Pomander Ball Christmas Gift

278,022

116

38

One whiff of the wonderful scent of a pomander ball is all it takes to get me humming Christmas songs and dreaming of going "home for the holidays." Pomander balls are a Colonial American Christmas tradition, and my mother had us make them for all of our relatives every year. They make very unique gifts, and are great conversation starters as well. So this year I am passing on this tradition by making pomander balls for my in-laws.

So what is a pomander ball? It is simply a piece of fruit, traditionally an orange, that has been pierced by cloves and dried so that it lets off a wonderful aroma. Pomander balls can be used in drawers and closets like a sachet, or used as decorations at Christmastime by hanging them from a mantel or tree, or even just set in an attractive bowl on a table. They will continue to give off their scent for years to come!

Step 1: Gather Supplies

You will need:

1 Medium-sized orange
Whole cloves (1-2 ounces per orange)
Piercing tool (a paper piercer or ice pick work well)
Ribbon
Paper towel or napkins

Note: whole cloves can be kind of expensive to buy in the spice aisle at a grocery store. I buy them from a health food store that sells bulk spices, or you can buy them online.

Step 2: Tie Ribbon Around Orange

Cross-tie the ribbon around the orange. The below directions to cross-tie coincide with the additional pictures for this step:

1. Center ribbon on the top of the orange
2. Hold ribbon in place and turn orange over
3. Cross the ribbon and pull it tight against the orange
4. Turn orange over and bring ribbon together at top
5. Tie a bow

Step 3: Poke Holes

Using the piercing tool, poke holes in the exposed skin of the orange. This might get a little juicy, so do it over the napkin or paper towel. Keep the holes spaced fairly far apart.

Step 4: Insert Cloves

Insert cloves into the holes. They don't need to be that close together, because the orange will shrink as it dries.

Step 5: Done!

The orange will dry out over the next week and will shrink, but it will continue to smell wonderful for years to come!

Share

Recommendations

  • Make it Glow Contest 2018

    Make it Glow Contest 2018
  • Big and Small Contest

    Big and Small Contest
  • Plastics Contest

    Plastics Contest

38 Discussions

0
None
LukasB17

2 years ago

Hello! Lovely tutorial, but there was something I wanted to mention. The "pomander ball" is actually an old Wiccan tradition as well, where the cloves and orange/apple would represent the Sun God and it's passing onto the next Sun God. They're special little gifts for Yule, and are of Celtic origin, not Christian. :)

4 replies
0
None
HeadlessHorsemanLukasB17

Reply 6 weeks ago

You know, I'm not sure who came up with this tradition in the first place, given that oranges weren't widely available to most people in history in European countries, and certainly not the Celts. Historically speaking, they'd have apples to work with, unless they were royalty, and I've never heard of a Celtic royal family making pomanders - perhaps a history buff can enlighten me; I'm not sure. Not to mention Wicca is itself a new age religion that is younger than Christianity (Witchcraft and Paganism are older than Christianity; not Wicca, which came into the mainstream around the 1940s). Did Christianity co-opt many of the older Pagan traditions into holiday celebrations? Yep. But if you're going to point that out at least be accurate about it... anyway pass me the oranges and cloves, I'm going to make a metric ton of these.

0
None
msnipesLukasB17

Reply 2 years ago

duh, Christianity has refitted pagan customs from day 1, moving on....

0
None
wiccanman82LukasB17

Reply 2 years ago

You read my mind...great ible though. forgot all about these. gonna make an with the kiddo today

0
None
KerryD3040wolvesadancing

Reply 11 months ago

It depends. If you live in a very humid part of the world, it probably will. Try putting in a cool dark closet in a paper bag and check on it every day or two. Some suggest a light coating with orris root powder and/or cinnamon. Hanging helps. Piling a bunch in a bowl is not a great idea.

0
None
TomB361

1 year ago

Just got back from a Christmas Market Tour Down the Danube ... this is what they were selling in Bratislava, Slovakia

15844431_10154854552802433_13710505249868764_o.jpg
0
None
AdamC254

1 year ago

What kind of arranges did you all use? Navals? Valencias? ... Navals are bigger but can be oblong. Valencias are smaller but have thinner skin and are juicier. Thanks for the feedback! Excited to make these.

0
None
roisin0501

1 year ago

instead of ribbon at the start i put tape around the orange and the when i was finished i put the ribbon around

0
None
AlisonS48

1 year ago

How do you dry them when you can't afford heating? Put it in window sill but I live in yorkshire!

0
None
DaveM247

1 year ago

I made 3 of these, just from seeing them for years, they smell very nice and the oranges are drying nicely too, Dave.

0
None
JoanF19

2 years ago

I made one for the first time in ages and for some reason the orange fermented. What happened?

0
None
Sagestar11

2 years ago

Warning! I made this before and the smell gave me and my mom a migraine. If you easily get migraines do not make this!

0
None
Sagestar11

2 years ago

Warning! I made this before and the smell gave me and my mom a migraine. If you easily get migraines do not make this!

0
None

Thank you for the instructions - will be making these as stocking fillers - a slight improvement on the traditional orange at the bottom of the Christmas stocking.

0
None
RaucousAuk

4 years ago on Introduction

My parents (who live near Williamsburg and whose house is a copy of the Wythe House) always have these around at Christmas. This year our daughter wants to make them too, so thank you for the reminder about how to do it correctly!

0
None
canida

11 years ago

Nice presentation!

Here's another version of the pomander with a complementary set of suggestions. Useful stuff in the comments, too.

2 replies
0
None
outofthewoodscanida

Reply 11 years ago

Oops! I suppose I should've checked to see if anyone had a pomander instructable posted already!

0
None
Juiroameoutofthewoods

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

You should never worry about whether or not someone else posted the idea before you. I found that its great to have many different viewpoints because you can learn a little from each idea. Its like finding pieces of a large and beautiful puzzle in different places.

Your piece of the puzzle was using the punch to poke holes in the orange. I made the holes, with a handy wooden skewer, big enough in ones I am currently experimenting with that the cloves fit snug AND It doesn't require you to tape your fingers. That's a pretty awesome.

So thank you for posting this instructable. This helps me a lot.

Have a Fun and Happy Winter!