Fragrance of Christmas

They were standing just inside the big front door of the hospital. To enter at all had taken every bit of Georgia's courage; she had waited on the, threshold with a sick pang of remembrance. Then Sister Sebastian, by some good fortune, had opened the door, and there had been an immediate explanation of the errand. However, in addition to the firm, encouraging clasp of Sebastian's hand, there were other conditions that took away the fearful familiarness of the place. The wide hall was hung with ropes of Christmas green, and the fragrance of cedar and juniper and hemlock came from the open door of the chapel down the right-hand corridor, where the Sisters were trimming the chancel. So joyous a fragrance must surely reach up into the wards and have some curative powers. And in addition to Christmas fragrance indoors there was the shine of real Christmas snow under the street lights whenever the front door was opened, and as much hurry and flurry in the twilight of Christmas Eve as in the midday of an ordinary time. Nothing could possibly be less harrowing and yet be the same.
Her wings
By Frances Newton Symmes Allen

A CLOUDLESS, sunlit sky,—not of a pale, wintry blue, but heavy-laden with translucent color; a soft stir of breeze flecking with white caps the deep blue of the bay; mingled with the Christmas fragrance of the pines in the woods; along the shore the sweetness of purple violets blooming in the mission and home gardens of the tiledroofed, adobe-housed, little town of Monterey.

Suddenly he sat up and sniffed and sniffed.
"What is that delectable smell," he muttered, "it's not cookies nor spice-cakes nor gingerbread, but a bit like all three of 'cm all rolled into one. I know," he shouted slapping his knee, "it's German Christmas cakes! It's peppernuts and honeycakes, and those weird and wonderfully decorated lebkuchen I'm smelling; and I'm going to follow that smell and see where it leads me!"
It drew him into a bit of a house directly opposite, up two rickety stairs and into a small and plainly-furnished room, as neat as wax. The cakes were there, sure enough; peppernuts, honey-cakes, anise stars, and gingerbread animals and brownies, gay with pink and blue and green and yellow icing and knobby with almonds and citron, and sitting close by, contentedly making gingham frocks for two indestructible dollies, sat a small, elderly, red apple-cheeked lady.
"Ach, liebster, bester Santa Claus," said she greeting him with outstretched hands. "How very, very glad am I to see you! Sit down and try my Christmas cakes—they're not bad, nicht wahr?—and these other things I'm making for your Christmas stockings. Will they do?" And she spread out before him wristlets and muffetees, penwipers and mittens, book-marks, doll-caps, and needlebooks all beautifully home-made of worsteds, scrap of silk, and bits of ribbon.
English mechanics and the world of science, Volume 92

The mountains raised naked hands to us next morning in the gray, sullen light. Tree and bush, save evergreen, were stripped to the bone of leaf; bare branches stood stark against the sky. A light snowfall had whitened the higher peaks; sombre green of tall pines looked black against the white. The river flowed dark and swollen, gnawing at granite boulders, snarling in foamy rage like a great cat tearing at its bends. Across Shasta, threatening clouds were drawn. It was a changed world, from the bright glow of summer to this lowering winter. Yet the shorn mountains held a strange dignity. I felt depressed as I shook hands with the man of the house, but the cheeriness of his greeting made sunshine. You knew he was glad to see you. Even Don Danuelo smiled at the old welcoming jokes. And Christmas was in the air, Christmas fragrance rose from every green thing, filling the earth. Swaying limbs were Christmas branches resinous and sweet, and young Christmas trees were set like altar tapers thick on the edge of the field.

A single Hemlock, standing alone, with every curving line ridged with snow, through which the feathery green shines darkly, is a fair sight, a Christmas emblem, a tree of beauty. When the sun shines and the snow melts, a faint aromatic fragrance emanates from the dripping foliage, as if the tree were burning incense. This delicate perfume, full of soft suggestion, completes the charm of this wonderful tree, precious alike for nobleness of shaft and grace of branch and leafage, seeming forever to associate it in one's mind with that dear holiday of childhood, which is the solemn festival of maturity.
For the Hemlock is, above all, the Christmas-tree. Its perfume, whenever we inhale it, brings to our minds, not only a vision of the green wood, but a thought of dim and quiet churches wreathed with its boughs, of a deep chancel embowered in its branches, of joyous hymns from white-robed choristers, of the great angelic chorus,
Gloria in Excelsis Domino,
with which Christmas Day first dawned upon a waiting earth, and which echoes still in solemn chant of earthly voices from cloister and cathedral, from chapel and fireside, as year by year the happy day returns, on which we wreathe about the Christmas altar and the Christmas hearth the Hemlock-bough to give forth the sweet incense of its fragrance.
Garden and forest, Volume 4
edited by Charles Sprague Sargent

N Virginia, where I was born, Christmas lasts not one day but a week, sometimes longer,—at least, that is the way it was in the old slave days. Looking back to those days, when Christmas, for me, was a much more momentous event than it is now, it seems to me that there was a certain charm about that Virginia Christmas time, a peculiar fragrance in the atmosphere, a something which I cannot define, and which does not exist elsewhere in the same degree, where it has been my privilege to spend the Christmas season.

In the first place, more is made of the Christmas season in Virginia, or used to be, than in most other states. Furthermore, at the time to which I refer, people lived more in the country than they do now; and the country, rather than the city, is the place for one to get real wholesome enjoyment out of the Christmas season. There is nothing in a crowded city life that can approach the happiness and general good feeling which one may have in the country, especially when the snow is upon the ground, the trees are glittering with icicles, and the Christmas odors are in the air.
Christmas Days in Old Virginia

The mean little room radiated brilliant cheer of light and perfume. Candles and lamps aided the one prim electric bulb into a blaze of illumination. Popcorn, pine greens, peanuts and wrapping paper gave out the only true Christmas smell. In the Carltons' washbowl were heaped assorted candies; in Millikin's washbowl were heaped small cakes. Carltons' pitcher steamed richly with eggnog; Millikin's chinked refreshingly with iced lemonade. The various mysterious mugs which go to clutter wash-stands were overflowing with nuts and raisins. The brush and comb trays were generously piled with chicken and buns. Noble necks of bottles tilting from an icebucket amply decorated the middle of the bed.
American magazine, Volume 63

Soon there stole over every one in the room that sense of peace and contentment which always comes when one is at ease in an atmosphere where love and kindness reign. The soft light of the candles, the low, rich color of the simple room with its festoons of cedar and pine, the aroma of the rare wine, and especially the spicy smell of the hemlock warmed by the burning tapers—that rare, unmistakable smell which only Christmas greens give out and which few of us know but once a year, and often not then; all had their effect on host and guests.
Colonel Carter's Christmas
By Francis Hopkinson Smith

MERRY Christmas! What visions and memories that greeting immediately brings up! Different memories for each of us, to be sure, and yet with a golden thread of similarity running through the fabric of the dream of our past American Christmases that makes our hearts warm whenever we hear the familiar words, "Merry Christmas!" We all have in common, of course, the marvelous Christmas odors—the smell of Christmas trees and greens lining the streets outdoors, and the spicy smells one catches in whiffs wherever a house door is opened. For weeks before the festival those fragrant indoor odors of gingerbread, fruit cake, mince meat and cookies are apt to be met with upon entering any friend's house, and they always cause a little happy lift of spirit because they mean that Christmas is coming.
American bee journal, Volume 58