Orange Pomanders for Winter Solstice

This year, on Friday 21st June it will be winter solstice for the southern hemisphere.

So, what is winter solstice?

Basically, it’s when the sun is travelling on its lowest arc in the sky, which then gives us the shortest day of the year (the length of time where sunrise and sunset is at its minimum).


In ancient times, people didn’t know or understand this and as the days got shorter and shorter it created a fear that there would eventually be no daylight.  They soon realised over time, after this day each year the sun would start moving towards them again.  Celebrations were called and it was believed that these celebrations pleased the gods and so the days would become longer again.


These celebrations became known as Winter Solstice celebrations.


In the northern hemisphere winter solstice falls between 20-23 December.  It is believed that some Christmas customs have originated from various winter solstice celebrations.

But for us, in the southern hemisphere, it means we can have a double dose of gorgeous Christmassy aromas and decorations (without the gift giving expense).


While researching about winter solstice celebrations I stumbled across orange pomanders.  Gosh, I remember these from my childhood.  My mum used to make them and I instantly remembered how gorgeous their spicy citrus aroma was and how beautiful they looked.


So, I decided I’d make orange pomanders this year to celebrate winter solstice.


What is the significance?


Because the orange is a symbol of the return of the sun 🍊.


How perfect to have a bowl of sunny orange pomanders gently infusing your home with their gorgeous spicy aroma to welcome the return of the sun (daylight)?


A gorgeous way to freshen your home in winter and bring in sunshine and positivity.


Making citrus pomanders is an old tradition of decorating oranges (or other citrus fruits like lemons, limes or tangerines) with cloves.  These pomanders bring a warming scent that fills a room, and look gorgeous on display.  The best part is they are quite easy to make.



You’ll need:

  • oranges (preferably not marked or overripe)
  • whole cloves (1 or 2 boxes depending on how many oranges you’ll be decorating)
  • skewer or toothpicks
  • and other decorative bits that you may like to add to your display or use e.g. ribbon, pine cones, herbs etc.



How to make:

Firstly, wash and dry your oranges.

Decide on a pattern.  You can cover the whole orange or be as creative as you like … hearts, swirls, spirals …

Simply poke cloves into the orange following your design.  If you have trouble inserting the cloves, use the skewer or toothpick to poke a small clove sized hole into the skin first.


Once finished, place the following in a brown paper bag:

  • 2 tsp orris root powder,
  • 1-2 tbsp cinnamon powder (or ground clove, allspice or try a combination of all)
  • a couple of drops of Yuletide essential oil blend (optional).


Place pomanders inside the bag and gently shake.  The orris root will help to preserve and enhance the fragrance.

Store the bag of pomanders in a warm place but out of direct sunlight to dry (airing cupboard is good).

After 24 hours remove the pomanders from the paper bag and dust off the cinnamon and orris root powder.  Wrap gently in tissue paper and put back in a clean paper bag.  Place the bag back in warm location to continue drying.  This can take between 2 – 4 weeks.  You can check every couple of days to make sure they are not going moldy.  They can start to turn brownish as they dry out.

When ready, unwrap tissue paper and dust off any remaining powder.

You’ll know when they’re dry as they sound hollow when you tap on them.



There are a number of ways to use your aromatic pomanders.

A couple of ideas are:

  • Display them in a bowl to fragrant your home with their gorgeous citrus spiciness.
  • Tie a ribbon or twine around them and hang in your wardrobe to freshen your clothes.
  • Give away as gifts.


The great thing is the fragrance will last for at least a couple of years!



Orange Pomander for Winter Solstice

Here’s a pic of orange pomanders I’ve made for the winter solstice.




Happy winter solstice and orange pomandering 😊

Mel xo



Parks, London Ltd. 8 Cosy Ways to Celebrate the Winter Solstice. Retrieved June 17, 2019, from




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Published on June 18, 2019