Christmas Perfume: What Are You Wearing?

Hey Posse! Christmas Perfume! I reckon anyone who lives in most of the western world and quite a bit of the east you’ll have noticed the world’s greatest retail event is happening tomorrow. For all the Christians, practicing and non, this makes a lot of sense but for the rest of the worshipping world it’s a sparkly event in honour of our completely made up God, not nearly as good as their completely real one. Having been brought up in a Roman Catholic family, taught in primary school by nuns and then Jesuits in my senior years the Christ story runs deep, right to the bone. Jin was brought up in three religions, one of which was Christianity. So, we celebrate Christmas in a very non-religious way but with reference in our minds and hearts to Jesus. So I’m writing Christmas fragrances because that’s what we’ll be celebrating.

Should you have been celebrating anything else then please tell us what it was and what fragrances felt good and appropriate for your celebrations. We want to hear from you too. Perfume Posse is about 100% inclusion, so feel welcome, share, get involved.

I’m writing this in the past, 8pm December 23, and I’ve been wafting Madonna Truth or Dare since morning. It’s buttery white floral majesty is still pumping out. I love it so much and it’s been a perfect fit for catch ups and lunch at Sydney Opera House with a buddy. The sun was shining, 27C/80F, the place was very quiet (except for us) and the food was amazing.

Christmas Perfume: What Are You Wearing?

Christmas Eve

Jin is working this Christmas Eve. He’ll be gone from 5pm to around 7.30am. So I’ve invited a small crew of people over for a Chinese Take Away. Low fuss get together. We’ll hang out, eat, chat, reminisce and enjoy a night of chosen family.

Christmas Perfume

Ubar by Amouage

Top: Litsea cubeba, Mandarin orange, Orange, Violet leaf
Heart: Freesia, Jasmine, Lily of the valley, Orange blossom, Rosewood, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang
Base: Copaiba balsam, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver, Amber

What do you wear when you want to smell like a dream of the Middle East. Ubar is a cross pollination for me that stretches from Africa to the far east and takes in stops everywhere in between. It is like a journey every time. A perfect fragrant substitute for the travel to Jerusalem by Joseph and Mary, and then the wise men.

Surrender To Chance has samples

Christmas Day

Jin will come home and sleep for a few hours and I’ll be readying the place while wafting my first Christmas Perfume. Once he gets up he will do Roast Pork. I will have a small selection of salads already done and waiting for him. We will do our presents while the meat cooks and then sit down to a late lunch. Just us. Then he’ll go back to sleep for a couple of hours and I’ll trot upstairs to the party for a couple of drinks and some laughs in my second Christmas Perfume. Once he resurfaces I have a feeling we will both be too sapped to make dinner so will probably go hit one of the fast foods. A perfect Christmas Day.

Christmas Perfume

Terracotta Le Parfum by Guerlain

Bergamot, Coconut, Tiaré, Orange blossom, Jasmine, Ylang-ylang, Vanilla, Musk

Starting the day in a tropical white floral extravaganza. It’s summer here so the mood will be laid back, hopefully.

Seville a l’Aube by L’Artisan

Top: Aldehydes, Lavender, Petitgrain, Plant juice
Heart: Benzoin, Beeswax, Jasmine, Orange blossom, White blossoms
Base: Amber, Resins, Rose, Frankincense

Orange blossom, honeycomb and incense rule this beauty. It was made around the story of an Easter romance but I still think it fits the Christmas story too. Wears like a dream, rich and beguiling.

Surrender To Chance has samples.

Boxing Day

Our Boxing Day ritual is left overs lunch at BFF Kath’s Dad’s place. Usually just the close family. This year Kath is away so we are going around to hang with Dad. It will be a fun, very low key event. Watch some TV, eat, swim and spend a lazy day together. We will really miss Kath. It’s the first Xmas since 2001 that I’ve not been with her.

Exultat by Maria Candida Gentile

Top: Brazilian bitter orange, Brazilian lime, Sicilian orange, Somalian frankincense
Heart: Violet, Violet leaf
Base: Precious woods, Texas cedar, Haitian vetiver

HA! I wore Exultat last year for Boxing Day too. Talk about consistent. It seems like the perfect Christmas Perfume because it brings back so many memories of the smell of church for me. Woods and incense. Perfection.

What will you be wearing over the season? What have you particularly been reaching for?
Portia xx


  • Brigitte says:

    On Christmas Eve I wore my Surrender to Chance decant of Keiko Mecheri Loukoum.
    Christmas day vintage Estee Lauder Private Collection which was a holiday staple in my home about 45 years ago. It’s been decades since I smelled it but now with a bottle once again in my collection I can wear it again.

  • John says:

    Au Coeur Du Desert and Tabac28 are my holiday picks this year.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Now I have a craving for Ubar! The past couple days I have been wearing Kyoto and working and haven’t thought about which perfume I am going to wear tomorrow. It’s going to be a very quiet Christmas with just my parents and dogs.

