The holidays are a time when we often reflect on the past year with hopes of going forward with good health and happiness. We anxiously await to participate in traditions that have been the glue to keep families together. It was my mother who instilled tradition in my family by organizing all the tasks needed before and after the festive dinner when she'd take out our china she and my father received on their wedding day. Growing up on a small farm in rural America was scent memory filled during the Christmas season: It started with a trip to the woods with my father to help select the right Christmas tree to bring back to our little farm house. The scent of pine or fir would fill the air as he sawed a straight edge at the tree's stem for balance in the stand before my siblings and I adorned it with ornaments that included peppermint sticks and strings of popcorn (both slowly disappeared over the days). Christmas Eve always meant a visit to my grandmother's house for fruitcake and cups of her spiked eggnog sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Before bed, my mother would leave ginger man cookies "for Santa" while we all lay in bed thinking about what was in those gifts until we finally went to sleep. When morning arrived, we scrambled for the tree always ripping open the biggest box first before the reality of our daily farm chores separated us from our joy of gifts. The barn--that dirty, smelly place of goats, chickens and pigs! Breakfast was a feast in itself as my father believed in big ones: Crisp smell of bacon, eggs or pancakes with maple syrup, toast and the smell of my mother's coffee. As I've entered this holiday season, I reflect on my childhood memories and of my mother who helped form them. It's those simple pleasures in life that remain the most treasured. My message to you is to encourage you to spend time with loved ones who have instilled family traditions in our lives, and to try and recall every little aroma that connects to them during those precious times.
I have a niche brand, but it's not perfume. It's a true innovation: The first smell and memory kit dedicated to enriching the lives of our elderly citizens through the sense of smell. After volunteering for more than a year at Senior Centers, I developed the Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory Kits to help families and caregivers engage the seniors in conversation and the recall of memories through what I call "essential smells": The smells of Apples (apple picking in the autumn) Cinnamon (baking cakes and cookies from scratch), Lilac (the garden back home), