Orange & Clove Holiday Craft

A Craft for the Senses

Our sense of smell is intensely bound to our memories and emotions. Just take a moment to focus on what the following things bring to mind.

Fresh cut grass in the summer.

The ocean.

Freshly squeezed lemons.

Pine trees.

Your hands, after picking fresh tomatoes off the vine.

The first rain of autumn.

Campfire smoke.

I’m sure your mind is flooded with so much more than just the actual objects mentioned above. Thinking about the ocean, of course I smell its saltiness. I also feel the breeze on my cheeks, in my hair. I feel the sand, warm from the sun, between my toes. I hear the sound of the waves rolling in, rolling out. And I am at peace.

Thinking about the first rain of autumn, I smell the freshness in the air. I also feel the new crispness all around me, after a long, hot summer. I feel the humidity on my skin. I hear the patter of rain drops outside my window, on my roof. I feel I can breath a little easier. I feel relief.

Thinking about campfires, I smell the smoke, of course. I also feel the darkness of the night around me. I feel the cold chill of the night to my back, and the heat and comfort of the fire to my cheeks. I hear the snap and pop of the flames. I can almost taste the s’mores. And I feel my family all around me, as countless memories of childhood camping trips parade through my thoughts. Family. Comfort. Campfire.

This is a craft for the senses. Nothing says Christmas like the smell of citrus and cloves. You can find all sorts of recipes online for homemade potpourri to set on your stove top. You can also just go buy a candle. But this is an activity you can enjoy with your children. Plus, at a time of year when everything is grey and dark outside, this beautiful, bright-colored craft brings the joy and cheer of Christmas Spirit into our homes.

So here we go. This craft could not possibly be more simple.

Step One: Assemble supplies. You may actually have everything you need in your kitchen, even as you’re reading this!


  • Oranges
  • Whole cloves

<Yup, that’s really all you need.>

Step Two: Poke whole cloves into oranges to make fun and beautiful patterns.

<Yup, that’s really all there is to it.>

This craft does require a certain amount of strength and dexterity, which may be more challenging for younger children. Little hands can still participate with a bit of help from parents.

Pro tip: For little hands, give them a pen and have them mark on their orange where they want their cloves placed. Pre-poke holes with a tooth pick or nail so they can place their cloves themselves.

I usually place our oranges in a bowl as a table centerpiece, but this craft has endless display options. You could display your oranges in a clear vase, attach a ribbon and hang your oranges from your Christmas tree indoors, or hang a bunch on a pine tree outdoors for a bright splash of color on a grey winter day.

Supplies assembled: Oranges and Whole Cloves
We’re ready to go!
A likeness of myself, created by my daughter.
Pro tip: In preschool and kindergarten, I’ve noticed my kids have covered patterns as part of their math curriculum. Talk about and create different patterns as you decorate your oranges together and get their minds thinking about patterns in new ways!
Display in a bowl or hang from a tree. Smells like Christmas!

Looking for more quick and easy crafts to enjoy with your kids this holiday season? Check out my posts Marbled Christmas Ornament How-to or Christmas Placemat How-to.

2 thoughts on “Orange & Clove Holiday Craft

  1. I love the smell of cloves! I tried to fill a whole orange one time with cloves and it didn’t work too well. It took a ton of cloves and I got tired of pushing them in before I finished and never completed it. I prefer making designs on them like the photos above and they look beautiful.

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