The festive season is full of wonderful fragrance. From the warm spices of mulled wine and mince pies to the fresh pine of tinsel covered Christmas trees, each scent fills our home with nostalgia and familiarity. Here you'll find the ultimate guide to scenting your home this Christmas, helping you create the perfect cosy atmosphere for seasonal cheer.

WHAT ARE THE TOP CHRISTMAS SCENTS?

Christmas fragrances are filled with nostalgia and tradition. While scent and the memories evoked by it are incredibly personal, there are certain smells that instantly fill a room with festive feeling. So what are the top twelve christmassy smells? Here’s a list of our favourite festive fragrances…

 

  1. Christmas Tree
  2. Roasted Nuts
  3. Mulled Wine
  4. Log Cabins
  5. Pumpkin Spice
  6. Fireplace
  7. Snow
  8. Church
  9. Spiced Orange

1. Christmas Tree

Notes: Pine, Fir & Spruce

For thousands of years people have been using evergreen fir trees as an integral part of winter festivals. From pagan festivities where branches were used to decorate homes during the winter solstice reminding them that spring would return, to the 16th century tradition of decorating trees that we still do today.

 

It’s not just the glorious greenery that we are drawn to. I have yet to meet a person who didn’t enjoy the sharply sweet scent of pine, spruce and fir trees. I’m not talking about that awful fake-pine smell found in car air-freshners, but the refreshing smell given off by real conifers.

 

That piney scent is actually due to chemical compounds called terpenes that are found within the trees resin. There are a number of different terpenes given off by Christmas trees, each giving slightly different fragrance notes. β-pinene has a fresh, woody fragrance, while Bornyl acetate provides the “heart of pine” because it produces a rich odour, described as balsamic or camphorous.

 

Different Christmas tree species give off slightly different scents depending on the levels of these terpenes they give off. Other scent notes you may be able to smell on your tree are limonene (a citrus scent), myrcene ( imagine the aroma of hops, thyme, and cannabis), camphene (a camphor smell), and α-phellandrene (peppermint and citrus).

 

You don’t have to fill your home with pine needles to bring the fragrance of Christmas trees into your home. We have a great selection of scented candles that capture the fresh woodyness without the mess!

2. Roasted Nuts

Notes: Chesnuts, Pecans & Brazil Nuts

If you’ve ever wandered around a Christmas market in the brisk coldness of December, the smell of toasting nuts will be a warming memory. The scent of roasted chestnuts is a Christmas scent staple –  the open flames crackling, heating them up until they pop open sharing their sweet nutty-ness with passers-by. Delicious.

3. Mulled Wine

Notes: Cinnamon, Ginger, Star Anise

Mulled wine, Glühwein, Vin chaud, Glogg: Whatever you call it, the evocative aroma of this classic, Winter-warming drink is a festive favourite. The warming fragrance of hot wine combined with a myriad of spices will heat you up on even the coldest December evening. The smells of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and citrus, combined with sumptuous red-wine are a treat for the senses.

 

This scent will wrap your home in warmth and joy, filling it with contented cosiness. If you’d prefer to avoid a very boozy winter there are plenty of scented candles that will fill your room with the spiced fruity fragrance.

 

4. Log Cabins

Notes: Cedar, Wood, 

Take a trip to the Nordic wilderness, where dark nights filled with stars reign and your sanctuary from winters cold is a cosy log cabin tucked amongst the trees. Inside, the sweet musty smell of dried wood fills you with security and cosiness. Fragrant smoke lingers from last nights fire, and favourite blankets envelop you in warmth.

 

If this festive daydream doesn’t quite reflect your reality, the next best thing is to light a woody candle and let the fragrance transport your imagination to that rustic cabin in the woods.

 

5. Spiced Pumpkin

Notes: Pumpkin, Ginger 

From the moment the trees begin to shed their leaves, the calling for Pumpkin Spiced Lattes wakes up within us – the unquenchable lust for pumpkin goodness continues throughout the festive season, from hearty soups made from jack-o-lantern innards to thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

 

If you can’t get enough of pumpkin then I highly suggest you fill your home with it’s delectable cosy scent with help from one of the many autumnal scented candles that captures this fall fragrance favourite.

6. Fireplace

Notes: Smoke, Wood 

Gather around the open fire, telling tall tales of Father Christmas and his merry band of flying reindeer as the wind howls outside. The fragrant wood smoke adds an extra layer of cosy to the room, delicately swirling around the stockings hung ready to be filled on Christmas Eve.

 

Luckily you don’t need to install a woodburner to recreate this ultimate winters evening – just light a scented candle like D.S. & Durga’s Portable Fireplace to enjoy the fragrance of a real fire in your home.

7. Snow

Notes: Snow

 

What does snow smell like? You could almost say it surely smells of nothing, but if you’ve ever had the pleasure of being in a wintery wonderland with powdery snowflakes filling the sky you’ll recollect an almost indescribable but undeniable snow scent.

 

According to olfactory scientists it’s not just in your imagination; right before it snows smells in the air really do change. The fragrance of snow is created by three things: cold weather, humidity, and a stimulated nerve in your brain.

 

When it comes to snow scented candles, the fragrance is more often crafted from personal memories with notes that allude to time spent in the snow rather than the fragrance of the snow itself. For example Skandinavisk’s SNÖ scented candle reflects the crisp scent of frozen wood and berries, while other scent creators use clean bright notes such as cotton, water and citrus that reflect snow’s freshness.

 

8. Church

Notes: Incense, Frankincense, Myrrh

 

On Christmas Eve, many a parishioner makes their way against the cold night towards the glowing warmth of their village church. Inside the midnight gathering, Christians welcome in Christmas Day with jubilant celebration.

 

As well as song and church bells filling the air, many scents accompany Midnight Mass. From the mossy fragrance of the ancient church building’s cold stone and old wood, to the evocative blend of candle smoke, frankincense, sandalwood and church incense. Sacred, timeless, evocative and warming, it’s a combination that instills a sense of reverence and communal celebration.

 

9. Spiced Orange

Notes: Mandarin, Orange

As a child, amid the chocolate coins and small gifts in my Christmas stocking each year, without fail there would always be a small orange. Once upon a time an orange was the pinnacle of Christmas gifts, filling a child with exotic wonder and some well need vitamin C. Unfortunately, this was always lost upon me and the fruit was either mislaid under piles of shredded wrapping paper or added back into the fruit bowl for someone else’s enjoyment.

 

According to legend, the tradition of oranges at Christmas comes from the story of St. Nicholas. When a poor man was unable to marry off his daughters because he lacked the money for their dowries, jolly old St. Nick came to the rescue tossing three gold balls down the man’s chimney. Each of these golden balls found their way into the daughters’ stockings, which hd been hung by the fire to dry. Later in history, people began to honour the story and saint by gifting oranges instead of spheres of gold.

 

Oranges are also a traditional Christmas tree decoration. Whether sliced and hung with a ribbon or spiked with an intricate design of spiced cloves, the oranges gradually dry as they hang, giving off the spicy citrus scent many of us find integral to the festive season. Known as pomanders, these spherical scent decorations have been used in various forms for centuries, firstly as a way to ward off bad spirits and then in the 17th century becoming a popular Christmas gift.

What are the festive fragrances that make Christmas come to life for you?

Let us know your favourite Christmas scents in our comments section below!

You can find more Christmas scented candles here.

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