Have you ever noticed that certain smells remind you of Christmas? There have been studies done on how scents are able to trigger memories of the past. I find this fascinating! There’s nothing like a bit of unexpected nostalgia from a faint odor in the distance. Quite a few fragrances are created with holidays in mind and Christmas is just one of them. Here are 7 Christmas scents that I love and have come to associate this fantastic holiday with whenever I smell them in the air.
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Trees at Christmas are typically of the pine variety, so naturally, this scent is connected to this holiday season. I not only think of Christmas trees when I smell pine scented items, but also of winter in general. And lots of snow! Evergreens are usually commonly seen in many winter scenes painted on objects, sewn into clothing, or a variety of other products sold during Christmas.
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The smell of peppermint makes me recall the many years of adding candy canes to the Christmas tree and also of the handful of peppermint candies placed at the bottom of my stocking. My mom would also make us girls giant mugs of hot cocoa during the winter and place a candy can in it. I loved seeing the curved top protrude from a huge pile of whipped cream in my mug.
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Some people probably think of Halloween when they smell caramel, since it is often seen coating apples and covered with chopped nuts. I think of Christmas because my grandmother would drizzle hot caramel over apple pie and place it on the table during Christmas dinner. Yum! To this day, it’s hard for me to eat apple pie without melted caramel over the top. Oh, and don’t forget a dollop of real whipped cream!
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I see candles, air fresheners, dish soap, and tons of other household products in this scent during the Christmas season. It is one of my favorites for air fresheners. I stock up on the little packets for those plug-in air fresheners and the house smells like apples and cinnamon well into the springtime. My kids even comment when they smell this scent about how they think of Christmas too.
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I add lots of nutmeg to apple pie, hot cocoa and to a few different kinds of cookies I bake for Christmas presents. My mom has a recipe for sugar cookies that calls for a bit of nutmeg in it. My sisters and I would gather around the table to decorate these cookies each Christmas and then give them as gifts to relatives. This was such fun! We would spend a lot of time laughing and joking around. I’m sure the family were very appreciative of the treats we made, no matter how poorly decorated the cookies were. We were only little kids, so they gave us a bit of slack!
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When I was around six, my mom got this idea to make cinnamon decorations for the Christmas tree. I don’t remember what she would mix with the cinnamon powder, but eventually she had dark brown dough that she cut miniature gingerbread men from and stars too. She poked holes at the top of these doughy decorations and then baked them in the oven. They turned out so well that she decided to do this for a few more years. The kitchen was filled with a strong scent of cinnamon for at least a few days during this ornament baking frenzy.
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There was a wood stove in the living room when I was a kid. In order to supply a bit more moisture to the wood-heated air in the house, my mom would place a pan of water on top of the stove. She got bored with the plain old water in the pan, so she would add a tablespoon of whole cloves to it. The air smelled fantastic! I do this in my own home from time to time. I love the smell of cloves. It makes me think of not only a warm and cozy winter with my family, but Christmas time when we would gather around this same stove and drink our hot cocoa after playing in the snow.
I’m sure there are certain scents that make you think of the holidays and you might even share some of the 7 Christmas scents I love from the list above. Each fragrance tends to bring up different memories for each person. What smells make you think of Christmas? Why do you think this scent brings up holiday memories for you?
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