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HAPPENINGS: Scents, sounds of the season evoke memories

CRESTVIEW — Researchers have found that certain scents evoke memories in us. For instance, when I smell cinnamon when baking, I remember all of the delicious breads my mother made for the holidays, such as pumpkin nut bread. It brings a smile to my face and the wonderful times we had together making baked goods for our family and friends.

Scents definitely trigger our memories. When I lived in Southern California, we went to Disneyland each week. Walking down Main Street, the scents of vanilla and fresh baked cookies were evocative. I have since learned that Disney uses "smellitizers" to pump scents out onto Main Street.

Here is a quote from an interesting article I found online at https://duchessofdisneyland.com/tips-trivia/smellitizers/:

"Sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell all work together to tell the Disneyland story. So the next time you walk through Disneyland, pay attention to what you’re smelling. Odds are, the scent in the air was crafted by Imagineers to fully immerse you in the magic."

No wonder certain smells arouse certain memories for me at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Baking cookies is a smell that seems to evoke many good memories among people. They associate them with their mother baking cookies for a special occasion, a family outing and sometimes, just because.

My husband still loves fresh chocolate chip cookies. My mother also made candy, and the smells of caramel, vanilla, almonds and other items used to make it still bring a smile to my face.

Sounds, such as music, can also trigger our memories. An article from the BBC found the following: "Neuroscientists have analyzed the brain mechanisms related to memory, finding that words set to music are the easiest to remember."

The article, www.bbc.com/culture/article/20140417-why-does-music-evoke-memories, went on to say: "There is a link then between music and memory, but why, when we hear a particular song, do we feel strong emotions rather than just being able to recite the lyrics?"

Certain Christmas music brings up different memories for me and probably for you, too. The sound of sleigh bells reminds me of Christmas time and gives me a general sense of happiness.

When I hear "O Holy Night," I remember the many midnight Christmas Eve services that we attended as a family while I was growing up, and later on, the many services I sang this piece for on Christmas Eve. A Christmas song such as "Frosty the Snowman" or "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" reminds me of watching a Christmas parade or cartoons with these musical pieces being played and sung. Christmas hymns remind me of the reason that we celebrate Christmas, because of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I know that we all have favorite hymns that we have sung over the years, and it is difficult to choose one or even 10 that are my favorite.

What is your favorite Christmas song or hymn? Here are a few suggestions of mine:

  • Still, Still, Still.
  • Bethlehem Morning.
  • O Holy Night.
  • The Birthday of a King.
  • Silent Night.
  • Joy to the World.
  • Angels We Have Heard on High.
  • In the Bleak Midwinter.
  • One Small Child.
  • Rejoice with Exceeding Great Joy.
  • Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light.
  • Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming.

Enjoy the scents and sounds of Christmas, and don't forget the real reason that we celebrate. Christmas is truly the birthday of a King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Janice Lynn Crose

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: HAPPENINGS: Scents, sounds of the season evoke memories