Regency Christmas Traditions: Cloved Oranges

Excellent for Christmas, New Year’s…or a cold winter’s day stuck indoors. With the record cold blanketing such a large chunk of the US, I figured I’d post this today even though the Christmas season has already passed (except in the Orthodox Church–Merry Christmas to you tomorrow!). Cloving oranges is like a good way to pass the time (I did mine while listening to an audiobook), it’s easy enough for children to do, and the result will brighten up your house for weeks to come.

Start with an orange–any variety will do. I’ve also seen clementines, lemons, limes, and tangerines cloved.


Take a clove and push it into the skin of the fruit. The head of the clove with stick out a little (or a lot, depending on how big your cloves are). Repeat.


Continue cloving in any pattern you choose. I did mine like the stripes on a basketball (or the longitude lines on a globe), then filled in between them. But you could do spirals, snowflakes, circles, or whatever else takes your fancy.


My finished product: this year I cloved several oranges and put them in a basket in my sitting room. They spice up the air without the use of chemicals, air fresheners, or perfumes, so my house smells great and my asthma isn’t bothered.


Want more information on the historical significance of cloved oranges? Check out this post from There’s also a nice graphic for making cloved oranges you can hang.

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