DecQOTD #5: What is your favorite Christmas (Winter/Holiday) scent?
Even though I’ve lived in homes with fireplaces more often than not, the scent of burning pine has never been a particularly strong holiday memory, largely because my mother is extremely allergic to it. We’ve had plastic trees for as long as I can remember, and even though I’ve had my own tree for more than ten years now, that trend continues, partly out of respect for her, and partly because I’m afraid of what the dogs would do to an actual tree in the living room.
No, the scent of Christmas, for me, is not pine.
But what is it?
Well, sometimes it’s rain, as December tends to be rainy in both California and Texas. There’s something cozy about the faintly metallic ozone taste after a particularly close lightning strike, something tangy about the air just before a storm, and, by contrast, something so fresh and pure about it just after.
It’s also the scent of paperwhites. I love forcing them during the holidays, as they tend to perform reliably, and their essence wafting across the room never fails to improve my disposition.
THe cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger combination that is ubiquitous at this time of year is also a favorite. It doesn’t matter if it’s ginger snaps, pfefferneusse cookies, pumpkin pie, or just fresh nutmeg sprinkled over cocoa, eggnog, coffee or chai, that trio of spices is instant comfort. They’re all “sweetening” spices, by the way – flavors that bring out the natural sweetness of whatever they’re mixed with – and I rather think they sweeten the season itself as well.