Scents of the Season

Simple Yuletide Crafts for a Warm, Welcoming Holiday Home

By Audrey Ashe

What comes to mind when you think of the December holidays? The comforting taste of a secret family recipe, the twinkling baubles around the house, the flickering shadows and crackle of a warming fire? But wait, isn’t something missing? Familiar, nostalgic holiday scents, of course! There’s something about December’s sweet, woodsy, and spicey scents that have the power to send everyone back to the magical, cherished moments of childhood.

Take a walk with me down memory lane as we explore some fun, crafty, and delectable ways to cap off your year and fill your home with classic holiday scents. 

Bring the Outdoors Inside
Sweet, Refreshing Evergreen Scents

Nothing is more timeless, versatile, and stylish than an arrangement of evergreen boughs. Look for fresh, fragrant, flexible boughs with bright needles and slightly sticky to the touch. Try combing pine, cedar, fir, spruce, and other wintry trimmings to blend and maximize the scent of the outdoors.

Tie boughs together and arrange safely around a candle centerpiece. Attach them to a wire hoop to make a wreath and embellish it with different pinecones for a natural look. Wrap them around to your bannister and railings. Create garlands and swags to hang over doorways. Drape a bough over your mantel for a simple, rustic look.

Handmade Non-edible Cinnamon Cookie Ornaments

That’s right, cookies aren’t just for eating. These craft cookies make cute ornaments to keep for yourself and give to friends. And they’re a fun way to keep the kids busy for a while.

In a bowl, mix together:

  • 1 cup cinnamon
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp. cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. Elmer’s glue

Roll the dough out to one quarter inch thickness. Cut into your favorite holiday shapes, punch holes in the tops with a straw, and transfer the pieces to parchment paper. Dry them slowly in a 200° oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours until they are dry but not cracked. Alternatively, set them out to dry in a sunny spot for four to five days. When dry, adorn them with glitter glue, paint pens, you name it! Or go the traditional route by gluing on sprinkles and candies. Hang them on the tree or in any room as an aromatic ornament. String them up in a kitchen or across the mantel as a fragrant garland.

Homemade Slow-cooker Mulled Cider

What better to entertain your friends’ and family’s noses and tastebuds than with a sweet, spicy elixir?

For this delicious drink recipe, you will need:

  • 1 gallon unfiltered apple juice
  • 1 medium orange, slices cut into one quarter inch pieces
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into quarter inch slices
  • 4 to 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tbsp. cloves

Add all ingredients into the slow cooker and simmer on low for a minimum of 4 hours. Serve and garnish with orange peel. Not only will this fill your home with one of the most classic Yuletide scents, it will satisfy your sweet tooth and warm you up on cold winter nights. For a mature kick, add a nip of dark rum or bourbon before serving.

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