“The holidays can be hurried, harried and emotional, but hey – don’t they smell great?” asks NPR’s Simon Scott. And he’s right, isn’t he? No matter how much you might dread the badgering, almost inappropriate, questions from Aunt or Uncle What-Their-Face, the smell of mom’s pie or the fir tree in the corner brings back a feeling of comfort and security like nothing else.
Each of us has our own favorite smell, right? Cranberries, fir, mulled wine, coffee, apple pie, fire, spruce, peppermint; the list goes on and on. But each smell holds its own weight on our heart depending on associations built in previous times.
Why is that? Because the olfactory bulb is located in within our limbic system, which has been coined the “emotion center” of the brain. The strength, as Aftel puts it, “…get[s] embedded in there, in your brain, without you being able to kind of get on top of it with words, so it’s just a sensual experience.”
So this Holiday season, close your eyes, breath it in, and don’t forget that the connections of comfort we make with the Holidays come straight from the smells lingering about in the air.