How to Make Your House Smell Like Christmas

A metal pot filled with water, orange and apple slices, and one star anise on a counter

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

There’s nothing like the warm smell of Christmas during the holidays. Walking into a home with the sweet, cinnamon, citrusy smell brings instant comfort and is almost therapeutic. 

While homes typically carry the Christmas smell due to what’s been cooking or baking, you can make the smell last even longer by making your own “Christmas” mixture or potpourri. In this way, your home can smell inviting any time of year with only a few easy-to-find ingredients. 

My preference for getting my house to smell like Christmas quickly is to make a potpourri stew pot, rather than taking the time to make dried potpourri. Once you begin stewing the ingredients, your whole house will begin smelling like Christmas after 10 minutes, and you can leave the mixture on the stovetop for up to 8 hours. 

Things You'll Need: 

  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 large apple
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 Tbsp. cloves
  • 1 star anise, optional
  • 2 whole nutmegs


  1. Peel the orange and place it in a medium-sized pot, along with a chopped apple (any kind of apple will work), 4 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons of cloves, 1 star anise and 2 whole nutmegs.
  2. Fill with water and set on the stovetop over high heat. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 15 minutes. 


  • When you’re finished entertaining, you can drain the water from the pot and discard the ingredients. Once this Christmas stew is formed, you can leave it in the kitchen, or transfer it to an insulated pot and set it in any room of the house if you’d like – it can always be reheated.
  • If you prefer the scent of pine over apples and oranges, you can forage outside for sprigs of fresh pine needles. Use these sprigs along with cinnamon and cloves for the stovetop potpourri.