Most people love for their homes to smell nice, and as the season changes and holidays come around, the preferred scents everyone wants change to something that just smells warmer.

But while candles are often the easy way to go, the good ones can be quite expensive.

You know that the candle industry is getting expensive when Vogue magazine has a piece titled "Are candles the new luxury collectibles?" It seems like everywhere you go, there are brands that just jump out at you and they are constantly getting tougher and tougher to afford, despite the fact that they smell amazing.

Maybe it's the economy, or maybe it's just family tradition, but there are several people who are turning to a tried and true (and cheaper) way of making the house smell fantastic: Simmer pots.

The basic idea is really no different than potpourri - in fact, simmer pots are also called simmer potpourri or stovetop potpourri. But, instead of dried ingredients, simmer pots use hot water and steam to release the fragrances of the ingredients into the air.

So what are the go-to ingredients for a good holiday season simmer pot?

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Probably two of the most important ingredients you need to make any warm scent work for the fall and winter are clove and cinnamon, both of which can be found in one of the most common simmer pot recipes online.

  • 1 apple (with peel)
  • 1 orange (with peel)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Pinch or two of whole cloves
  • 1 cup cranberries

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the ingredients and reduce to a simmer. This can be left on for hours, filling the house with a very warm, inviting holiday scent. The clove and cinnamon will be the dominant scents, but the fruit will complement them perfectly.

There are some who even advocate recycling their used ingredients for use the next day. Strain all the ingredients, put them in a storage bag or container, and use again. You can also prep and freeze your ingredients and pull them out of the freezer whenever you're ready to make your simmer pot.

You can also add things like rosemary and vanilla to enhance the aromas even more.

Of course, there are other great combinations, as well.

Some recipes online encourage you to combine fir clippings (maybe from your Christmas tree) along with your clove and citrus to really get that Christmas tree smell going through the entire house. Others say ginger is a must-have ingredient.

Regardless of what ingredients you use, though, if you're looking for a great way to make the house smell like the holidays without breaking the bank on candles, maybe simmer pots are for you.

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