Holiday scents - The tenth door

The other day my sister and I talked about scented candles. I never have any candles burning in the house because of the cats, much less scented ones. I have hardly ever worn perfume. I don't use air fresheners.
Of course that doesn't mean, however, that I don't notice scents or smells.
"Fragrance is deeply personal, you don't have a choice between which scents you like and which you don't. Throughout our lives we store information on smells, creating a complex stockpile of memories and associations, all of which have a big impact on whether we like a fragrance or not." (from Belfast Telegraph)

I love the smell of fried onions.
I loved the smell of, I don't know, the tracks in the underground station after a heavy rain, but only on the way home. Probably it came from some kind of chemicals, so it may be a good thing that it has gone since, but those few seconds when I came down the stairs always triggered something in me.
I love the sweet scent of the roses in front of our house and crushed mint.
I don't like the smell of peach flavored things.
I hate the smell of wild garlic. When I still drove to work with the ex, there was an area where there must have been so much wild garlic that the smell clawed its way through the car windows after rain. I had to hold my breath because it made me sick.
Well, and sometimes I wish Ponder would flush after being in the litter box.

Then I started out on a trip into the internet to find out more about holiday scents. I should have taken something to eat on that trip because it looked like it would take a while and I quickly knew I would end up in total confusion, so I had to limit myself. If you want to enlighten me with your own personal experiences, please do, I'd love to hear it!

Let's begin with Diwali because this festival already took place in early November. On his site Hindu Inside Hariram says that Diwali smells like the gunpowder of the fireworks and the eatablesMads Creations tells me Diwali fragrances for your home should be soothing and welcoming for visitors, floral and religious, and not sweet, spicy or fruity "as Diwali already includes lots of delicacies and delights to be shared that are already filled with sweeteners, spices and fruits". I'll be honest, that doesn't help me that much without any personal experience.

Hanukkah is ending tonight. Given the fact that I don't know much about Hanukkah except what I googled and the snippets I have been told by friends all I could think of were latkes and candles.
Obviously I was so wrong. Hanukkah smells like fear of relatives. Wait! I'm not making fun of it. This is a quote from the first article that I found on the matter, on Tablet, it's about perfumes for Hanukkah. It also quotes another article on Jewcy that I had found about scented candles for the festival, and that leads me to the last one from Alma which actually mentioned a candle that is supposed to smell like latkes and jelly donuts. I can't even imagine that one even if I try. Potato and fruit? Frying oil?
I turned to a dear friend to ask her what Hanukkah smells like for her. She said her first thought was olive oil as it's not only significant for the holiday, but also stands for latkes (I got something right!) and spinach with pine nuts in their house. She also added that sounds had been a big part of it when her kids were little, like screaming "Happy Hanukkah" three times while holding hands and jumping up and down as a circle and then falling on the floor after the candles were lit. Another memory she shared was that she hid the presents when she was growing up and put rhyming clues around the house, so there were happy screams when the kids found something. Thank you, Sharon!

Christmas. Now I can finally speak from own experience. What are Christmas scents to me?
Pine needles, spices like cinnamon or cloves, vanilla, turkey (even if don't eat it myself), oranges, snow (even if I don't like it ;-)) ... huh, now I almost want a scented candle. Maybe I'll just stick my nose into the little tin with Christmas cookies I got from the neighbors for St. Nicholas Day!



  1. Cinnamon. Incense from midnight mass (though I have not been to a mass in untold years, I remember from childhood and still enjoy the scent). Fireside smoke and oranges. However, over my lifetime, I have found few scented candles that even come close to what I remember these scents to be. And once in a blue moon I can find an incense that evokes the midnight mass (I do have a perfume that I wear and love).

    1. Ah, no incense in our church and we didn't have a fireplace, but I totally get that that is something that would stay in your mind. Christmas service at midnight will always be connected to the sound of the cymbal star at the top of the organ.

      I think they are trying hard with their scented candles, often too hard!

  2. Did you happen to get that garlic smell driving around Seal Beach, California?
    I don't care for anything with a 'faux' peach smell either. But love a Fresh Peach smell.
    Usually I burn non-scented candles but only have 1 cat who never tried to hop up where they burned. Here at sister's house I burn a Patchouli candle melt in the basement bathroom after (ahem). But have to turn it off after an hour or so ... love the smell but not in permanence.
    As far as Xmas goes, I love smelling Eggnog (with whiskey), Cinnamon Rolls, bread.

  3. Eggnog is a good choice!

    I'm German, Alysen, so I doubt between Wendlingen and Köngen will be telling you much :-D We also have wild garlic in the woods, but I never noticed it as strongly as there. It's also something I refuse to eat, no matter how much they keep trying to push it on me. Tasted it once, never again!

    My cats always liked to go up. It's amazing how they can tiptoe around something without moving a speck of dust and the next time it's as if they are elephants trying to dance on eggs.