A Few of My Favorite Holiday-Season Scents

Christmas baubles

‘Tis the season! — and I’m trying not to get Grinch-y, as I often do at this time of year, when accumulated stresses and obligations (and NYC crowds) finally get to me. One way to stay calm, I find, is to turn to several scents that I associate specifically with the holiday season. I’ve worn them before, through holidays merry and not-quite-so-merry, and they remind me to stop and savor small, familiar pleasures at this all-too-often overstuffed time of year.

On one hand, Christmas is a time for tradition, and every year I reach for my treasured bottle of Caron Nuit de Noel Parfum on Christmas Eve. I find this fragrance wonderfully difficult to parse: it certainly includes oakmoss and some very dark rose, but I could also be convinced that it smells a bit like church incense, or roasted chestnuts, or a pine forest at night. In other words, it’s just abstract enough to lend itself to various fanciful interpretations…

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Parfums Raffy

Holiday fragrance gifts 2015, part 6

Our annual series of holiday gift posts continues with scented bath & body products. Still to come: cheap thrills, followed by luxury.

Oriza L Legrand bar soap

From Oriza L Legrand, bar soap trios (“L. Legrand soaps, enriched with organic Shea butter, won their universal reputation for their soothing qualities and absolute purity. Heralded in the first issue of Art and Fashion (circa 1890); the soaps from Oriza L. Legrand are so delicate you cannot be afraid to use them on the face.”) in two fragrances, Verveine de Vénus and Mimosa Doré. Three 125g bars for $39.50 at Twisted Lily

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Holiday fragrance gifts 2015, part 1

It’s Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day — but either way, we’re kicking off our annual string of holiday gift posts. Today: scent-related Christmas Crackers. As with advent calendars, they’re more popular in the UK than the US, but there are plenty to be found everywhere this year. More gift suggestions to come over the next few weeks!

Jo Malone 2015 Christmas Cracker

Jo Malone’s 2015 Christmas Cracker: “Delight dinner guests with our Christmas Cracker, full of scented surprises. Tart-juicy Blackberry & Bay Cologne. Reviving Lime Basil & Mandarin Body & Hand Wash. Opulent Peony & Blush Suede Body Crème. Tied with mistletoe green ribbon to set the table with style.” $45 at Bergdorf Goodman

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Scented advent calendars 2015, part 1

We won’t start our “official” series of holiday gift posts until Black Friday, but since advent calendars tend to sell out quickly, we’re posting those early this year. (Please note that many of these calendars are not available in the US. Clearly they like Advent calendars in the UK more than in the US).

Lush 12 Days of Christmas 2015

From Lush, the 12 Days of Christmas: “Draw the curtains and build up the fire, allowing a wintry tale to unfold. Between these pages, an Avobath offers uplifting clarity of thought, a creamy Butterbear waits to offer softening cuddles and Cinders warms herself by a crackling cinnamon leaf fire. Snow Angel melts on high, revealing fruity cassie and gorgeous rose absolute. Santa dashes through the snow, whereas Holly Golightly likes to Celebrate with a warming dose of Yog Nog. Don’t confine these festive characters to your page, bring them to life for 12 magical days.” £50 at Lush UK. (Last year this did launch in the US…)

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Lush Don’t Rain on My Parade Shower Gel ~ scented body product review

Lush Don't Rain on My Parade Shower Gel

If you sing in the shower, and you like violet scents, you’re the perfect customer for Lush’s new Don’t Rain on My Parade Shower Gel. Its name is the title of a song from the classic musical Funny Girl, written by Bob Merrill (lyrics) and Jule Styne (music). Barbra Streisand sang “Don’t Rain on My Parade” in the original Broadway production and movie version of Funny Girl, and numerous other artists have covered this song over the past half-century. It’s a defiant hymn to self-confidence:

Don’t tell me not to live, just sit and putter / Life’s candy and the sun’s a ball of butter / Don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade / Don’t tell me not to fly, I’ve simply got to / If someone takes a spill, it’s me and not you / Who told you you’re allowed to rain on my parade?

I do have a shower-humming habit and a love for the Great American Songbook, not to mention an especial fondness for violets, so I couldn’t wait to sniff and try Don’t Rain on My Parade…

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