What does Christmas smell like?
The fragrances associated with the Christmas and the winter holiday season really get you in the festive spirit. Indeed, the very words themselves conjure that seasonal sense of cosiness and warmth: cinnamon, mulled spices, oranges, cloves, hot chocolate and cranberries.
Thus, scents really help to create a festive ambience, whether in the home, the store or in a hotel. As Nina McLaughlin writes in her book, Hammerhead: The Making of a Carpenter, “Sawdust spewed and dusted down onto the pavement, resting in craters in the cement, and the smell of pine moved with it, bright and clean, the smell of Christmas, renewal.” There’s something nostalgic in Christmas scenting – but also a hint of the new year to come.
Here’s our pick of the top festive scents to make any environment smell a bit more like the Holidays:
- Christmas tree – the fragrance of a real white pine or birch tree is a real favourite, with some 30% of people (particularly females) citing it as their favourite Christmas scent. That special fragrance comes from ‘pinene’, prevalent in pines and part of a class of hydrocarbons known as terpenes.
- Fir and balsam – a favourite variant of the Christmas tree, where pine mixes with a peppery base
- Cinnamon – a key festive ingredient is such a seasonal hit that 27% of people think the aroma of the bark of the Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree is the best Christmas scent of all
- Woodlands – The combined smell of fresh evergreens and pine needles stimulates the senses in tandem. Thyme notes sharpens focus, while sage notes relieve depression
- Mulled spices – In the warming aroma of heated and spiced wine and cider, with combinations of cinnamon, clove, orange peel and peppercorns, create an incredibly cosy and nostalgic fragrance
- Peppermint Latte – A cool, active peppermint aroma can help calm and focus this sometimes over-busy season
- Vanilla – A warm vanilla fragrance is a time-honoured way to de-stress frazzled Christmas shoppers and create a comforting Christmas
- Pumpkin Spiced Latte – this combo of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove is an autumnal winner and a great glimpse of the holiday to come
- Gingerbread – particularly beloved in the US, this spicy, combination conjures the baking traditions of the season and powerful childhood memories