A fresh cut tree with twinkling lights fills the living room. The aroma of ham and cloves drifts in from the kitchen, with a slight scent of something sweet being saved for later. The logs on the fire glow red and crackle as the faint smell of smoke blends into the mix. Holiday spices are one of the most anticipated sensations of the season.

The scents of the holiday season stir memories for some and create an unforgettable experience for others. Part of the joy of cooking during these festive times is the smell of the spices and the lingering scents you can almost taste that fills the home.


Cinnamon, one of the most recognizable scents, comes from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree. When we smell cinnamon, most of us think of desserts. However, cinnamon is also commonly used in stews and curries. Consider this recipe for cinnamon and chicken stew.

Whole Living: Cinnamon and Chicken Stew

EatingWell has a nice collection of recipes using cinnamon that include lamajoon (Armenian flatbread with ground meat) pizza, jerk chicken and roast lamb in addition to some tantalizing desserts.

EatingWell: Cinnamon Recipes


Both sweet and spicy, cloves are grown in hot and tropical areas. Cloves blend beautifully with other spices to flavor meats, curries, and marinades. If you prefer cloves with something sweeter, consider pairing them with apples, pears or rhubarb.

Food offers a beef stew recipe that calls for cloves.

Food.com: Beef Stew

Spice Barn features some traditional clove recipes but also a recipe for a tasty dessert of pears with vanilla sauce.

Spice Barn: Clove Recipes


While the cute little gingerbread men may adorn your Christmas tree, the best ginger is growing in sunny Jamaica. A peppery yet subtly sweet spice, its most popular use is in Asian and Indian cooking. During the winter months, Americans like to use the spice in cookies and bread.

How does ginger coconut chicken sound? Maybe a ginger-grilled salmon salad? Take a look at EatingWell’s ginger recipes.

EatingWell: Healthy Ginger Recipes


Sweet and nutty smelling, nutmeg is also grown in tropical regions and works great as an holiday space.  While most popular in desserts, nutmeg is also common in cheese dishes.

Shape: Nutmeg Mac-N-Cheese

Nutmeg is also particularly good on vegetables such as potatoes, spinach, and squash.

Smell-good mixes

If you want to enjoy the smell of the holiday spices without cooking a meal, try one of these recipes that combine cinnamon, cloves, and apple juice into a simmering pot for scents that last weeks.

Food.com: Crock-pot Holiday Fragrance

Food.com: Recipe for a Holiday Scent

When you are ready to spice up your next gathering, call Serendipity and let us fill your home with the smells of foods inspired by recipes from all over the world.

Happy Holidays!