Welcome to our Online Advent Calendar series, where we’re doing 25 days of Christmas challenges to get everyone into the spirit!

Get your house smelling Christmasy.

Oh man, is there anything better than opening your front door and getting this whoosh of good Christmas smells?

I’m a big believer in the “Southern Living” homemade spice bag, only I never put the ingredients in a bag. I toss them all – an orange peel cut into strips, two 3-inch cinnamon sticks, six whole allspice, six whole cloves and eight black peppercorns – into a big pot of water and let the mixture simmer for hours.

However, if you don’t want your house to smell like pomanders on steroids, there are many other options:

  • Bring in some fresh pine boughs. Cut them yourself, or stop by a tree lot and see if they have some stragglers you can take home.
  • Bake a batch of gingerbread, sugar cookies or cinnamon rolls.
  • Make some gingerbread play-dough for the kiddos.
  • Pick up some hand soap in a seasonal scent. Like Mrs. Meyer’s Orange Clove. Or Method’s Gingerbread.
  • Bring a rosemary plant indoors.
  • Hang some candy canes or homemade cinnamon hearts from your tree.
  • Simmer a batch of mulled cider or wine.
  • Bake some candied pecans. Or candied bacon. These totally count.
  • Make a few actual pomanders to scatter around the house.
  • Light a Christmas-themed candle.

Selected Christmas TV:

  • My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas (7pm/6c, TLC)
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (7pm/6c, ABC Family)
  • Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas (8pm/7c, AMC)
  • The Shop Around the Corner (8pm/7c, TCM)
  • Scrooged (9pm/8c, ABC Family)
  • Holiday Affair (9:45pm/8:45c, TCM)