7 Low Maintenance Ways to Make Your Artificial Tree Smell Real

close up of artificial Christmas tree with red ornaments
close up of artificial Christmas tree with red ornaments

Ah the mood-lifting and heart warming smells of the Christmas holiday. I have a few favorite scents (yes to chocolate cookies) and Christmas trees are toward the top of my list.  If you have an artificial tree it doesn’t mean you have to go without that real tree scent.  There are some great versatile and low maintenance options out there across all price points.  Check-out the round-up below of my favorite options both store bought and DIY. 

We suffer from allergies in our home- which makes an artificial tree the perfect fit for us.  If you or a family member suffer from allergies too, see my Allergy Warning below.  

Scented Pine Cones

Pine cones can work double duty as decor while also producing a fresh scent.  This is also a low maintenance set-it-and-forget-it option. 

  • Place pine cones on the tree for a natural look. 
  • Include pine cones in other decorations in the same room as the tree-think wreaths, garlands, festive bowls, etc. 
  • My favorite option is store bought natural pine cones that have been treated with essential oils. 
  • You can also DIY, but before adding scent or oils you need to remove the sap and treat for bugs.  Bugs are a solid pass for me, so this is definitely not my favorite. 

Essential Oils

Essential Oils paired with a diffuser will give you a great amount of scent.  

  • Place the diffuser with essential oil in the same room with the tree. Get it as close as you can, but anywhere in the same room is great.  
  • The smell will linger for a bit after the diffuser has been turned off, however you will likely need to run the diffuser each day to keep maintain the scent. 

Fresh Branches

Another low maintenance option. Attach the branches during decoration and leave until you take the tree down. Easy peasy. This is also the most realistic scent you can add. 

This is not a good solution for anyone with allergies. If you use an artificial tree because you are allergic to real trees, adding real branches could cause you to have a reaction just the same as a real tree. 

  • Visit your local Christmas Tree lot and ask if they have clippings or lost branches you can buy at a low cost.  Sometimes they will even give them away for free.  
  • Check the pieces for bugs before bringing them indoors. Make sure all sap is removed as well or it could get stuck to your artificial branches. 
  • Gently insert the branches and clippings in between artificial branches.  Make sure to space as evenly as possible (don’t just do the top etc.)
  • Great solution if your artificial tree has some holes that could be filled in. 


There are tons of fresh tree and outdoor winter scents to choose from.  Just visit any local retailer, big box store, or go online!  

  • Use caution with candles as open flames can be extremely dangerous.  
  • Keep the candles far away from the tree or any other items that could easily catch fire.  
  • Candles can add a lot of ambiance to a space to set the holiday mood. 
  • Bonus-they double as decor! 

Air Fresheners 

A truly low maintenance option and generally inexpensive as well. My favorite set-it-and-forget-it option. 

  • There’s something for everyone. There are a great assortment of tree scented air fresheners on the market spanning every price point.  
  • Add air fresheners to the tree during set-up and remove when you take down the tree.  Could this be any easier?!?
  • Be sure to add the air fresheners as your first decor item so you can hide them amongst the branches. Hang closer to the trunk than the outer branches as much as possible. The back side that is hidden from view is another good option.
  • To avoid too much scent keep the size of your space in mind.  Start with a small amount of air fresheners based on the manufacturer’s instructions and original packaging.  You can always add more, but no one wants to live in a bowl of potpourri! 

Clay Ornaments

A whimsical and creative way to spice up your tree. Get the whole family in on the fun. 

  • Grab some craft clay, ribbon and your favorite festive cookie cutters. 
  • Follow the packaging or instructions included with the clay for making and drying your ornaments. 
  • When the ornaments are dry add your desired essential oil blend or pre-mixed tree like scent.  Just a drop or two per ornament should do the trick. (A quick Google search will help you find a pre-mixed or DIY blend of essential oils that is right for you.)
  • Bonus-if the scent starts to fade, you can add more oil to the ornaments and put them back on the tree. 

Scented Room Spray and Plug in Scents 

A very versatile and low maintenance option.  Lots of brands and retailers sell scented room sprays and plug-ins. 

  • Grab your favorite scent and lightly mist the room with your tree. 
  • Do not spray the scent directly on the tree. Any wetness is not safe near electrical wires and it could damage your ornaments or other decorations.
  • Sprays are versatile because you can use them only when you want. Great for those who don’t want a scent every day. However, if you want a continuous scent you will need to spray daily. This makes the versatile option a little more high maintenance. 
  • With plug-ins, find one near the tree or in the same room. Plug it in and you’re set for the season!  

Allergy Warning 

If you or a family member suffer from certain allergies, (chances are this is why you have an artificial tree) essential oils or artificial scents could be problematic and cause irritation. Consider the following before using them in your home. 

  • Do you know the specific tree variety that causes the reaction? If so, you can avoid that scent/essential oil.
  • Start with a small amount of the essential oil or scent.  You can always add more, but it’s harder to scale down. No one wants to spend the day airing out their home or room on a brisk winter day. 
  • If you’re allergic to trees, consider essential oil scents (other than tree scents) that are still very festive such as cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint, and sweet ginger. 

For more artificial tree tips don’t miss Everything You Need to Know About Artificial Christmas Tree Storage and How to Clean Every Type of Artificial Christmas Tree.

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