1st Day of Christmas – #12DCP


First and foremost a very Merry Yuletide to you.  Today is the first of the 12 Days of Christmas. Each day between now and the 12th Day there will be a sensory challenge; part of a journey, culminating, for those who want to, in writing a ghost story. Don’t worry though, you can do the 12  Days without writing a story at the end. Each day is an exercise, a little bit of gymnastics to warm up the grey cells and prevent them from falling asleep by the fire.  Along the way there will be anything from anosmia to zygomatic. Every comment you post along the way will be worth an entry into the draw for a money can’t buy prize.  Today’s topic is……


From Proust and his madeleine  to Gio’s socks, smells are known to conjure up images. Imagine what it must be like to be unable to smell (anosmia); the scent of pine, boiling sprouts and roasting meat all lost. But equally what is it like for those whose senses are enhanced or altered in some way; synaesthesics who may smell a colour, or those who can identify a smell-face. Perhaps the smell is a precursor to a psychotic episode, or evidence in a murder trial.

Take a deep breath…… what can you smell, is it pleasant, rank, evocative?

What is the smell of Christmas for you?  Is it one thing, or a combination?  Is there one smell that can take you back to a particular place or time?

So today a comment about smells please, a memory, a link, something from literature – anything smell related that will intrigue, educate or amuse.

Here is a Spotify playlist to help you along.



Posted on December 25, 2011, in #12DCP, 12 Days of Christmas Party and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. The Playlist for those without Spotify:

    Victor Wooten – A Fresh Scent
    blink-182 – Does My Breath Smell?
    Bedrock – Heaven Scent – Original Mix
    The White Stripes – I Think I Smell A Rat
    Noah23 – Olfactory Memorial
    Lonely Planet Boy – olfactory nerve
    Seamus Erskine – Olfactory Nitemare
    Chakra’s Dream – Pleasure Of Scent
    Baths – Rain Smell
    Phish – Scent Of A Mule
    John Williams;Itzhak Perlman – Scent of a Woman: Tango (Por Una Cabeza) – Instrumental
    Patra (Duet With Aaron Hall) – Scent Of Attraction
    Solitude Aeturnus – Scent Of Death
    Enigma – Smell Of Desire
    Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
    Television Personalities – Stop & Smell The Roses
    Tomahawk – Sweet Smell Of Success
    Michael Giacchino – That New Car Smell
    Bliss – The Scent of China
    Michael Nyman – The Scent Of Love
    David Sylvian – The Scent Of Magnolia
    John Saylor – The Smell Of Christmas
    Masquer – There Was The Smell Of Grease
    Howard Shore – Wolf Scent
    Matthew Dear – You Put A Smell On Me

  2. Whenever I am asked this question the first thing that comes to mind is the smell of horses hoof burning under the hot horseshoe as the farrier fits it. Although I wasn’t a horsy child my dad used to work for a friend of his in the summer holidays, who kept horses and I used to spend a lot of my days, mostly quite solitary, there. The stable girl taught me to put a bridle together, I loved cleaning the leather, and the farrier was fascinating to watch.

  3. So far today I have collected the following:
    Strong spruce smell (tree in the dining room),
    florist paper – I hadn’t realised how much it smells and have been using it as wrapping paper,
    Haddock, Fresh coffee
    Rotting wood, yarrow, Alexanders, wood fires, Cesspit run off – whilst dog walking, country living for you!
    DNKY pink

  4. Just had to google anosmia to zygomatic – am I allowed to define the meaning here for those others who would have to look up the definition? Now thinking I am going to need a dictionary next to me to read this blog! /well done Vivia it must have taken you ages to find all those songs with smells in it – fantastic subject for the 12 days

  5. Bit late to the party this year but its now time to catch up on this sensory journey (what a fab idea it is too).

    So smell memories….particularly Christmassy for me is the smell of the Christmas cake being baked…so cinnamon, nutmeg, clove aromas…and also whisky which will be used to enhance the cake….and the zingy smell of peeling clemintines….and chestnuts because we always had chestnut stuffing

    I used to work with someone who had almost no sense of smell..it made him very adventurous food wise

  6. Christmas smells… oh how long ago it seems now.. but Christmas lasts until my birthday in this house, so is only over when the midnight bell tolls tonight.

    So Christmas smells for me as a child were :

    Starting from when you open your stocking in the morning :

    oranges, the smell of the zest as they are peeled
    milk chocolate , always milk chocolate in the stocking

    The house full of the smell of roast turkey, it was put in very first thing in the morning, and cooked til mid afternoon
    burnt brandy and raisins, the smell of Christmas pudding
    The sizzly smell of the bangs in the crackers

    Hot baked sausage rolls and mince pies for tea.

  7. that cracker bang is really distinctive too, not like fireworks smell, different, sharper somehow…

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