus' swaddling clothes with this fragrant herb very much related to the Christmas holidays.

Diffused on their own or blended essential oils create a festive Christmas atmosphere while working to boost moods, decrease anxiety and support the immune system; essential oils remind us of wonderful holiday season memories and help create new ones.

Try creating your custom scent blending Frankincense and Myrrh with other woodsy, earthy scents like Agarwood, Teakwood, Clove, Sandalwood, Patchouli, or play up their sweeter side by blending with Santa's Pipe, Cedar, and Vanilla Bean. Use them in wax form, candles, fragrance oils, reed diffuser, room sprays.

The citrus season runs during the winter months. Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and some heirloom varieties and hybrids are at their freshest and tastiest from December until late March

Why are oranges given at Christmas?

Oranges became a luxury for families of modest means who reserved them as a gift for their children. During the Victorian era, the concept of Christmas was also transforming from a purely religious celebration to one dominated by estates.


Oranges of all kinds are at their best during Britain's winter months – a bright, fragrant blessing to carry us through the darkest days of the year. The clementine is one of the most popular and plentiful varieties at Christmas time, its tight, glossy skin often accompanied by a sprig of zesty leaves. Many of us have fond memories of them dating back to childhood when they were stuffed into Christmas stockings with other nostalgic treats like sugar mice and chocolate coins.

Most people probably don't know where this clementine tradition comes from, but the apocryphal story is a rather charming one. It tells how Saint Nicholas, the 4th-century Greek bishop upon whom Santa Claus was modelled, one day heard of a poor man who had failed to find suitors for his three daughters, lacking money for their dowries. Nicholas sought out the man's house and tipped three sacks of gold down the chimney, where the coins happened to land in the girls' stockings, which were drying beside the fire. The clementines (or oranges) in our modern Christmas stockings are said to be a symbol of the saint's generosity. Poverty and desire probably also played a role in fostering the custom – in times past, oranges were not only an affordable gift but also a brief taste of exotic, sunnier climes.

Try baking Nigella Lawson's simple but intensely aromatic clementine cake and serve it thickly sliced with a pot of freshly brewed tea or a sip of orange liqueur.

Sweet Ginger

The sweet smell of ginger provides an enchanting energy-boosting aroma that promotes clear decision-making during the busy Christmas season.

Pomegranates wired together and lit with tea lights look wonderful in table settings and along shelves and the mantelpiece.

String willow branches, herbs, and fragrant flowers along stairways and picture frames. Holly branches for a pop of festive colour.

Oranges studded with cloves emit a heady heavenly scent.

Herbs tied in small bunches.

Xmas is a time to celebrate mood-enhancing fragrance, to relive childhood memories, and a time to make new ones. A time to put the past behind us and to look forward to a new and hopefully better year ahead.

This article first appeared online, on Home Journal's website, on 23 December 2020.


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