The Fragrance of Christmas

WHEN YOU THINK OF CHRISTMAS, what tantalizing fragrances come to mind?

For me it is a potpourri. As I close my eyes and invite memories from my childhood to take over, several scents elicit fond memories.

First is the scent of cinnamon as warm snicker doodle cookies are pulled from the oven. Mom made an assortment of cookies: sugar and spice (also known as molasses), peanut butter, and Christmas cut out cookies with colored frosting and candy sprinkles.  There’s nothing like the smell of fresh baked cookies as the Christmas holiday approaches.

Next come the candies. The fragrance of chocolate never fails to make my mouth water. Chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge, cinnamon fudge, and nut mallow goodies. The list goes on and on. Mom had her favorites that she baked just during the Christmas holidays.

Other favorite Christmas fragrances are peppermint and pine. Colorful red and white striped candy canes hung on the Christmas tree we cut down from the woods on our own property. Filled with colorful decorations, the  pine scented boughs looked splendid. On Christmas morn, after presents were open, I would unwrap a candy cane and indulge in its delectable taste. To this day, mint smells of any kind bring pleasant memories.

Last for me is the fragrance of cold, crisp air. Where I live, there is usually snow on the ground at Christmas. When presents have been opened and the Christmas meal consumed, my brothers and I would don our snowsuits and step outside into the cold, crisp refreshing air to engage in winter activities such as sledding, snowball fights, or building a snowman. Upon breathing deeply, fresh air would fill our lungs reviving our sleepy senses making them come alive once again.

But what about that first Christmas?
What fragrances permeated the air on the night our Savior was born?

Perhaps one was the sweat from the donkey embedded in Mary’s clothes that night she and Joseph road into Bethlehem. Maybe one was the aroma of hot food as the inn keeper opened the door to the inn and turned Mary and Joseph away.

Then there’s the scent of straw or hay mingled with the smell of sheep, lambs, donkeys, and goats as Mary and Joseph entered the manger to bed down for the night. Perhaps the stable was not clean and the odor of dung permeated the air.

Maybe Mary smelled Joseph’s warm breath upon her face as he leaned over and gently kissed her forehead and stroked her hair to comfort her during labor. Or maybe one was the stench of warm blood mixed with amniotic fluid that gushed forth as Jesus, our Savior, entered this world.

But maybe, the fragrance that Mary cherished most for years to come was the smell of the fresh linen that swaddled her baby mixed with warm breast milk as she held Jesus close and breathed in the fragrance of the King.


As you wake up Christmas morning, breath in deeply. What fragrances will tickle your nose? Perhaps, you’ll take a moment to remember the fragrance of the first Christmas and praise God for sending His son to be our Savior and King.

Merry Christmas to you all. May you have a safe and happy Christmas.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  (Luke 2:11-12, ESV)

Prayer:  Dear Father in Heaven, Thank You for the birth of Your son Jesus. The sense of smell is perhaps the strongest of the senses. Fragrances elicit a myriad of memories. Let the true fragrance of Christmas permeate the air as we breathe deeply the scent of our Savior and King. Help us remember what a precious gift we were given. The most sacred and cherished gift of all. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen.

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Join the conversation and leave a comment:

What are your favorite Christmas fragrances? When you smell these scents what do they remind you of?  Blessings to you, my friends.





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