Hello, Winter.

living roomnow

My cozy living room.

Squeee!!! Happy December.

I love this time of year. Christmas has already thrown up all over our living room – we did all the decorating over Thanksgiving, while eating our traditional repast of pizza. This year we decided to try to fit every single ornament on the tree. It was fun, even though there isn’t much tree left that isn’t bedizened with some weird blown glass pickle or parrot or dinosaur or deep sea diver.

I’m at peace with missing my dad – mostly in passing waves, when I can’t call him or see him on a holiday. I know the first year will be hard.

Anyway, scent-wise, this is the season basically to go insane. In the house I have those lamp rings (on my few remaining incandescents) that you fill with essential oils – I’m partial to a combo of cinnamon, ginger and orange. My room spray alternates between some faux-pine stuff (to complement our faux tree) and the divine Annick Goutal Noel, which smells like the inside of a veeeeery expensive florist, with emphasis on the big walk-in chiller.

I went down in the basement and rootled around.  It is finally cold enough to feel right for super cold weather scents. I grabbed:

Fendi Theorema, because its candied orange always makes me think of the holidays;

My weird vintage robo-duck bottle of Donna Karan, because I’m still trying to decide if I like it;

Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger – this is the season for Serge, isn’t it? I could have substituted any two or five other SL scents here.

Teo Cabanel Alahineyummmmmmm, so glad I dug this out. My bottle’s older, and it is rich and sweet and spicy.

Unum Lavs — Patty sent me this in the summer and I just couldn’t deal. But now it’s perfect! What’s winter without an incense?

Your turn. Are there particular scents you turn to now, or associate with the season? What’s in your regular rotation?



  • zelda1947 says:

    March, your tree is beautiful and your living room looks exactly like someplace Santa would like to put his feet up and have some milk and cookies. Lately, I’ve been on an incense tear: Montale Full Incense, Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi, Armani Prive Bois d’Encens, and CdG Kyoto, all of which I am loving. Kyoto especially speaks to me; it’s so haunting and beautiful. I also grabbed my Nuit de Noel out of the back of my perfume closet and put it in a prominent place on my dresser (difficult to do since my dresser is so *crammed* with bottles.) I also have put Krizia’s amazingly sexy Teatro Alla Scala in a prominent place; I daren’t wear it to work, but when I get home at night I like to pour some in the palm of my hand (it’s a splash) and just go ape with it. And for a real Christmassy hit, I absolutely LOVE Claire Burke’s Original in the spray EDT. And the room spray. And the potpourri, and the oil. Oh, and I have at least 4 dozen cinnamon-scented pine cones scattered in baskets all around the first floor of my house. Methinks it is time to get my tree up.

  • Ula says:

    Feel home sick! Beautiful!

  • nicole says:

    Let’s see,winter has me rolling out my beloved BBW Vanilla Noir,Yeah I know BBW,but this was dark sexy & unique. I also love Badgley Mischka because it’s boozy fruitcake dunked in patchouli.

  • thecindyb says:

    What a beautiful tree. I love winter fragrances. Right now I’m wearing Caron’s parfum sacre. Other winter loves are seattle chocolate, DSH bourbon vanilla (sometimes with I Hate Perfumes Gingerbread or Serge Five o clock au gigembre- like vanilla and ginger together very much), Serge Amber Sultan, and Givenchy Organza Indecence. I really like to layer in winter – recent favorite being Mona Di Orio’s vanilla under her amber – sooo nice and cuddly together. So basically occasional caron with vanilla, vanilla, vanilla, vanilla and amber 😉

  • tammy says:

    Oh, mercy sakes, your home looks soooo cozy and festive and lovely! Such is the stuff memories are made of.

    I am that Christmas Freak everyone rolls their eyes at; I have several trees, hundreds of ornaments and dozens of tubs filled with Christmas decor galore. We went faux about 10 years ago, which is when I jumped on the crazy train as far as hard-core decorating goes. All through the house, baby, all through the house. It takes sooo much time and effort that I usually start Halloween night, and keep everything up til well into January.

    Or February, or whenever. Judge not lest ye be judged. (I did leave it up all year once, and never tired of it it!). I love Fall too, but I put all that up in June to help me make it through the hell that is summer in the Deep South, so I am ready to move on come November 1st.

    I do try and limit my Christmas music to December ( other than the days I decorate, because come on.) We have hundreds of Christmas albums and CDs, but let’s face it, it’s pretty much the same 30 songs, and it gets old fast, even for a Christmas fanatic like myself.

