When I was a child, Christmas smelled like cranberry.

Of course we had a tree.

And it smelled wonderful!

It smelled so much better than the trees do now.  Stronger.  Why is that?

The best of the Christmas tree smell was in the morning.  Best for the first one up and through the living room door into the air that had been still and cold all night while we all slept in our bedrooms dressed in flannel nightgowns and pajamas made by my mother and bundled under blankets and comforters.

The scent of the tree was best then.  I loved it.  And I loved to put my nose right into a bare spot in the tree and just breathe it all in.

But, what really said “Christmas is here” to me was cranberry.

The cranberry scent of a candle.

A candle we had every year for as long as I can remember.

It was a tall glass pillar shape, with the image of Mary the Blessed Mother on the outside.  The outside felt and looked like tiny glass or plastic balls of different colors, melted just enough to mold together a little and cling to the glass forming the image.  I loved to rub my hands over the bumpy exterior.  The image was beautiful and when the candle was lit it glowed somewhat like a church’s stained glass window.

When we opened the cardboard box of decorations it was in, the cranberry scent of the candle danced out and swirled around my head happily announcing the start of the Christmas season.  And all the decorations inside smelled like it, too.

I would hold the candle, put my nose into it, and just breathe deep.  The candle sat on top of my parents’ desk not far from the front door.  I would pick it up often as I walked by just to smell it.

Now, each year, I try to buy a cranberry scented candle to enjoy during Christmas time.

It’s a little bit of my childhood joining me each year.

It brings to mind all those wonderful Christmas memories and all the things I love about this time of year.

And it just smells like Christmas.