Gingerbread cookie smell, fresh tangerines, baked apples and cinnamon. My Christmas always smells like that. It doesn’t mean that I cook gingerbread cookies for the whole month of December in order to have the festive mood. I know how to cheat.
Pleasantly smelling house is probably the quickest way to create a special festive mood. If you happen to be going down the street and you smell gingerbread cookies accompanied by the laughter of kids, you can be sure that they are having a good time while creating the festive mood in the house. To me, certain smells are an experience which is inseparable from Christmas and, since this December is way too busy for me to cook gingerbread cookies and make stuffed oranges with cloves, I decided to create olfactory Christmas experience… cheating.
Knowing that our sense of smell is a unique sense “storing” memories and creating the new ones, I decided to “grow” my festive mood throughout the December by matching unique olfactory experiences together with experiences of taste and vision. If you catch yourself questioning why would other experiences add value to the olfactory one, I would ask you whether you can imagine eating a tasty apple cake without actually smelling an apple? I don’t think so. Olfactory sense (smell) is one of our five senses, and senses are usually complementing each other in majority of situations in our lives, i.e. the pleasant feeling of eating an apple cake is usually a mixture of three senses – vision (seeing how the cake actually looks like, whether it’s appetizing or not), smell (smelling freshly baked cake and evaluating the smell) and taste (trying it). Therefore, to me Christmas, like a cake, has to be experienced through various senses – smelling Christmas decorations and foods, seeing them and tasting them. But this time I am digging deeper into the world of odors.
For the light and pleasant smell
During the darkest and coldest days we naturally are looking for some light, therefore cozy candles can serve a great dual purpose: light and home fragrance. To be honest, I have always been slightly bit stingy and have not tried expensive fragrant candles (can students in Denmark actually afford that?), but I have recently found amazing H&M home candles to serve the same purpose for someone with the tight budget as me. Even though the range of candles that H&M offers is relative small, but they have the best orange candle that makes your room smell like fresh Christmas oranges with cloves. I swear!
If you happen to have a little bit more than tight student budget, you might consider buying Yankee candle. Danish Company called Bella Lys sells such candles online (and many more) plus they offer a month’s candle which is generally much cheaper. Another good option is visiting a store L’occitane (Copenhagen only), L’occitane showrooms sell extremely festive candles called “Winter Forest”, which smells like forest cones. If you get a Christmas candle (cinnamon, apple, orange, cone smells) I bet your festive mood will go up.
Home sprays is another option to make your home smell fresh, pleasant and Christmas-y. Feel free to spray curtains, pillows and/or towels or basically all fabrics that you touch or come close nearby. I usually buy them online (Ebay) or when I am travelling, since, to be honest, I haven’t really found anything festive and pleasant in Denmark so far, and H&M home sprays smell somehow “fake” to my nose. The Body Shop has some fruity and vanilla home sprays but nothing mystical, and that is what I am looking for in a home spray. The best one I have tried so far was Claire Burke home spray “Applejack and Peel”. They unfortunately do not ship their products to Europe, but you can find them on Ebay. A little bit pricey, but absolutely worth the price.
If you happen to be bored on December evening and realize that it’s dark, cold and unpleasant though feel like changing it, you could consider making some home decorations - aromatic toys yourself. Take a piece of a soft material and spray a generous amount of your favorite perfume on it. Then, take another piece of material and cut two pieces of forms (e.g. oval or square would be easiest, so it would make it a small and aromatic pillow) and sew the edges together, leaving a space to put the aromatic sheet inside. When you do so, sew it all together. You can decorate your home with such aromatic toys or hold one in your closet or a bag – it would definitely make your clothes and your bag smell pleasantly!
My Christmas, obviously, start with small aromatic joys. Pleasantly smelling house, laughter and warmth brings us to celebrate the best celebration ever. Even though I am not religious, but Christmas to me means a big fat hygge – being together with my beloved ones and enjoying the moment. To me Christmas is like a fairy-tale where I live in. A fairy-tale, which smells like caramelized apples, sold in Strøget. Or sweet almonds, packaged in dazzling paper. Or small ginger cookies. Or simply the warmth of my beloved ones, when I hug them.