    I tend to like heavy, cold weather scents as a rule anyway, but I do marinate myself in Nuit de Noel, Yatagan, Opium and such even more so this time of year. On Christmas Day I anoint myself with a few precious drops from my decant Vouex de Noel and spend a few seconds blessing the memory of Ernest Daltroff and cursing the monsters at IFRA.

    Of late I have started collecting perfumes with Christmasy names…most of them are old drug-store level things, I suspect, and well beyond their prime, but they look cute sitting out on a little tray on my nightstand!

    • Mals86 says:

      I bet your Christmas perfumes are adorable!

      As long as you are getting joy out of your long Christmas season, I’m cool with that. I might scratch my head a little, but I won’t think you’re a freak. 🙂

  • Mariann says:

    I am as usual lagging behind, it always takes me a week or two to adjust to a new season. Though advent calendars help :). Putting up decorations in bits and pieces including AG Noel candle and last years Dipytique. And once I get aroubd to it I’ll also bring out Alahine and Ambre 114 out to play.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I haven’t quite gotten into the holiday spirit yet but I have completed some of my Christmas shopping. Both of my grandmothers and two of my guy friends are completed. Everyone else that I have to shop for have to wait until Amex and my bank account say it’s ok. It’s been about 5 days since Thanksgiving and I’m hating the Christmas music. But I am reaching for Theorema, vintage Bal and no 5. I’m hoping that Santa brings me Beloved or gifts me with enough gift cards for Beloved.

    I’m sorry to hear about your dad.

  • dinazad says:

    We lighted the first Advent candle on Sunday, as is the tradition here. Now various seasonal decorative items will slowly begin to appear – the angelic army (10 copper angels holding candles), the crocheted snowflakes, the birch wreath (if I manage to make it), the creche collection. The tree won’t go up until Christmas Eve, and as usual it will be a small cripple of a treelet which we will hang with so many ornaments that it will look like a pocket-size concentrated version of Versailles as imagined by Versace and the Grimm Brothers. Very festive!
    Scents of the season are Guerlain Winter Delice (pines and tangerines on a cold day), Leonard Balahé (cinnamon! and cookies!), Caroin Nuit de Noel (classy Christmas parties: champagne and foie gras, crystal and silks) and Lutens Mandarine Mandarin (my own private orange grove in bloom – only works on really cold days). And Noel candles (preferably Annick Goutal, but the not quite as pricey Crabtree&Evelyn ones are nice as well) somewhere around the third Advent. Until then it will be some pleasant but not quite as festive scented candle.

  • Mals86 says:

    Lovely tree!

    I’m one of those people who gets more joy out of the Christmas decor when it’s up for a short period of time. (It’s probably at least partly because I love fall so much, I hate to put away my autumnal stuff.) So I’m starting to put away the pumpkins and Indian corn today; will probably start decorating very gradually over the next two weeks. We don’t usually put the (real) tree up until the second weekend in December, and then we take it down on New Year’s Day. The nutcracker collection goes up first and doesn’t get put away until my birthday in the second week of January, though.

    I love, love those AG Noel candles. Floral and citrusy, but there’s a cold bite to them that says Winter! to me. And I often simmer citrus peels with whole spices in water on the stove; my mother still does that too.

    I have not yet gotten out my Alahine, but that is THE Christmas scent for me – not that it smells Christmas-y in itself, but I always pull it out about this time. Adore Alahine. Also need to haul out my Black Cashmere.

    I miss my grandmothers most at Christmas. Are your older girls out on their own now? (Time. Doing that airborne thing again…)

    • Mals86 says:

      Also, I picked up a fragrance oil a couple of years ago from Alkemia Perfumes on Etsy. It’s called Yuletide Blessing, a mix of apple, orange, spice, evergreens, bayberry, and incense – it basically smells like all my winter candles lit at once, and it’s wonderful sprinkled on older potpourri or dripped into that pot with citrus peels. It’s distracting on my skin, but I love it as ambiance.

      • March says:

        That sounds fantastic. Since my tree doesn’t smell, I’m always looking for ways to tart the room up scent-wise, and I don’t care for candles.

  • Heidi says:

    ‘Tis the season for Serge, isn’t it? I’ve also been wearing Ambre Narguile, Comme de Garcons’ Avignon, and some of my leathers (Cuir Mauresque and Cuir de Russie). And when I wish I was in Florida with my in-laws instead of in frigid North Dakota, I splash on some Frederic Malle Cologne Indelible.

