DIY Simmering Scent: Potpourri for the Stovetop

Make your own DIY Simmering Scent (Potpourri) to give as a homemade gift for the holidays. Such an easy and budget friendly Christmas gift idea!

jars of stovetop potpourri with tags

Everyone has their own way of celebrating the holidays…especially Christmas. However, there are a few things that are universal, and that families all over the world incorporate into their own traditions. A Christmas tree, pine boughs, Christmas music, baked goods, and candy. In addition to the sights and sounds of Christmas, there are also smells. That’s where this DIY Simmering Scent (or Potpourri) comes in. What if you could package up those smells and give them away as a wonderful, made-from-the-heart gift? Well…you can.

simmering scent potpourri ingredients

Making your own DIY simmering scent (or potpourri) is not only easy, it’s a budget-friendly and fun project. It’s an all-natural way to make your home smell good without candles, sprays, or other chemicals. Combine your favorite natural elements, add water, simmer on the stove, and breathe in the lovely smell of Christmas.

Supplies Needed

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Scented Natural Elements

How To Make

Combine any of the elements listed above for your very own personal simmering scent. For one “serving,” measure enough scent mixture to fill one to two cups. Note: if you are making the potpourri for yourself, and plan to use it immediately, fresh citrus, cranberries, and apples work beautifully. If you plan to package it, it’s best to use dried fruit. 

jars of stovetop potpourri

Directions For Simmering

  • Place the scent mixture in a pan or tea kettle on the stove.
  • Cover the mixture with water. (Some items will float. That’s what you want.)
  • Heat on medium until it begins to slightly boil, and then turn the burner as low as it can go.
  • Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Keep an eye on it, and if the water begins to evaporate, just add more.
  • Make sure the water never evaporates completely.
  • READER TIP: a mini crockpot is a great substitute for a saucepan on the stove!
handcrafted christmas simmering scent potpourri

Packaging Ideas

If you want to give your simmering scent as a gift, it can be packaged in mason jars, cellophane bags tied with ribbon, or kraft coffee bags. For a lovely, custom touch to add to your packaging, tie on a tag with festive red and white twine. Get the printable tag featured in this post by filling out the form at the end of the post. I recommend that you print the tags on good quality white cardstock.

christmas potpourri tag mockup

New Tags for 2023

New this year are redesigned gift tags that include the directions for simmering. Just fill out the form at the end of the post to get an easy-to-download PDF that contains both tag designs.

stovetop simmering potpourri with custom tag 2023

This project is not only a gift to give away, it’s a gift for yourself. Sometimes all it takes is a very small thing to trigger a wonderful memory. By using simmering holiday scents in your home during the Christmas season, you can begin a family tradition that will last for years. Someday, perhaps one of your children or grandchildren will smell cinnamon or citrus, and be instantly transported back to your home during the holidays. What a perfectly lovely thought.

More Gift Giving Ideas

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  1. Thank you. Love your receioes and crafts. Merry Christmas

  2. Linda Hickey says:

    Thank you for sharing. I love this gift idea.

  3. I think a mini crock pot for heating the potpourri is perfect for when you are short on stove space and this way it can be placed in any room besides the kitchen. I’m sure the water wouldn’t evaporate as quickly too.

  4. Karen Katler says:

    I just finished making 12 of these jars for gifts. They are absolutely darling. I added a card with the simmering instructions and I also got the dried oranges and apples at Trader Joe’s. I just love receiving your emails and seeing all the wonderful ideas.

  5. 5 stars
    This is lovely! I wonder if it would work in a crockpot (to keep the water warm but not take up stove space)!

  6. Carol Audette says:

    Ann, Thanks so much for all the wonderful ideas for home made gifts! I especially love the potpourri in the jar. I’m have a Yule Tide gathering Saturday and I hope to have that potpourri simmering on my stove, it will smell wonderful! Happy Holidays

  7. Donna Jones says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for all your wonderful ideas to make our lives enriched and enjoyable.

  8. Hi Ann~
    What a great gift idea. Having friends over for lunch, and a little thank you sitting on their plate, plus very festive.

    Thank you.

  9. 5 stars
    Thank you for another great idea! Great project for my granddaughter and I to do together. Merry Christmas.