The Scent of Music: Christmas Means Love

Today I’m joining several of my blog friends for festive posts in which we share holiday music from our personal music libraries and pair the music with fragrances. Naturally. As you do. It’s a wacky theme (for which I have to take responsibility), but it’s been really fun, and I can’t wait to read everyone’s posts and be introduced to some new music. I hope you enjoy, too!

Click to listen to The Soul Stirrers performing ‘Christmas Means Love.’


The sparkly and festive holiday season can be fun, or it can be one of the hardest and most difficult times of the year, as loneliness and depression may rear their ugly heads. In picking a song for this post, I not only wanted an American song from my own tradition (in keeping with the theme), I wanted something that felt universal, not tied to one religion or ideology. I chose ‘Christmas Means Love.’ Although it’s a generally Christian song, its main theme is that “Christmas means love, and joy to your neighbor.” Regardless of whether we feel loving or loved in the moment, I believe everyone is loved, at every moment. After all, if anything in the world isn’t bound by time, surely it would be love? (Another song lyric reference, from The National: “I missed you for 29 years, before I saw you”). It may be by someone we haven’t met yet, may never meet, or have forgotten — but we’re loved. And we can always choose to love other people.

The warm and affectionate Cacao, by Aftelier Perfumes, is my fragrant accompaniment for this idea. It opens on welcoming notes of orange, grapefruit, and cocoa. One of the most basic characteristics of this fragrance — its categorization as a spicy oriental — is most revealing. It isn’t a floral or a gourmand, which it could easily have been. Perfumer Mandy Aftel has said she wanted to avoid chocolate cliches, and she is so successful that you almost don’t notice you are smelling chocolate. The perfume smells like a warm embrace on a dark night; it is only incidental that it also smells like chocolate. With time, jasmine and vanilla join the opening notes, and the perfume projects its own subtle atmosphere of good cheer. When I wear it in summer, the jasmine is as fresh and lush as a garden full of blooms. In colder weather, the chocolate and vanilla ground the jasmine with subtle and sensual spice.

Whatever your plans for the rest of December, I hope your days are filled with love and good smells.

Please click through to the other bloggers who are sharing their Scents of Music.

P.S. See, I do like some perfumes containing grapefruit!

Credits: Music by The Soul Stirrers, an American gospel band producing music since the 1920s. Perfume sample was provided by Aftelier Perfumes. Reviews are never compensated, and posts are never sponsored. See my Media & Disclosure policy for details.

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30 responses

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  3. (laughing) The moment I read “grapefruit” it completely distracted me from the romantic state into which I got by reading your post and listening to the song.

    I will definitely fill my days with love (and some rest). Yes, love, rest, repeat.

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  5. Love and Good Smells right back at ya! Never head this song before. I compile Christmas CD’s or these days, Playlists so that I do not have to suffer other people’s selections. I am adding your song now and wondering why Cacao is not in my life right now. What a great concept; I have heard Portia’s and Tara’s songs too and now I can skipadedo around the world and find some Christmas spirit. It is a Summery Sunday night here and this had made my night on the deck.

  6. Love the love sentiment you have gone with, and that quote about missing someone for 29 years is excellent! I have just come back from my brother’s, where we had a philosophical debate about time, concluding that it is a more flexible dimension than we know…

    I have no sound on my phone since I spilt tea on it, so will have to wait to listen to the music another time. Cacao sounds like an apt scent pick, though. Bring on love and chocolate this Christmas. :) Have a good – and rather warmer – holiday where you are!

    • You should look up that National song – it’s called Slow Show (and/or read the lyrics). They’re brilliant. I would have liked to be part of you and your brother’s discussion about time.

      Merry Christmas to you, and best wishes for an amazing 2014!

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  11. OK, I already had the warm fuzzies from zipping across the globe and reading/listening to everyone’s posts but you nearly tipped me over the edge with this one! Lump in the throat time for sure. What a great song and what a heart-warming sentiment from you which really resonates with me. Just wonderful.

    Cacao sounds like my kind of chocolate scent because it’s not obvious. How nice you can wear in the summer too. Also good to know it’s safe for grapefruit-phobes!

    Merry Christmas and thanks for coming up with such a great theme.

    • It was so fun to do this together! I had forgotten how fun these joint blogging events are. Everyone picked such great songs (and great versions of great songs). I’m thinking of doing a playlist of them to listen to tomorrow. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  12. I’m starting here on my tour through the Scent of Music – and looking forward to reading and listening to everyone else’s choices. Love your idea for this project and the song you picked, Natalie.

    And your quote – “After all, if anything in the world isn’t bound by time, surely it would be love?” – yes, true and profoundly beautiful.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

  13. What an incredibly lovely choice of music and perfume to pair it with! :)
    I agree with Suzanne, you really nailed it with that sentence.

    Thank you for coming up with such a great idea for this event. :)

  14. I really like the line “we can always choose to love other people”, it’s so true and it might be the sole key to having a rich and interesting life :) Cacao is one of the few Aftelier scents I have not tried, and now I have a serious craving!

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  16. What a fantastic idea Natalie! I appreciate so much your terrific review, and thoughtful pairing of music with my Cacao perfume. I love experiencing Christmas through music, thank you so much for spreading the spirit!
    xo Mandy

  17. Hey, Natalie! I stagger back from Christmas disappearance to say that this is a beautiful post, and a lovely song. I was really taken by the “I missed you for 29 years…” While untangling all the stuff with my parents, I like the idea of the child that I was, was being loved by the people who love me now.

    And Cacao is, of course, a glorious perfume.

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