  • shiva-woman says:

    I’m wearing Mandy Aftel’s Vanilla Smoke. It’s fall-winter and just warm, cozy, smoky vanilla. But sidebar: You guys are outside, smiling in the sun, completely carefree looking! Wow! It’s amazing and wonderful. I’m in California in the Sierras and we’re in total lockdown, no ICU beds and it’s just anxiety inducing to go out. You both look so…normal and happy. The husband is Jewish and I’m an agnostic Buddhist Paganish sort of person who loves the glitter and fresh cut cedar tree inside our house, the candles, incense and thoughtful presents chosen throughout the year, not a hasty smash at a mall. We believe in celebrating it all, Hanukah, Saint Nick, reindeer, sweet pastries and other goodies. We’re having a non-traditional seafood and artichoke dinner. Tomorrow for the day itself (it’s Christmas eve now), I might wear either Shalimar vintage from 60’s or I may wear Oud Picante by Areej le Dore. Or just keep with Mandy. Merry Christmas Everyone! Stay safe and remember “On January 1st, hindsight really will be 2020.” Cheers to 2021…

  • Tara C says:

    Love your picks! Right now I’m covered in a ton of samples, but will be having a wash and applying vintage Nuit de Noel extrait. Then tomorrow I think I’ll join you in Exultat. Like March said, this year has been trying and exhausting, and my situation has been privileged compared to so many. Wishing that by summer 2021 we will be looking at a much better world.

  • Ariel says:

    I haven’t had the pleasure of smelling anything you’ve listed (yet!) Especially intrigued by the notes listed for Exultat.

    I’m straddling the line between scent-sensitive husband and the desire to bath (e.g., more than three squirts) in Areej Le Dore’s Baikal Gris.

    From Russian Adam’s website:
    Top notes
    Russian fir balsam, violet leaf, grey Indian ambergris

    Heart notes
    old Mysore sandalwood resinoid extracted by Russian Adam, vanilla, grey Indian ambergris

    Base notes
    tonka bean, fossil amber, cypress, cedarwood, oakmoss and nagarmotha

  • Marzipan says:

    Today I’m wearing Melkmesije Baruti. Maybe tomorrow Q.B. Adjiumi.

  • AnnieA says:

    Wearing Delina today. Will probably wear JM Ginger Biscuit, thanks to cm8 (I think that’s the right handle).

  • Malmaison says:

    What a great selection of perfumes! I’ve been wearing Terracotta myself all week, it works brilliantly in a very humid Auckland, but for Christmas Day I’m breaking out the Hermès Ambre Narguile. Every Christmas morning my sister makes fresh cinnamon rolls to start the day and this perfume which I love so much is now inextricably associated with that wonderful smell and taste. In fact, I’m going over there in an hour, bringing the equally traditional Veuve, and we shall be raising a glass to a better 2021 for us all. Wishing a very Happy Christmas to you and the perfume community ????

  • Ellen says:

    I’ll be wearing Chanel Coco! Today is jil Sanders no 4 vintage. Both perfect for cool northern CA weather.

  • maggiecat says:

    Merry Christmas to all! I chose Chanel 1932 for today: the scent itself isn’t “Christmasy” per se, but my husband gave it to me a few Christmases ago, and it’s the only perfume he’s ever gifted me, and it’s…Chanel. It’s sunny but chilly in Dallas – we’ll head out to an early Christmas Eve service at our chrch (the one where masks are required) and the home to eat healthy and enjoy the holiday together. I’m missing my son and grandson terribly, but looking forward both to the end of the pandemic and to my retirement, which will allow for more frequent visits.

  • MMKinPA says:

    Wonderful selection and Happy Christmas to you and yours. I will wear Ormonde Jayne Woman, because I love it and my 2021 project will be a different perfume every day (although I fully expect to wear multiple perfumes some days in order to wear my favorites more than once in the year!)

  • SpringPansy says:

    Wonderful post, Portia! I love reading about how you will fill this special day and of course, your perfume choices. Despite the stress, I enjoy this time of year – not just presents and family and cooking traditions (all of which I love), but also the meaning of Christmas.

    I have several perfume plans over the next few days – both Fendi Theorema and Fendi Fendi – but not at the same time ;), also POTL Luctor et Emergo and Mitsouko (which has suddenly grown on me) and maybe some VC&A Bois d’Iris (suggested below by Dina). It’s been a rough year for so many (it’s our first year with no living parents), but we still have each other and a warm house and enough food to eat. May love fill everyone’s holiday!

  • Hamamelis says:

    Lovely to read a Portia post! I am wearing Tasnim, such a heavenly Ylang Ylang. I’m not sure about tomorrow, maybe more Tasnim, or April Aromatics Lotus Rising or Vanilicious, both wonderful.

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    I miss your scent diary posts, Portia! Glad to see that you are both well and happy. My husband and I are both working today on Christmas Eve, he is out in the cold and I am in front of a computer. I am wearing Molinard Les Amoureux de Peynet, a sort of work from home in your pj’s type of scent. I haven’t planned what I will wear tomorrow but it will likely be another soft comfort fragrance. Christmas for us will be subdued this year as we remember family and loved ones who we have lost. Just planning a quiet time together and going off-track with an easy seafood meal. Merry Christmas to All!

