Christmas lights are fantastic, a tree is fun to decorate, and stockings are great for stuffing. All truths. But if you don't have a festive scent wafting through your home, then your holiday sensorial experience is missing something.
I'm not talking super-strong Pine-Sol here, although if a faint, fresh fir is your speed, I've still got you covered. Subtle jolly is the name of the game, and it comes in many varieties, from sweet sugar plum scents and complex junipers, to Christmas cookies and cocktails.
There's something seasonal for everyone. And even if you're not a candle person, consider indulging in a fragrant soap or two. Most are under $10, and your house guests will definitely wash their hands.
I wish you could get a whiff of these candles and soaps that smell like Christmas. Because this site hasn't figured out Smell-O-Vision, here's my best attempt to describe them for your nose.
- Peppermint Dish Soap, $4 at Mrs. Meyers: Fans of Mrs. Meyer's limited-edition scents stock up on the plant-based soaps and hoard them all year long. That's a bit much, if you ask me, but if there ever was one to go overboard for, this candy cane-like soap is it.
- Winter Rose + Pine Petite Botanical Candle, $28 at Rosy Rings: This little candle looks as good as it smells. You can actually see pieces of the pine needles, rose petals, and juniper berries, which create the candle's sweet-yet-woodsy scent.
- Mini Tree Candle, $32 at LAFCO: Fake tree? No problem! Just get this unique blend of pine needles, spruce, balsam fir, and incense blazing and people will think you chopped your Tannenbaum down yesterday. It's a bit spendy for the size, but at least you can clean and reuse the glass holder after the holidays.
- Iced Gingerbread Jar Candle, $28 at Yankee Candle: You have to be a sugary scent kind of person to get behind a cookie swap-themed collection of candles, but I did promise something for everyone, right? So if the aroma of artificial baked goods is okay in your book, then save yourself a few calories and try the Iced Gingerbread.
- Saffron Winter Rose Soap, $11 at Caldrea: It seems like Caldrea soaps exist solely to decorate the countertops of designer kitchens and bathrooms, so the fact that they're super nourishing for hands makes them a real win-win. They consistently trot out layered scents for Christmas, and the Saffron Winter Rose is the winner if you like florals but still want to be festive.
- Febreze Fresh-Twist Cranberry Candle, $8: For those spaces where you're fighting other (read: bad) smells (think: bathrooms or near pet beds), this tart cranberry candle will go the extra mile to eliminate those competing odors.
- Vanilla Chai Foaming Hand Wash, $4 at Method: I like what the holidays mean for Method's perfumers — a hot cup of tea by the fire. I can get behind that creativity and coziness, so their sweet-and-spicy Vanilla Chai will be a staple in my home.
- Noel Candle, $25 at The Good Home Co.: This soy-paraffin blend features real Frasier to get the Christmas scent just right. It's one of the more subtle sprucey smells out there.
- Deep Steep Liquid Hand Soap in Sugar Plum, $5 at T.J. Maxx: Fans of fruity smells (and The Nutcracker) will appreciate this sweet bargain blend. Bonus points for a formula that contains argan oil to combat winter dryness.
- Sparkly Ginger Martini, $26 at Kohl's: You never want to overdo it on the drinks. This fizzy, spirited pillar candle — in a retro chic ceramic jar — can help you get a faux fill.