How to make your home smell like Christmas

Dec 3, 2012 at 7:00 a.m. ET

Learn how to indulge in the intoxicating scents and scent-memories of the holidays. Try these chemical-free ways to make your home smell like Christmas all month long.

Cinnamon scents

Is it beginning to smell a lot like Christmas? Spices, peppermint and conifers give off aromas that are tied to the joy and anticipation of the holiday season. This year, skip air fresheners and other synthetic fragrances. Instead, use natural, chemical-free ways to scent your home with the comforting aromas of Christmas.

Diffuse pure essential oils

Aromatherapy is grounded in chemistry and biology. As Christmas rolls around, put that aside and follow your nose. It's the time of year to indulge in scents that make you feel good. Identify the smells that bring you joy. You may feel excited when you smell pinesap and crisp needles. The warm aromas of clove and cinnamon may remind you of your childhood Christmas mornings. The best way to disperse these scents in your home is to use a nebulizing diffuser. These small devices emit a gentle vapor of water and essential oils. Make sure the oils you buy and diffuse are pure and unadulterated. They should be natural plant-based oils, not chemical fragrance oils.

Light naturally scented candles

Candles provide romantic ambiance and gentle aromas during the holiday season. With any open flame, it's important to take precautions to prevent fires. When it comes to candles, you should also be careful to read the ingredients. Natural candles do not contain fragrance chemicals that may be harmful when inhaled. Look for organic brands that don't emit harmful fumes. Choose soy candles over paraffin candles, which are petroleum-based. During the Christmas season, shop for holiday candles with scents like warm vanilla, spiced plum, sweet mint and fresh cypress.

Heat potpourri on the stove

Your grandmother had it right when she warmed a small pot of cinnamon potpourri on the stove during the holidays. Heat and steam combine to give off intoxicating, gentle aromas. Potpourri doesn't have to be store-bought. For the best scents, create your own stovetop blends. When you use apple cider, fruit and spices, you can even drink your own potpourri when you're finished simmering it for scent diffusion. Use water or cider as a base and experiment with spices such as allspice, anise, clove, cinnamon and vanilla. Play with your blends until you find something that simmers to a beautiful scent and gives your kitchen the perfect holiday aroma.

Decorate with fresh herbs and plant cuttings

Fresh plants emit natural aromas that can be surprisingly potent in your home. For the most classic Christmas scent, decorate your home with a live Christmas tree. If a live tree isn't your style, visit a tree lot for a wreath, or ask the staff for trimmings to make your own decor. The sap and oils from conifers fill your home with the smell of Christmas. Try cinnamon stick bunches for a spicier holiday scent. Display them in festive vases. Fresh sprigs of sage and rosemary give your kitchen a clean holiday scent when kept in water. Remember to first rub the herbs briskly to help release their natural oils.

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