Perfume Chat Room, December 10

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, December 10, and it’s the last official day of final exams at my workplace! Hurray — it has been a long, long fall semester with several unexpected challenges. Although I’ll still be working next week, it will be very quiet with most of the faculty and students having departed for their winter break. I’ve been diligently posting daily about the little surprises in my DIY Advent calendar, which has been great fun.

We’re looking forward to our son’s return from college next week; although he is so close by that we can see him any time, we try to give him his space and only show up at his side of the campus when he requests it (he attends the same university where I work). I’ve been having a hard time getting into the true holiday spirit, and I think it’s because this is really the first Christmas when we haven’t had at least one kid living at home the whole month. Last year, both of our daughters had moved home during the pandemic, so they were here even though our son was living on campus for his freshman year. Now, they live elsewhere with roommates, though still very close by, and they’ll probably come here around December 23 and stay through Boxing Day.

I’m very excited because I found a gift for my husband that he hadn’t already chosen and bought for himself! He is famous for just getting the few things he wants, which makes it hard for his family to surprise him. I did show it to him online before buying it, to make sure he would like it, but he was delighted and surprised by what I had found (it’s a framed print of one of his favorite places). Yay! I’ve caved to his way of doing gifts, though, in that I buy fragrances I want for him to “give” me. He has actually done very well when choosing fragrances for me on his own, but he’d rather I choose as he knows I usually have something particular in mind that I’d like.

I still resist the cash transfers that many young adults request as gifts. To me, that’s not a gift — it’s a transaction. Even if I give cash or gift cards, I still add an actual physical gift. How do you and your family manage holiday gifts, if you exchange gifts?

Hands exchanging holiday gift; image from
Holiday gift-giving; image from

9 thoughts on “Perfume Chat Room, December 10

  1. Yay to a calmer few weeks and kids at home. My husband finally came up with a couple of things he needs so we have gifts for him. I will often give him perfume purchases to wrap up for me. (Or, send links…) I’m not that interested in any kind of elaborate gift exchange these days – I’d rather just have a relaxing day and a nice dinner with my family. (My husband’s family has always been over the top, so convincing them to dial it back has been a project for 20 years.). My son wants shoes and clothes, and another year of Spotify – easy. We head off tomorrow morning for the state football championship tomorrow evening. Already quite nervous! My advent calendar perfume for today is L’Air du Desert Marocain. I only have a mini, but it’s one of the first perfumes to convince me that perfumery is art.

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    • I agree, I do enjoy some gift-giving, and I loved playing Santa when the kids were little (with three kids, there was a lot of joy and squealing!), but now I like to give fewer, more meaningful gifts and enjoy cooking special meals for people I love. We’re planning to have some friends over on Boxing Day for the first time in two years, which will be fun! I always love Christmas Eve, which involves at least one afternoon service at our church when our kids sing with the youth choir. It used to be TWO afternoon services, one after the other, when our three children sang in two different choirs at our church because of the spread in their ages! Those were the days when I settled on what is now our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, which is a Greek red wine and lamb stew called “stifado”, which I can make in a slow cooker.


  2. For my immediate family I always buy a gift, I agree that money is money. When my God children were teenagers I gifted some money and a surprise to open. My siblings and I don’t gift each other. My hubby’s family do Secret Santa so only one gift to buy (which I took care of early this week, and I’ll add in some little fragrant thing of course). I don’t know what’s up with me this year but I’m suddenly almost mid December and not top of things at all. It’s like I was asleep for two months. Yikes.

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  3. One son bought his own home this year & who has asked for a rug. He has it already, we are of the “don’t wait to gift” school.
    One son is saving with his girlfriend for a home & has asked for a contribution to their deposit. There will be small gifts to open on the day.
    Mum needs shoes & we’re picking them up on Monday. At 90 she won’t hint at possible gifts. My brother is equally helpful.
    DH & I are hoping to take a holiday in January Fingers crossed. That’s our gift to each other.
    TBH working as nurses we were rarely both home on Christmas Day so celebrations tended to be low key.
    I do make a big dinner but only one son will be here this year, the other is calling in the morning but eating with his girlfriends family who make a huge celebratory hoopla.
    We seem very fractured at Christmas & maybe so. It feels different without any small people & our children in their 30s with lives in different cities.
    As far as scented gifting I’ve got a candle for the eldest son’s girlfriend, Beauty Pie tobacco this year as a stocking filler.

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  4. I like giving gifts as well and not just money. When my son was single and still in training, he wanted some $ as part of the gift, but I always bought him something tanglble also, usually clothes. He’s notoriously cheap when it comes to buying clothing for himself, so I usually buy him some nice shirts, slacks, and a pair of work shoes. It’s impossible to buy anything for my husband, so he picks out a book or a vitamin supplements he wants (they aren’t cheap!) and tells me that’s his Christmas present. I do the same with perfumes. We gave up trying to buy each other actual gifts many years ago.
    We’re going to spend next week with the grandchildren and then we’ll have a quiet Christmas by ourselves. That suits me fine. I bought the babies some cute little outfits for their gifts. They’re 3 months old- they won’t have a clue about Christmas for a couple of years yet. I may try your lamb stifado recipe this year. You shared it with all of us last year and the recipe looked delicious!

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  5. I’m not sure what to do with gifts to each other anymore: we’re at that place in our lives where we do not need anything that is just a “placeholder,” a temporary solution, etc. And with anything we might need or want, we are very particular and need to spend a lot of time choosing and deciding, that it’s almost impossible for the other one to choose. Besides, we don’t need or want any nick-nacks, so anything worth having is in the price category where you don’t want get something that will “just do.” Hence, for these holidays we try to find and buy something together either for both of us or for each one. With friends, we usually exchange small gifts, preferably something that we can eat, drink or use up (so, alcohol, chocolate, tea, etc.).

    I still can’t believe you’re able to publish your Advent Calendar posts every day! I can’t even read something not work-related every day – let alone create anything coherent for my blog.

    I’m happy for you on the break from the hard semester. And it’s great that you’ll be able to enjoy your the results of your remodeling with your whole family.

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