One of the great things about having a significant other is that when it comes time for the holidays, you get to do double the fun traditions. Oh, you mean your family has an annual cookie recipe too?? Double the cookies! We actually did a few new-to-me traditions this year from my guy's side of the family, and one of them is this amazing stove simmer that his mom makes every year (we love you, Martha!). It's the perfect scent to fill your house with while you sit by the fire or have guests over, and the addition of the greenery in this simmer creates the perfect Christmas tree smell.
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or a few cinnamon sticks)
1/4 cup chopped orange rind
1/2 teaspoon whole or ground cloves
2 tablespoons chopped apple peel
1/4 cup evergreen trimmings (use scissors or small pruning shears)
1/4 cup cranberries
2 cups water
Add all your ingredients into a small pot and heat over medium-high heat. When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low so that the water is on a low simmer. In a few minutes your house should smell amazing! You can keep the same pot on the stove and add more water as it boils down (but make sure the pot doesn't boil dry!). Add more ingredients and water as needed to keep the scent alive as the days go on. Of course, this is meant to be enjoyed when you are home and nearby the pot, so don't leave the stove on if you are leaving the house or going to bed!
If you feel weird about putting pine needles in your cooking pot, you can also do this in a clean tin can (that's how Todd's mom makes hers). Just remove the label and the top and set it directly on your stove, or place it in a pot with several inches of water and boil it that way. Just replace the water in the tin and pot as needed.
If you don't have an evergreen tree in your yard or a Christmas tree with branches to spare, you can hover around where Christmas trees are sold, and they will usually let you have a few branches if you ask nicely enough. Or, you can lurk around the unattended Christmas trees in your grocery store parking lot (because it's closer than the nice tree store) and break off a few of the tiny bottom branches that they will probably cut off anyway when they put it in the tree stand. But, I mean, who would do that?? Now, go, make your house smell like Christmas! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.