I miss a live green tree, but I often fall back on the thought that I do not want to kill a tree to have in my home for thirty days... maybe a few boughs will do... and that has mostly worked for me. I discovered that smelling that pine scent in the room is really what I am looking forward to each Christmas. Olfactory needs have strong effects for me during the holidays: pine scent, sugar cookies, baked ham, egg nog and nutmeg.
And simply seeing a real pine wreath that a Down-east person made in their home, now hanging off our front porch, draws me deeper in to the season of giving. The wreath maker, for weeks before, ventures in to the woods to go 'tipping.' Once gathered, the loose pine boughs are store in a cold shed or unheated garage...until their hardy hands, usually gloved, makes a creation for the locals. I appreciate all of that dedicated work to brighten my spirit for a low six to twelve dollars a wreath. I tear off bits of the greenery and crush it in my hands, and I inhale what I think is the spirit of Christmas in the Northeast, the spirit of giving.
The memory of scent cascades in to other thoughts: it heralds in the far past and exciting moments of colored paper under a tree, of family then and now, it brings forth the longing to hear songs of the season that have been resting in CD cases. Once vinyl, once 8-tracks, once cassettes. Haven't caught up to Ipods yet....if that is even the right word for digital downloads.
The radio starts way too early with Christmas songs. I turn it off for weeks so it does not ruin the specialty of the holiday moments. Auditory needs have strong effects for me at Christmas: in reminiscing stories, chorals/songs, the quiet of a snowfall on a dark night, and jingle bells. (We have a set on the front door handle that are there year-round.)
I will not venture down the gustatory memories... Except to say they do linger, especially the ethnic dishes...and I like fruitcake as an adult, but hated it as a kid... go figure.
However you choose to celebrate a season that brings forth giving, I wish you enhanced feelings of all of your senses, and above all, JOY and PEACE.