Make Your Home Smell Like Christmas With Simmering Stovetop Potpourri

Simmering Potpourri 3

Whenever I smell certain scents it can transport me back in time in an instant. For example last week I walked past someone wearing a perfume that brought back memories of the perfume I used to wear in high school and I instantly felt like I had slipped back in time and was actually there again. (Frightening thought! lol)  The same thing happens for me when I smell what I call Christmas scents….cinnamon, orange, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla. I am immediately put into the “Christmas Spirit” and fond recollections of Christmases past come flooding to my mind.

Today at the grocery store I spied some oranges and decided it was high time to put together some simmering potpourri for the house. I gathered up the usual ingredients and then I recalled my sister Rebecca telling me recently about the Williams Sonoma scent she had been able to replicate using essential oils. It was basically lemon, rosemary and vanilla. I decided to try a stovetop version of that as well.

simmering potpourri

While there really isn’t much to making your own simmering potpourri…I will put it in recipe format just to make it extra easy.

First I made up my usual brew….

Christmas Potpourri

In a small saucepan add:

  • 1 cut up orange (you can also slice the orange)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half (I think it releases more of the fragrance)
  • 1 cup of fresh cranberries
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons cloves (whole or ground)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons nutmeg

Water to fill to about 1 inch below the rim. (You could also use apple juice or cider!)

Place on stove and simmer on low. Soon your house will smell like happiness! :-)

simmering potpourri

simmering potpourri

Before the “scents of Christmas” got too intense I decided to take it off the stove and put together the Williams Sonoma Signature Scent Potpourri...I couldn’t wait to see (smell?) what it smelled like.

Williams Sonoma Signature Scent Potpourri

In a small saucepan add:

  • 1 – 2 sliced up lemons
  • 2 – 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons vanilla

Water to about 1 inch below the rim. Place on stove and simmer on low.

Oh my!  This had the BEST scent! Even though it wasn’t technically “Christmas potpourri”…it sure smelled nice…and from now on is going to REMIND me of Christmas every time I smell it. :-)  Funny how our sense of smell works like that.

simmering potpourri

simmering potpourri


What does your home smell like at Christmastime? 

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  1. CTY says

    THANX for the idea. Never thought much about scents & the holiday season but I love the smell of rosemary and mint separately of course; and then Suave made a Rosemary Mint shampoo & conditioner. Now I am crazy for those scents together. Sad to say Suave has discontinued the scent. I have been stocking up whenever I see it. Gone from stores now in my area–alas but I search online with mixed results.
    I have both growing in my garden–I think I’ll experiment some. Like the little crock pot idea.

  2. says

    Yum! I always love the cinnimon-scents around the holidays, but I’m totally going to try the vanilla-rosemary version. Thanks for the great ideas!

  3. Jess F says

    What do you think about doing this in a small crockpot (one of those for dips) and then being able to hide it in the living room so the smell gets that room? Our house was built in 1910 so does NOT have the open concept main floor and I would worry that the aroma would be too strong in the kitchen before it got to the living room…

    • Kim in Michigan says

      Jess, i think that is a great idea! and safer too! I have left the pot on the stove to long, once or twice..NOT a happy smell when that happens! I started using a clip on timer, (my shirt) so i would not forget! I will have to check out the crock pot dip containers! Thanks for the idea!

  4. Linda says

    I have given the ingredients for simmering potpourri as gifts for several years…an orange, a lemon, a few whole cloves, a cinnamon stick & a couple of bay leaves. Put in a little clear Christmas bag and then in a small basket or container. This year I decided to dehydrate the oranges & lemons first. Makes a very pretty (and useful) little gift to have on hand for “emergencies”! Or for people you would like to give ‘just a lttle something’ to without spending a lot.

  5. Deebi27 says

    Oh my…I am smelling it now and nothing is even on the stove! What about using the crock pot to cook it all in?

  6. Angie Huckleby says

    Just made your Christmas creation without the cranberries cause I didn’t have any. It smells awesome and goes thru the whole apartment. Thanks for the idea!!

    • says

      I have made this with ground rosemary and it is very nice. I am sure it is not as fragrant as fresh, but it still works!

  7. Kristi Myers says

    I love wonderful smells in my house, I guess that’s why I am so tempted in the candle section of a store! I can’t wait to try your suggestions for today. This sounds like a great idea to use when showing properties for sale or rent! Thanks Jillee, God Bless You.

  8. jkincolorado says

    I love the addition of Rosemary – never thought to do that! I usually simmer cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla and a little water on the stove. I’ll be adding Rosemary this year thanks to your suggestion!