Best Christmas Smell Recipe


I am a crappy cook. There, I said it. Maybe not completely inept, but I really dislike it and mostly avoid it as much as possible. I do it out of necessity and the desire to avoid filling my family full of junk. Given how much I love to create and entertain, it’s kind of shocking to say, but GET ME OUT OF THE KITCHEN!!

My kids rarely walk in the door to that fresh-baked-cookie-smell (okay, about twice a year) and my Christmas baking consists of only a couple of things that I try to bang off all in one afternoon. My motto: Git’er’done! Quick and dirty.

Despite my kitchen shortcomings, I sure love those Christmas smells. It’s amazing how a smell can lift your mood and make you actually feel festive. It even helps to lift the “December-Zombie-Mom” haze.

This is a quick recipe I put together almost a decade ago. Now, every year, it sits on my stove for all of December. Each pot lasts 5-7 days, and anytime I am home or especially if anyone is popping over, I let it simmer for a bit.

People always ask me for the recipe, or at least they ask me what I’m baking. Ha! Squat!

Let’s be honest, December is hard. And more honesty? We make it so much harder on ourselves. This is the easiest thing you will do all month.

Easy Christmas Smell Recipe:

  • 1 orange, sliced, peel on

  • 1/2 C fresh or frozen cranberries

  • 1/4 of a lemon, sliced, peel on (optional…have done it without when I am short)

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 2 heaping TBSP of whole cloves

  • 1 tsp of peppercorns

  • 1 tsp vanilla

Best of all? There are no instructions! Dump it into a medium pot of water and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer on low if you want or just turn it on anytime you want to spice it up again. Top up the water when it gets low.

Because you aren’t eating it, you don’t even have to refrigerate it. I often put it into the cool garage at night so that it lasts longer, but you don’t have to. After 5-7 days, throw your concoction in the compost and start again.

Spice it up ladies!



Above, I tested out dehydrating the fruit and making “Christmas Smell In a Bag”….nearly just as good (I give it 4/5 Stars….the fresh stuff gets a full 5!). I made a few extra bags, and will attach a recipe card to it and have it on hand in case I need a little something to give this year.