  • Kathleen says:

    Merry Christmas Portia and Jin! Your celebration sounds beautiful, as well as your perfume selections. I wish everyone a brighter 2021!
    Yesterday I wore Amouage Memoir, it is a special occasion perfume for me, warm and incense. For Christmas Eve day I will wear MCG Burlesque, powdery incense myrrh and iris. I had already chosen this for today when I read your post, and we both chose an Amouage and Maria Candida Gentile perfume! Christmas Day will be yet unsniffed Chanel LeLion, my self-bought gift from husband (I’ve been waiting one-year for the US release!). I know I will love it!

  • Dina C. says:

    Beautiful post, Portia. I love your reasoning for choosing the scents you plan to wear. I just discovered Seville a L’Aube this year (and read the book about its making), so maybe that would be a good choice for me too. I normally choose a cozy, woods + iris favorite like Bois des Iles or VC&A Bois d’Iris. Wishing you and Jin a wonderful holiday!

  • carole says:

    Portia, thank you for…just being you 🙂 Your generous spirit comes through loud and clear 🙂 I’m wearing Shalimar parfum, Eau de Parfum, and vintage EDC, which is very lemon-y and leather-y and lasts forever. I’m jealous of your x mas day swimming. It was -12 C here today, with a hard frost-perfect Shalimar weather. Tomorrow will be 10 so I might go cycling. Merry Christmas, to everyone here, and I hope 2021 is a better year.

    • Portia says:

      Thank you Carole,
      WOO HOO for Shalimar in the cold. You are smelling amazing.
      Have fun on your cycle.
      Merry Christmas to you too,
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    Glad you got to the SOH when you did! But you’ll be there again, shortly – and get paid to do it!!! (fingers crossed). Your perfume choices are so well thought out! I am continuing to test-drive Divine (your fault, P. Blame Portia ;-). The house smells like Trapp Golden Cypress and Bob’s Flower Shoppe – the kitchen smells like sauerkraut and kimchi (made from my cabbages and I’m just jarring it up now).

    Wishing you & Jin a wonderful, marvelous 2021!!! Give my love to Kath, as well! xoxoxoA & The Girl

    • Portia says:

      YAY Musette! I love that Divine EdP is getting its hooks into you. What a stellar fragrance.
      Also, Woo Hoo for Home Made Kimchi! Jin will be so proud.
      Hope it’s a safe, healthy and peaceful Xmas for you,
      Portia xx

  • March says:

    This year has been … trying and exhausting. I am simultaneously aware of how good I have it compared to so many, and just so, so tired of living this way. I’m lucky to have all four kids together for the first time in two years (two of whom live with me and the other is local and in our “bubble,” one drove from Maine, strict quarantine and testing protocols followed by all to make this possible.) Mostly the good smells are food (lots of little appetizers, we snack all day) and candles — Thymes Frasier Fir, a couple of cheapie DW Home Pipe Tobacco from TJ Maxx which smell surprisingly good and are my winter go-to, plus some lovely Trapp wax melts Anita gave me, strategically placed in tins on the radiators throughout the house. I occasionally throw a small bit of pinon incense on the fire and dream of Santa Fe.

    Your holiday sounds lovely, Portia, and I wish you and Jin and all of us a happy, healthy 2021.

  • Cinnamon says:

    Wearing l’Etat Libre Spice Must Flow. This is my fragrance for this holiday season. It is perfect in so many ways. Today is dry and the sun has come out properly for the first time in ages. It is cold. Thank goodness. Back from the mad morning of picking up the turkey plus all the desserts, pastries to be frozen (from Sara’s in Topsham). Should be a quiet day from here I think. Have lit the Tauer l’Air candle which marks the beginning of Xmas time for us. Will bring out the Diptyque Feu de Bois tomorrow. We mark both Hanukah and Xmas. So, did candles earlier in the month and have tree up and decorated. Xmas day is bagels and lox for breakfast; turkey etc for lunch (which provides sufficient leftovers for days) with banoffee pie. We’re in Tier 2 here in the Southwest but may well be in 3 or even 4 by Monday. A week till new year and then over a cliff into the Great Unknown. When I sat down to write this I thought, totally unbidden, ‘Next year will be better and easier’. I certainly hope so for all of us.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Cinnamon,
      Spice Must Flow grows on me more with each wearing. YUM!
      BANOFFEE PIE! My absolute favourite.
      Yes, fingers crossed for better and brighter days ahead,
      Portia xx

  • Jackie b says:

    Nice choices Ms P! I picked up and put down a few bottles but settled on Papillon Anubis for Christmas Eve dinner with my fam. Not too safe but not too confronting!
    Merry Christmas to our perfume family! Xxx

  • Troy says:

    Well, here we are almost a year later in this craziness. It has been that long since I’ve seen my daughter and grandbaby. Underlying health conditions keep me from flying. But we FaceTime…A LOT.
    Last year I was wearing vintage Caron Nuit de Noel that I found at a thrift shop while visiting them. I thought I might cry as I sprayed it on tonight but too many good memories came rushing back for a tears. I hope y’all are well and wishing you a very Merry Christmas!