Holiday Decor: Make an Orange Pomander

There’s something so rustic and classic about an orange pomander, isn’t there? What I love about this simple holiday decoration is that it’s cheap and easy to make, and it’s something you can create on your own or with the kids. If you’re not familiar with a pomander, it’s a traditional French holiday decoration made by covering fruit in whole cloves.

A thoroughly-cloved orange will keep for ages and makes a great incense alternative. I’ve had pomanders last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The cloves help preserve the orange, so you can enjoy your pomander for a long time after you make it. The best part? When it does start to wither and lose its lovely smell, you can just toss the whole thing right into the compost bin!

Credit: Image by Sheri Giblin.

Confession: instead of an orange, I used a tangerine to make my pomander. Tangerines are so small and cute, I couldn’t resist switching things up a bit! To make your own orange (or tangerine!) pomander, you’ll need:

  • an orange or tangerine – You can also use an apple, though I can’t vouch for how long your apple pomander will last
  • lots of cloves – If you can find a place nearby that sells them in bulk, it will be well worth it! I got this tub of cloves at an international market here in Atlanta.

1. Grab a clove and take a look at it. See how one end is kind of pointy? To make your clove-studded orange, you’ll just shove that pointy end right into the orange peel. Just press slowly, and it should pierce the skin of the orange easily.

2. Try to get a nice even covering of cloves. Ideally, you want around 1/8″ between the cloves all over the surface of the orange. The better covered it is, the longer it will last.

That’s it! Kick back, put on some holiday music, and cover your orange in cloves!


If you’re not concerned with making your orange last for a long time, you can also have a little more fun with your clove placement. Instead of an even covering, try different designs like spirals, stripes, and even cutesy hearts and smiley faces! Your kids will have a great time “drawing” with cloves on their oranges, and you can set these out to decorate for your tree trimming party or next holiday get-together.

If you make a mistake, don’t fret! Pulling the cloves out will leave unsightly holes in your fruit, but if you mess up an orange, just pull the cloves out, and eat your mistake. Yum!

Images: Becky Striepe