    And also, I adore you for using the word “bedizened.” Your vocabulary always tickles me.

  • Suzy Q says:

    Hi March!
    I love revisiting my favorite perfumes after a seasonal hiatus. Like you there are a number I could choose from but so far it’s been these three for me :
    Byredo 1996–there’s a bit of incense in this that isn’t listed in the official notes.
    Prada Infusion d’Iris absolue–this is the version with benzoin.
    Histoires de Parfums Ambre 114–a much smoother herbal amber than Ambre Sultan that dries down into a patchouli that resembles Coromandel only quieter.

  • Ann says:

    What a beautiful, yet cozy and inviting living room you have there, dear March! Love your scent choices as well, and your mention of AG Noel reminds me that I need to get going and get some of that. I know this holiday season will be challenging; it really does come in waves, as you said. But you have some wonderful memories to hold onto. Will be thinking of you and sending you hugs and prayers.

    • Ann says:

      P.S. We’re debating getting a faux tree this year (DH is sick of finding pine needles in the living room in July, ha!). Anyone have any ideas, tips, suggestions for taking the plunge? Thanks!

      • March says:

        We inherited ours (now we have two, lol, or we did at one point.) My experience/advice is: don’t bother with the extra expense with the pre-wired lights, which stop working after a year or two and then you’re stuck. Continue to decorate with your own cheapo removable lights. Ours has little pinecones on it which is kind of cute.They come in 3 – 4 stacking sections which make it super-easy to assemble. I miss the smell, but I don’t miss the mess, hassle and expense. — March

  • cinnamon says:

    Oh, lord, Christmas. I don’t allow my son to start singing xmas songs till the day after Thanksgiving. Nosirreebob! Impressed with your tree. I don’t think we’ll have one till the weekend. It’s not cold enough yet to really think proper winter fragrances. Still waiting for the other shoe to drop weather-wise. But, when it does: Dior Eau Noire and, well, Shalimar (oh, but it’s Shalimar all the time). I haven’t purchased a bottle of perfume in ages. This occurred to me the other day. So, I thought, what would I want for cold weather??? List is currently: Le Labo Ylang 49 (is that the right number?), Vero Profumo Rubj or Andrea Macke Coven.

    • Mals86 says:

      Am with you on the Christmas music! I sing with a community group and we start practicing in August for our Christmas concert, but that doesn’t really trouble me – it’s the Rudolph/Frosty/Winter Wonderland stuff I absolutely can’t take. Our usual radio station goes Christmas music 24/7 ten days before Thanksgiving, so I have to stop listening to them until about Dec. 15.

      “Shalimar all the time” – if you love it, you love it.

  • Neva says:

    Your living room looks veeeeery cozy. I love it! Over here we mostly have real trees, so the right preparations start a few days before Christmas. So far I only have a glamorous self made wreath on my door.
    As for the scents: a Diptyque Noisetier scented candle dominates my living room and I am eagerly waiting for the mailman to arrive with a bottle of vintage Shiseido Feminite du Bois – a Christmas present from me to myself 🙂 This will be my ultimate scent pleasure for the wintertime.

    • March says:

      Re teh fake tree — let me clarify that most (?) people in the US do real ones, as did I, until I inherited a fake tree when a relative passed away, and realized they’re so easy to put up. And obviously if I want to put it up in November and take it down in February I can. (not that we’d ever do that, ohno, lol) Vintage FdB — now THAT is a fantastic Christmas present. Another thing I need to trot down and get, thanks for the reminder.

  • caseymaureen says:

    Yep, I’ve got the Alahine out again! Olfactive Studio Flashback and Amber Fetiche for every day wear and when I’m alone Messe de Minuit – because it could possibly be weaponised!
    Deeply impressed with the Christmas preparations…….

    • March says:

      Once the big girls moved out, I told them they needed to come home to help with the tree or it probably wouldn’t be happening. Hence the do-it-over-Thanksgiving-holiday route. We’re flexible! I like the company; we listen to carols and wear our PJs. Messe de Minuit — man, I have a bottle and I need to go find it! One of the earliest frags of my obsession.

  • Ellen says:

    Ambre Fetiche by Annick Goutal and Norne by Slumberhouse are on different areas of my arms. No Christmas stuff up yet, but soon I hope. I like ambers, incense, and fir this time of year even though I live in a very temperate climate. Winter here is very short and really not even cold enough to wear a heavy jacket. I miss snow for about fifteen minutes every winter here. Your tree looks gorgeous. Inspiring!

