As the crinkly crackle of autumn fades into a windy whisper of winter, my thoughts drift back to my childhood. This precise time of year, more than any other, makes me crave for the carefree comfort of youth. The holidays are still wrought with memories and emotion for me and probably will be for some time. A few weeks ago, the first snowfall in my area actually brought tears to my eyes. The change of seasons reminding me of time passing, another season gone and a new one beginning with the absence of a loved one on my mind.
For these reasons, I plan to drench myself in nostalgia this Christmas. Why fight it when it’s better to embrace it? I can’t turn back the clock, no one can, but I can surround myself with comforting rituals and simple pleasures this season. Time passes by so quickly, especially during the hurried holidays.
My mantra: I will slow down. I will spend meaningful time with my hard-working family and busy friends. I will take care of myself and do something good for those less fortunate than I am. I will remember…
It started this week. Tuning in to catch the kiddie Christmas specials that I’ve passed on in recent years because I’ve been busy or working. How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer thus far, with A Charlie Brown Christmas coming up tonight. From the library, I’ve just ordered complete television seasons of shows I loved in my youth- Family Ties and Eight is Enough-shows that celebrated family and made me laugh. (Eight is Enough was a little before my time, but I must have enjoyed watching the re-runs) More modern feel-good TV, for me, would be The Office or Parks and Recreation. I’ll see how long this mid-west winter gets before I start binging past seasons of those too.
Nostalgia has become big business for my generation, in my late 30s, and those around my age recently. It seems as if every toy that was popular when I was growing up is having a renaissance moment. Nintendo’s reboot of the classic NES game system selling out in minutes demonstrates how powerful the lure of reliving one’s childhood can be. I’ve scoffed at the remakes of beloved 80’s classics like Ghostbusters and other commercial attempts at cashing in on my nostalgia. However, I do understand that yearning to relive the past and reconnect with my inner child. I’d be soundly happy playing board games and completing jigsaw puzzles all my winter days. Maybe building a snowman or two.
Bath and Body Work’s even got into the nostalgia game in recent years when it re-released favorite body care from the 1990s in it’s “Flashback Fragrance” campaign. Although I have the fondest memories of spritzing on Cucumber Melon mist, my beauty tastes have matured to the point that I couldn’t oblige in buying any. But I understand how powerfully linked scent and memory can be.
The Christmas scents that I connect to fond remembrances of my past are; hot cocoa with melty marshmallows, soggy woolen mittens from playing in the snow draped over the heater to dry, my grandma’s pumpkin pie and nutty kolachi, a colorful jar of peppermints, butterscotch and Christmas candies at my other grandma’s house and the unforgettable incense wafting through the church pews at midnight mass.
The not-so-Christmasey candles I’ve bought recently. We never had a live tree growing up, so I can’t reminisce over that fresh balsam smell, but I’ve grown to love it. One of my most uplifting Christmas scents to light.
I’ve refrained from purchasing any of Yankee’s new Festive candles for the first time in years. Those redesigned labels weren’t helping their cause. Thankfully, I spied a few holiday treasure tarts before they were gone. Some of these classic scents haven’t been released as wax tarts in years. My nostalgic inner child couldn’t resist.
Which scents conjure up your childhood Christmases? Are they able to be recreated? Any nostalgic activities that you long for this time of year?