By Deborah Fulsang Vampire-themed blockbusters, global natural disasters, foreboding talk…
Scent conveys the feeling of the holidays more than any sight or sound ever could. So get sniffing to get into the holiday spirit.
With the hint of snow hanging in the air, the waft of chimney smoke throughout the neighbourhood and the tang of fir trees lining the sidewalks of grocery stores, it’s beginning to feel and smell a lot like Christmas or simply, the joy of the festive season.
Scent memory: unique to every individual
“A scent can take you back to a certain moment in your life or in your day and help you relive this moment,” affirms Stacy Hertenstein, a perfumer with Proctor & Gamble. “So a fragrance associated with a happy moment—like the holidays—may take you back to this happy state of mind every time you smell it.”
Everyone’s olfactory system and memory bank are unique. Whether it’s a steaming hot mug of cocoa and spicy hot-from-the-oven sugar cookies that transport you back to mom’s kitchen or the crisp chill of an outdoor, icy skating rink reminiscent of playing hockey with the family on New Year’s Eve, we all associate particular fragrances with this time of year.
“The center of the brain that processes smell is also connected to memories and emotions,” explains Hertenstein. “Your own experiences during this particular time of year can shape your scent associations with the holidays. So a smell can become a reminder of a moment in your life and it can become a signature.”
Smell like your happy (holiday) place
These signature fragrances run the gamut too, from herbaceous, woodsy and spicy notes to tart and woodsy, or sweet and savoury. Regardless of where your nose and your heartstrings lead you, know that each one, “reminds us of a happy time of year when we are with the people we love,” says Hertenstein. And nothing smells better than that.
Try these scents to put you in a festive mood.
With decadent notes like clove, vanilla, ginger, cashmere, patchouli and more, it’s hard to not want to grab a throw blanket, a cup of hot cocoa and sit in front of a roaring fire.
Between the sugar rush from the candy canes and the minty After Eights to the hustle and bustle in our step as we peruse the shopping aisles, this time of year inspires a peppy (or pepperminty) go-get-em attitude.
Philosophy Candy Cane Shampoo, Shower Gel and Bubble Bath, $21, (480 ml), www.sephora.com
Arbonne Merrimint Hand Care Duo, $55 (282 ml each), www.arbonne.com
Herbal Essences Naked Volume Shampoo, Volume Conditioner and Cleansing Conditioner, $4 (300 ml each) for the collection www.herbalessences.ca
When you’re Canadian you can’t imagine wintertime without frosty temperatures and rosy cheeks. So it’s only natural we gravitate towards fresh and airy notes with a hint of cedar, pine and maybe even a berry or two.
The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Body Butter, $6 (20 ml), www.thebodyshop.ca
Saje Natural Wellness Good Cheer Diffuser Blend Collection (Tree Scents, Celebrate, Peppermint Twist), $34.95 (5 ml each), www.saje.ca