If you are like most people, the first thing that you notice when you walk into a house is the smell. Pet odors hit like a ton of bricks making the house uninviting. Musty, old smells make you want to run right back out the door. Opening the front door to the wafting aroma of holidays gone by is welcoming, inviting and cozy. Scents bring back memories and help to create new ones. If you want your house to be a place where everyone loves to be, add some holiday scent. And... no you do not have to spend hours baking and cleaning.
Pour 2 quarts of water into a pot. Peel an orange and toss the peels into the water. Place five or six sticks of cinnamon into the pot. Grab a small handful of cloves and flip them into the water too. Finally, measure 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract and pour it into the water. Put a lid on the pot and fire up the flame to bring the water to a boil. Take the lid off and lower the flame to the lowest setting, allowing the fragrant water to simmer. Check on the contents of the pot often to make sure the water doesn't boil off. If the water level gets to the point where the orange peels are touching the bottom of the pot and sticking up above the water, add another quart of water, another cinnamon stick or two, a few more fresh cloves and a dash of vanilla. Mmmm... smell the holidays yet? Never leave the pot on the stove boiling if you are not at home or if you are going to sleep.
Cut fragrant fir branches and arrange the branches in vases, baskets or buckets around the house. Add a pretty bow to dress up the branches and disguise their true purpose. Set the baskets or large vases near the door, in the corner of the room or right next to the dog's bed.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar over the foil or paper. Turn the oven off and place the tray in the oven. Smells just like fresh cookies baking.
Save your lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange peels. Spread them out on a pan and let them dry until they feel hard and crispy, usually three to four days. Place a few pinecones on a window sill to dry for a week or so. At night while you snuggle near your fireplace with a good book, your special someone, the kids or even the dog. Throw a handful of dry peels and two to three pinecones on the fire to add a little holiday aroma to the house. Just before your holiday guest arrive toss the pinecones and citrus peels into the fire and you will leave them wondering why your house always smells so good.
Making your house smell delicious and inviting will evoke memories of Christmas in your children, guests, family and friends for year to come. They may smell cinnamon and immediately think of you. What better way to be remembered than for creating good memories.