Smelling, hearing, tasting and seeing Christmas
1. Santa always left oranges, 2. Before the fudge..., 3. A child's Christmas wishes..., 4. Technicolor Red
I've waxed nostalgic this week thinking about all the memories of Christmases past. As I've reflected, I've found it interesting how many of the memories are sensory memories--smells, sounds, tastes and colors.
I keep all our Christmas decorations in plastic storage boxes in our walk-in attic. When it's time to decorate the house I go "shopping" in the attic and hand-pick the decorations I feel like featuring that year. I don't ever put out all the decorations at once. It would be exhaustive and way too cluttered. Instead, I like to "shop" for things I've forgotten we have or special items that I always remember when I think of decorating for Christmas.
A few years ago, my mother sat down with me and my brother and sister and we divided up all the Christmas decorations we had known as children. Each of us got to keep the things that mattered most to us while divesting my mother of the burden of storing so much.
This year, as I dug through one of the boxes of Christmas decorations I came across the jingle bell door hangers that my mom made about 40 years ago. The bells ring with a deep rich tone just as I have always thought the jingle bells on Santa's reindeer should sound. As my hands pawed through the box, the sound of the bells resonated up through the decorations. To me, that is the sound of Christmas.
Both Hubby and I are big fans of old classic movies, particularly old Christmas classics. One of our favorites is White Christmas. We popped it into the DVD player earlier this week to watch the digitally remastered and restored version we have in our cherished holiday collection. As I watched the brilliant dance numbers in glorious technicolor I found myself drawn to the reds over and over again. To me, that is the color of Christmas.
As I chatted with my mother on the phone this week, we reflected on the homemade Christmas treats that we considered to be the quintessential treat that always meant it was Christmas. Interestingly, it is different for the both of us. For my mom, it is the special butter cookies colored with green food coloring and sprinkled with colored sugar that her mother made every year. And although my mom continued that tradition for us, the Christmas treat I always associate with Christmas is my mom's homemade fudge. The creamy chocolate goodness melting in my mouth and sliding down my throat is what I remember. To me, that is the taste of Christmas.
Every year for as long as I can remember, an orange was left in the toe of my Christmas stocking. After digging my way through the contents of my bulging stocking, the last prize was always a perfect orange (usually a naval orange). During the childhood years we lived in snowy Colorado, that orange was a particular treat.
When I was about 8 or 9 years old, we got a scratch-and-sniff children's book entitled The Sweet Smell of Christmas about a little bear that went through his house smelling all the smells of Christmas. He, too, got an orange in the toe of his stocking and my favorite page of the book was that one where I could scratch and sniff the pungent aroma of orange.
Now that I have a home of my own, I grow a number of varieties of citrus in my garden. When I harvest the fruit, the bright smell of orange oil on my fingertips brings back memories of when everything seemed magical on Christmas morning. To me, that is the smell of Christmas.
What is the smell, taste, color, or sound of Christmas to you?
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