With Yule approaching it is time to explore some of the traditions passed on by our previous generations. One beautiful, fragrant, and family friendly Yule tradition is to make a Yule Pomander. These stunning creations will fill your home with magic, and incredible smells, this holiday season.
Magical Crafting with Pomanders for Yule
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I remember doing this with my grandmother. I can still hear her voice as she curled my hair into big “boingers” (curls), instead of my normal crazy frizzy mess, as she instructed me on how to make a pomander.
Once you have made a Yule Pomander the thing that will stay with you forever is the amazing, magical fragrance. Smell is one of the strongest memory triggers, and as I made these with my son this year I was immediately brought back to those days with my Nan.
That’s pretty powerful.
And a wonderful blessing.
I can only hope that one day my boys will do pomanders with their kids and remember these times we had together.
It is amazing how generations can connect, even with ancestors who are no longer with us, through these holiday activities.
These kinds of Yule traditions build those bridges, connecting us to our past.
And that is one of the greatest blessings we can have during the holidays. To be connected to those we love. Even when they are no longer with us.
What is a Yule Pomander?
Quite simply they are sweet oranges studded with cloves.
They also smell like the best of the holidays, making them a wonderful, budget friendly way to add the most amazing holiday smells and decorations to your home. All naturally.
My son said they smelled like an amazing Christmas Candy as he was making his Pomander.
Traditionally Yule Pomanders were made by those in high society who then gifted them. It was a sign of status and wealth, as oranges and cloves were quite expensive and hard to find.
Our ancestors also used Pomanders to ward off bad spirits, and bring strength, health, and prosperity to a home. Gifting them was to offer blessings and goodwill.
Sounds pretty amazing!
Best of all this is a wonderful and simple project to do as a family.
Yule Pomander Supplies
You will need:
Oranges – You can use any size of orange that suits your purpose. Make sure it has a nice strong skin.
Cloves – Lots, because the more you use the better!
Toothpick or a nail would work too. Something pokey.
Optional – Ribbons, Orange zester, Twine, etc.
Optional Spice Mix – 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, with 1/4 cup each of ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, allspice and powdered orris root
How to Make A Pomander
Decide if you are creating a design or just going with the flow.
Poke a hole through the skin of the orange with the toothpick.
Insert a clove into the hole.
Repeat until you have finished adding cloves.
You can also use the edge of a zester to carve into the skin of the orange to add design elements.
Making Yule Pomanders can be an incredibly calming experience. Not only are the scents perfect for relaxation and meditation, but the process of creating the designs is very soothing and satisfying.
Once you are finished adding the cloves, you can roll your Pomander in a spice mix to really up the incredible fragrance. This spice mix can also be used to help preserve the Pomanders.
Curing Yule Pomanders
Once you have made your Yule Pomander you may only want it for a few days. If that’s the case, simply place your pomanders in the fridge at night to give them a bit of extra time. Otherwise, you are all good and can move on to displaying your creations!
However, if you want your Pomanders to last more than a few days without molding you will need to cure or dry your creations.
There are a few different ways you can do this.
The first is to poke a hole through the middle of your Pomander and thread twine through it. Then hang your Pomander in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks.
Another approach is to set your Pomanders in a special spice bath. Make this spice bath using 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 cup each of ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, allspice and powdered orris root. The key ingredient here is the orris root which helps preserve the Pomanders. Let the Pomander sit in the spice bath for one to two weeks, turning them daily.
If you don’t want to do the full spice bath you can also place your Pomander in a paper bag with 1/2 cup of orris root and shake it around until it is well covered.
You may need to play around with these different techniques to find the one that works best for you and keeps your Yule Pomanders fragrant for the longest period of time.
Younger children or someone with arthritis and difficulty using their hands/fingers, may find it easier to use a small screwdriver with a handle rather than a toothpick to poke the holes.
It may also be easier to cut the orange in half or in thick slices, then poke the cloves into the softer inner flesh of the orange. If you do this, I recommend letting the cut orange sit out for a day first to let the juices dry a bit. This will help prevent it squirting too much when you insert the cloves. This technique is also helpful if your oranges have thinner skin such as Mandarins.
Pomander slices look particularly beautiful hanging in a window.
There are so many ways you can display your creations.
Tie a ribbon around your Yule Pomanders to add a festive touch.
If you want to hang your Pomanders use a skewer or a knitting needle to poke a hole through the orange and push a twine or string through the hole. Tie it off and your Pomander is now ready to hang on a tree or in a window.
Pomanders can also be placed in bowls or baskets to display them.
You can also wrap them up and gift them to someone as a traditional blessing for Yule.
Most of all, enjoy the holidays and may they be filled with love and light, and wonderful fragrances.