The Best Holiday Scents


The sugary scent of grandma’s cookies, the brisk pine needles of evergreens, the toasty scent of crackling wood in the fire—they all make up our favorites. Nothing says Christmas quite like those iconic holiday smells.

Being in the city this holiday season has presented some olfactory problems for me. My apartment doesn’t have a fireplace, the mini Christmas tree I have is plastic, and I’ve never been able to get sugar cookies right. So I asked myself how to remedy this problem. My conclusion: candles!

Finding a candle with a balanced scent can be a lot harder than you expect. Many are too overpowering, and some smell downright awful. And after sniffing a couple in the stores, everything starts to smell the same. In order to save myself, and my nostrils, from countless hours of inhaling questionable candles, I asked my co-workers if they had any favorites. And oh, did they. I honestly did not expect the level of Christmas-candle loyalty that I found. Apparently, I’ve been missing out!

Here are a few holiday scents that are sure to make your home feel as cozy as the real smells do. My apartment already feels so much more festive.

This Spiked Cider candle ($29) will fill your home with the scent of apples, cinnamon, cloves and buttery dark rum. It’s perfect for those cold nights cuddled up on the couch.

If you want your home to smell like a quaint log cabin in the middle of the woods, the Alpine Frost candle ($19) is for you.

A fresh-cut Christmas tree is something that can’t be beat. This Iowa Pine candle ($6.99) allows those who don’t have a tree inside to experience their intoxicating smell.

This Double Oaked Bourbon + Salted Brown Sugar Caramel candle ($28) adds a touch of the sweet kitchen aromas without being too over the top—the Bourbon helps relax the scent into a wintery blend.

The combination of winter spruce, balsam fir and pine cones in this Balsam Fir candle ($17.95) will remind you of hours spent searching for the perfect Christmas tree to bring home.

Let us know: what are your go-to candles?

Kayla Alewel is an editorial assistant at Martha Stewart Living. She spends hours wandering through book shops and searching for a Manhattan bakery that can compete with the ones in Paris. Follow her on Pinterest @kaylaalewel.

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