Last-Minute Gift Idea: Holiday Scent Bag

Posted by Julie Lewis on 12/18/2014

Are you a little stressed because you are short a gift or two and you feel like you're running out of time? This quick, last-minute gift idea can come to your rescue. You can easily make several at the same time! 

The holidays are my favorite time of year, and I love the smells! When I lived in Temple, Texas I went to a girls' night out for our newlywed Sunday school class. I walked into the girl's house, and it smelled amazing. She taught us how to put together these scent bags that night, and I fell in love with them! I made them for everyone that Christmas, and I continually had one burning on my stove, letting the smell of oranges, cinnamon and cloves fill my little apartment. That was seven years ago, and I am still making these scent bags every year! I love tying them up with fall ribbon and giving them to my girls' teachers right before Thanksgiving, and then I tie them up with Christmas ribbon to give to friends as Christmas gifts! I always buy enough supplies to use for my home as well.

The smell always reminds me of the joyous season and also of my time in that tiny apartment as a newlywed in Temple, Texas. Enjoy!

  • A handful of cloves (about 1 cup)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 long cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 large, clear party favor bag
  • Raffia or ribbon
  • Seasonal scrapbook paper of your choice
  • Instructions to boil potpourri 


Put a handful of cloves into the clear party bag. Carefully place the orange, lemon, and lime in the bag on top of the cloves. Add the 4 bay leaves, and then the cinnamon sticks.

Tie the bag with the twist ties that come with them, and then tie raffia or ribbon around that.

Cut 2 pieces of your fall or Christmas scrapbook paper and glue them together so that there is a print on the front and back. Print off the directions for boiling the potpourri and the verse below. Glue the directions to one side of the paper, and glue the verse to the other side.


Tie it onto your ribbon or raffia, and it is ready to give!

About the ingredients

It is best to buy these things in bulk and make a few bags at a time. If buying in bulk and you are in the Oklahoma City area, you can buy a bag of dried cloves at CAO NGUYEN Asian food market (2668 N. Military Ave.) in OKC. I buy a large container of bay leaves at Sam's along with a bag of oranges, a bag of lemons, and a bag of limes. One bag of each fruit makes approximately 8 to 10 scent bags. You can get cinnamon sticks at Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart, and buy the clear party favor bags at any party store, Wal-Mart, or craft store.

Holiday Scent

Cut lemon, lime, and orange into quarters. Combine fruit, spices, and 2 quarts of water into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer as long as desired. Cover any leftover mixture, refrigerate several days, and reuse. Add more water as needed.

Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ 2 Corinthians 2: 14-15

As the instructions state, once this placed in the pan, this can be re-heated and used for several days, as long as you keep the fruit and spices covered with water when simmering. It is a great way to quickly add a little holiday scent to your home. Don't forget to attach the instructions and also a Scripture. We would love to have you comment below about what is your favorite scent/aroma!




LaurenS Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 10:03 am
oh i really like this! i like cinnamon/spice smells!

Renee Sansom Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 1:17 pm
Oh how fun this will be and such a great idea! I can't wait to get started on it. I would have to say that my favorite scent is the cinnamon smell. I was walking down the aisle at Hobby Lobby and I sniffed my way straight into the Cinnamon. I love it. It smells so fresh and crisp and it reminds me of Grandma's house during the holiday season.

Mary Rosacker Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 1:26 pm
OOOOOH. This is so, so sweet & vintagey. I really, really dig it!

Tara Zellner Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 1:38 pm
I love this idea! For houses on the market, this would be great when they have showings or open houses!

Sherri Banister Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Thank you for sharing all the wonderful ideas, my kids and I plan on making this one for giveaways for our friends. It will be our girls night fun. :)
My favorite scent is holiday blend of cinnamon spice from Dillards, it's a wonderful potpouri.

kelly carpenter Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Awesome idea for a gift and even for your own home! My favorite scent for the holiday season is anything cinnamon!

Karen Blasingame Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 4:24 pm
I LOVE this!! I would love to make these for our flock couples!

Christy Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 4:28 pm
I love this idea! It would make great teacher gifts - even though we homeschool ;-) I love the smells of pumpkin, cloves and cinnamon at Christmas time!

Samantha Wright Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 4:48 pm
I love this scent! After seeing this idea a few years ago at Gift-Giving, I have made it for neighbors at Christmas and it is always a big hit. Be sure and explain that it is a scent bag. I have had a few not read the tag and think I was giving them a pretty bag of fruit. The large tag in the photo is a great idea.
It also makes a wonderful hostess gift this time of year.

Pam Yates Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 4:52 pm
I received this last year as a present and LOVED it! Totally forgot about this until this wonderful reminder! Thanks!

Laura Sheriff Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 5:26 pm
Made this years ago when you first showed me Julie and LOVE, LOVE it! Easy, thoughtful, gift and smells wonderful!

Angela J Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 6:13 pm
This looks great. I will have to try it out this weekend and make up a few! Thank you

Lisa Newbrough Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 7:13 pm
Thanks for another great idea!

Kristi Scott Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 8:42 pm
These are great! My favorite scents are the Yankee candles Buttercream Frosting and Cranberry Chutney.

Nancy Jones Says:
November 18th, 2010 at 9:34 pm
I love this idea for my neighbors! I always want to give them something small and the scripture verse on the back is a wonderful way to spread the good news of the gospel! Wow, since I'm a first-timer to this site, I wait, in anticipation, for your next gift idea! God bless you all!

Shari Says:
November 19th, 2010 at 10:03 am
My favorite scents are those at Christmas. Any store -- Dillards, Hobby Lobby -- that has a blend of Christmas scents in potpourri or candles just makes my day! I like anything from pumpkin to pine to cinnamon. I've never made my own so this will be fun.

Sandy Rodriguez Says:
November 19th, 2010 at 10:03 am
I love this idea!! One of my favorite aromas is to come into the house when pumpkin pies are baking!!

Corbin Says:
November 19th, 2010 at 2:04 pm
Love me a good pumpkin smell...And the fresh smell of my kids AFTER their bath (not before...eeew)!

Nancy Sweet-Fitzgibbon Says:
November 20th, 2010 at 8:09 pm
Favorite smell - wood fires and gingerbread baking. I agree - kids right after a bath is right up there too all year long!
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