The Best Holiday Candle Scents

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Sweater weather, back to school, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice everything. Who doesn’t love the change of season and the holiday scents that come with it?

If you’ve put your candle making on the back burner because of well, summer…now is the time to get it together and pick your scents. 

I’m also in the process of choosing my holiday scents, so we have time. Even though you’ve seen Halloween decorations in stores since July, don’t feel the pressure of being “too late.”

If we focus, we’ll be ready for the upcoming busy season to sell candles or give amazing handmade gifts (who wouldn’t love that?).

Wondering what popular scents to try for the upcoming holidays? Here’s a good place to start…

The Holiday Scents

Fall, winter, and the holidays. It’s a season of change, and time for warm and cozy scents to fill your home. Will it be spicy, woodsy, sweet, or fruity? The combinations are endless, which means you have to make decisions. 

Don’t get stuck wanting to try so many that you end up overwhelmed and do nothing (a real thing). Maybe decide on 3-5 fragrance oils and then commit to testing. If that seems like too much, just pick one that you love and start with that.

Spicy Scents

Spicy scents and holidays go hand in hand (cinnamon pine cones are already at the grocery stores…again, no pressure). These warm and inviting fragrances give your home a comfy atmosphere.

So spice it up this holiday with these solo scents or pair them with other fragrances for candles that make you smile.

Pumpkin Spice Everything

Move over pumpkin spice? Nope. It’s the holiday king of spices and is everywhere: coffee, cereal, beer, muffins, etc. So you might want a pumpkin spice scent in your candle line.

Maybe you prefer traditional pumpkin spice or want to mix it with another scent (or both).


“Lesser babka? I think not!” Jerry Seinfeld (heart)

Cinnamon is often combined with nutmeg, allspice and clove, for a spicy, sweet aroma. Who doesn’t love the smell of cinnamon rolls on a chilly morning? Or a cinnamon babka?

Cardamom (Cinnamon’s cool friend?)

Consider this scent to add an unexpected twist to your candles. But what does it smell like? This spice has a complex profile. According to the Perfume Society, there are two types of cardamom. Black cardamom is earthy and smoky (think chai), while green cardamom is fresher with a minty, eucalyptus-y scent.

Are you already thinking about what to pair with that? Endless options. has a new cardamom scent called, Candied Ginger and Cardamom. has a Black Cardamom and Cream fragrance oil.

Woodsy Scents

Woodsy scents are another popular holiday candle scent. These scents are earthy and grounding and can help create a sense of calm in your home. Combine these with other fragrances to create a more complex scent perfect for the holidays.

If you can picture yourself taking a walk through the woods or a park on a chilly day (because who has time to actually take a walk) consider these:

  • Cedarwood – light and woody, think pencil shavings
  • Oak – chopped wood
  • Sandalwood – woody, warm, and earthy
  • Pine –Christmas trees
  • Patchouli –earthy and musky, a little goes a long way

Sweet Scents

Sweet scents are perfect for the change of season. That sweet smell instantly creates a sense of warmth and comfort in your home. Anything with vanilla is a yes, please. Blend these with other fragrances to create a special scent that makes you smile.

Here’s a good start for a sweet treat:

  • Vanilla – creamy and sweet and goes with everything
  • Caramel – salted caramel anything, please
  • Brown Sugar – a holiday baking must
  • Maple Sugar – pancakes anyone?
  • Honey – so sweet

The Flaming Candle has a Fresh & Clean Honey fragrance oil.

Fruity Scents

Fruity scents are fresh and festive. Love your candles to have a pop of color? Try a fruity scent because you can easily match a color with whatever fruit you choose. You can do fruity and sweet or fruity and spicy…you get it. Here are some fruity choices:

  • Apple – apple cider anyone?
  • Pear – secure in its shape
  • Cranberry – THE holiday classic
  • Bergamot – orange, spicy scent found in many perfumes
  • Apricot – sweet and a little floral
  • Pomegranate – sweet, floral, and a little earthy
  • Black currant – woodsy berry
  • Plum – plum pudding?
  • Fig – it’s not really a fruit, but you get it, and so holiday (figgy pudding…A Christmas Carol, right?)

Candles and Supplies has a Black Currant Bubbly.

Candle Science has a Cranberry Prosecco fragrance oil.

Floral Scents? Yes.

Floral scents may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of holiday candles, but try adding these fragrances to your candles for a little elegance (I bet Martha has a floral holiday candle). Here are some floral options to try:

  • Poinsettia – the holiday Mamma
  • Holly – more of a flowering plant, but screams holidays
  • Rose, lavender, freesia, and jasmine
  • All the rest

This is NOT even close to all of the holiday fragrance oils to choose from, but it’s a start.

Pro tip: When making candles, be sure to use fragrance oils made specifically for candles and follow recommended usage amounts. Adding more oil will not make the scent stronger, it will only ruin your candles. 

Also, it’s essential to purchase fragrance oils from reputable candle supply companies as they are specifically formulated to mix with candle wax and contain phthalate-free fragrances. 

The best thing to do is go to the supply store so you can smell different fragrance oils. But if there isn’t one close to you, read through the scent profiles and check the reviews. Also see if samples are available. 

Again, if you have an idea of what you want to try, that will narrow the options for you. 

Now, decide what you like and start making candles. The holidays are coming…

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