    • March says:

      Heh. I keep contemplating moving to a more temperate climate, and maybe I will. I’m always ready to see the season go by the time it does. Thanks for the tree compliments. It’s a lot of effort, and every year I’m glad I made it.

  • Tiffanie says:

    Hey, we have a blown glass pickle on our tree, too. We haven’t had enough cold weather yet to for me to find a favorite cold weather scent, but at the moment I keep reaching for Eau des Merveilles. It’s great in all weather, and I’m loving it even more now than in the summer.

    • March says:

      I’m too lazy to look it up, but the pickle is actually some sort of meaning of luck or well wishing or what have you. Mostly our theme is “random”. My mother collected Christmas ornaments, the quirkier the better. Regarding EdM — goodness! I love that. I had an almost-empty spray bottle I got for a song on eBay, and now it is all gone. I need to restock. It’s rather sweaty on me, in a good way.

  • Rina says:

    Wait! IF you like your robo-duck? You must like your robo-duck! If not, I’ll gladly give it a new home! As far as winter, I’m not happy, I hate being cold. Maybe I should join Portia in Summer Down Under! Your tree is lovely! Enjoy!

    • Portia says:

      Come Rina, It’s warm and fun down here.
      Portia xx

    • March says:

      I am determined to learn to Love the Duck, because I love DK and I love that bottle. Yeah, I like the cold now (love the changing seasons) but talk to me in February and I’ll be singing a different tune.

      • Rina says:

        It (and you) are on the list, dear Portia! March, understood. It is how I look at Aromatics Elixer. I’m making myself love it, for the same reasons…

  • FeralJasmine says:

    The perfumes that I only seem to wear in this season:
    Theorema. My ultimate Thanksgiving perfume.
    DSH Cordial
    Vintage Nuit de Noel
    And new addition to my Christmas line-up, Ambre Eccentrico by Armani. Spices, stewed fruit, and Amber. A holiday cocktail.

  • Rose says:

    Err, that’s “Noel”. Silly autocorrect.

  • Rose says:

    First off, I love your tree, it’s gorgeous! I was thinking I should put one up this year for the first time in a decade or so.
    I recently switched out some scents in my little coin purse of a dozen decants to reflect the colder weather we’re having in Seattle- to go with all the cashmere sweaters and scarves I’ve been wearing! Here’s my (rather long) list:
    Theorema is also one out my faves, such a lovely comfort scent. And I wouldn’t want to be without Serge’s Arabie (which just smells like the holidays to me) or Ambre Sultan this time of year! I love the way Montale’s Aoud Velvet wafts up to my nose from my scarf when I wear it. And although they’re in year round use for me, Olympic Orchids’ Dev #4 and Dev #2 are so delicious and incensey, and just yummy!
    Lolita Lempicka’s “L” is the perfect cinnamon/ orange scent for me, and the lotion is very incensey on my skin, so I use them both. And last but not least, Sonoma Scent Studios’ Tabac Aurea and Champagne de Bois join their sister Wood Violet this time of year.
    Thank you for the post, I’m going to have to search out the Bowl and the Alahine- they sound right up my alley! 🙂
    Very happy holidays to you!

    • March says:

      Yep, Arabie and Ambre Sultan are so seasonal. I suspect based on your list you’d like Alahine. The Noel was a bit of a surprise (I bought it on impulse at a Sniffa Bergdorf event) — it doesn’t smell “Christmas-sy” per se. Again, more white and mentholated. Flower shop. It’s lovely.

  • Portia says:

    Hey March,
    Your tree looks perfect, ours is up too.
    As you know it’s just clicked over into summer here in Oz but I manage to be currently drenched in Shalimar Parfum, Ormonde Jayne’s Vanille d’Iris, Lann-Aël by Lostmarc’h and Coconut Milk by Sarah Horowitz.
    The season will definitely have Nuit de Noel, CHANEL No 5 & 22, La folie de Noel by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and Liberte by Cacharel running scent trails behind me.
    The house smells like MudAustralia candles, you can get them all over the world now. Unbelievably gorgeous and quite reasonably priced, currently burning Mud02 and the house smells so beautiful.
    I’m fully Christmas ready.
    Hope yours is lovely.
    Portia xxxx

    • March says:

      Lostmarc’h! I have a decant of Lann-Ael somewhere…. lots of votes for Nuit de Noel. I will have to look online at those candles. Glad to hear I’m not the only one who gets on with the season early! Hugs.