They say that smell is the sense most strongly tied to memory. I don't know who 'they' are -- sounds like know-it-all jerks to me -- but 'they're' right. For me, nothing evokes the holidays quite like these smells.

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    Alright, so this one is blindingly obvious for just about everyone, but I’m not trying to be a hipster or anything, dude. The smell of pine just reminds me of Christmas.

    Therefore, if I DON'T smell pine, I assume you have an artificial Christmas tree and I must assume you are a Yuletide traitor.

    I’ve gone on record quite a few times as an opponent of the fake Christmas tree. Yeah, yeah, I get all the arguments in favor of the convenience of the fake tree. No needles, no watering, no fuss. But Christmas SHOULD be about some fuss, says I. Each child should have the little duty of remembering to water the tree every so often. I mean, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t watered the tree and then tried plugging it in with my wet hands as a kid. Getting mildly electrocuted in your pre-teen years builds character, son. The smell of pine and burnt hair will always be with me on the holidays.

    Mmm. Good times. (twitch)

    Flickr / foxypar4
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    Wood Smoke

    Okay, another blindingly obvious one. Wood smoke means fireplaces, fireplaces mean winter and winter means Christmas. Easy, right?

    But for me, wood smoke also reminds me of the time I burned down the old folks’ home right before Christmas. I don’t even really know how it happened. There was a candle and an old lady’s afghan blanket or something ... it’s all real hazy to me.

    Now, you’re probably saying to yourself – “That’s not a very warm and inviting memory.” But it actually all turned out alright in the end. See, the cops didn’t know I was responsible. I was a little angel! But they thought I was traumatized and stuff, so I got all kinds of attention and presents. It was a pretty cool day, all in all.

    Hmmm, I wonder what happened to all the old folks? Oh, well. I bet they had a fine Christmas. That shelter seemed real nice.

    Flickr / Walt Stoneburner
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    Gingerbread / Ginger Snaps

    Obviously, gingerbread is very popular at Christmas. You’re not likely to come across too many gingerbread men at, say, the Fourth of July. It’s a Yuletide thang.

    One year, I remember when Aunt Melba Sue just went to town on a bunch of gingerbread my grandmother had baked up. She was pregnant, and you know better than to get between a pregnant woman and food.

    But what we didn’t know back then is that ginger isn’t particularly good for pregnant women – especially in the doses Melba Sue was tearing up. As a result, Cousin Jimmy Lou came out a little … off. Don’t get me wrong – he’s real good at math and stuff. But it’s real hard to get him to concentrate between the drooling fits and his semi-regular screaming-and-breaking-things jags. He never was very good at hide-and-go-seek, God bless him.

    Flickr / dichohecho
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    Scotch Tape

    Okay, scotch tape has a definite smell. It’s that plastic-y smell of celluloid and adhesive, not very strong, but definitely there, and it’s probably one of those smells that’s giving us all cancer. Whatever. It reminds me of wrapping presents -- and that reminds me of Christmas.

    I would help mom wrap the Christmas presents each year – or at least the ones that weren’t mine. But while she was cutting paper and working to make it fit around the boxes, I was cutting pieces of tape and huffing the glue on the underside of them. Now the adhesive on Scotch tape isn’t particularly strong -- unless you’re a kid, and by the end of the holiday, I had a pretty good buzz kickin’. Mmm, good times.

    Flickr / Enokson