LUV – Christmas is our only festival that has its own signature scent. Easter and Halloween may smell of crying children smeared in chocolate, and Guy Fawkes’ night may reek of gunpowder and singed gloves – but that’s all incidental.
Christmas has its own, very deliberate, complex perfume.
First we have the deep base notes of roast chestnuts, stuffing and bread sauce. Then there are the heart notes of mince pies, favourite jumpers, and sherry-fuelled napping. Shot through all this are sharp yellow strands of Secret Santa disappointment, unwelcome hugs from aunties, and post-work do projectile vomit. And finally we’re bathed in top notes of cranberry, mistletoe and pure driven snow.
Of course, those top notes are what we associate with Christmas, and they come from wintry pagan times rather than dusty desert Christian ones. And I say THANK GOODNESS FOR THEM. Because – without fresh holly and pine, and cloves stuck in oranges, and gingerbread, and mulled cider – what would Christmas smell like?
A newborn baby, a bunch of travellers, some animals, and a farmyard. That’s right. If it hadn’t been for the pagans and all their olfactory wonders, Christmas would smell like the hospital tent at Glastonbury Festival.
So I say hooray for the pagans, and hooray for the scents of Christmas.
Although I draw the line at Glade’s ‘blackberry frost’ air freshener. That stuff can fuck off. The morning after a curry it makes our toilet smell like Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo.
– Robyn Wilder
HAT – There are certain Christmas-related delusions I’m willing to indulge. I’ll pretend to believe it’s going to be a winter wonderland come the morning of the 25th, rather than a drizzle-splattered Morrissey video. I can feign a fondness for forking tasteless, lukewarm, dry bird flesh into my mouth. But I balls-out refuse to join in the widespread fantasy that the latter half of December smells like a cinnamon n’ gingerbread-scented hearth in which we all go a bit Bisto over clove-stuffed citrus fruit.
You know what Christmas really smells like. It stinks of Brussels sprout guffs, sellotape, booze breath and the combined perspiration of too many people packed into a living room that needlessly has the heating on full.
You can try and mask it with your pine tree aroma spray and your mulled wine Glade plugin, but all you’re doing is dusting the air with chemicals that conga up noses and can-can on larynxes, gifting your guests the kind of sandpaper throat that has them hacking and spluttering like a cat vomming up a mouse’s eyeball.
We’ve all spent the first half of the month having our windpipes marinated by the walking department store atomisers who insist on filling the ground floor with the cloying stench-drops of One Direction and Tulisa. Why would you choose to replicate that experience in your own home? Why? It makes no frankin’ cense.
– Stuart Waterman