My parents moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2015 - just about the same time Jordan and I moved to Asheville. With my brother in Nashville, we're officially in three different states, so creating holiday schedules has become increasingly challenging.
This year, since we were all already going to be together for Thanksgiving, we decided to celebrate ThanksMas - a new mashup holiday. On November 22nd, I decorated our whole house for Christmas and we opened presents in pajamas and ate our traditional Christmas morning breakfast (except we ate it for supper). The best part was that it was 7 o'clock - we got to have cocktails this time!
One of the easiest ways to get myself into the Christmas spirit is to make it smell like Christmas. There are certain scents each of us ties to certain events - we always get a real tree, for example, so that's one of mine. Aside from that, this extremely simple stovetop recipe does the trick every single time, and will have your guests asking, "What smells so good??"
1 cinnamon stick
2 T ground cinnamon
1 can of cranberry sauce
2 bay leaves
1 T cloves
1 T ground nutmeg
1/2 a navel orange
1/2 a lemon
2 c (or so) of water
This is the easiest thing of all time. You literally dump everything into the pot, stir, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
Once it starts boiling, your house will fill with the most delicious, Christmas-y scent. It smells like a warm cider mixed with a Christmas cookie mixed with...just general goodness. Trust me. Try it.
The best part about this is, it keeps FOREVER. As you boil the water out, you can simply add more water and it starts the whole process over again. I keep this on the back burner of my stovetop all season long, and add more cinnamon and cloves as necessary to give it that nice pop of holiday smell.
A word of caution: after you bring to a boil, make sure to reduce it to a simmer. Otherwise, you'll end up with scorched cranberries!
You probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry already! So - get to work. A perfect Christmas house awaits you!