Grandma and the Smell of Christmas

The sights and sounds of Christmas bring with them so many memories but it’s the smell of Christmas that really resonates with me. The aromatic Christmas trees of course, but it’s the peppermint, almond extract, vanilla, chocolate, fresh butter and sugar of fresh-baked Christmas cookies that really speaks to my heart. My grandmother seemed to smell of these wonderful scents year round.

I remember lying with my head in her lap on my 10th birthday recovering from being hit smack dab in the middle of my forehead with a baseball bat when I walked out the back door of our house where my brothers had established home base. One of my brothers (can’t remember which of the 5) took a swing and my head just happened to be in the strike zone. So I spent my birthday on the couch eating malt balls (still a favorite of mine), with my head in Grandma’s lap as she curled my hair around my ear with her finger. Just thinking about it and that wonderful smell of hers calms me.

Walking into her kitchen any time of the year was like walking into the best bakery you can possibly imagine. She always had something baking or just baked. I remember her hands so well. The hands of a baker. Ahhhhhhhhh…

And although she left this world many years ago and far too soon, I still can’t bake without thinking of her. At Christmas time especially, there’s no way to avoid the inevitable warm tears that always well up from so many fond memories as I bake and decorate. I like to think my cookies taste a teensy bit like hers. Although they can’t possibly be as good. I mean come on it’s Grandma! And no one will ever smell like her or bake like her. Ever.

Thanks for the memories Grandma. You are forever in my heart.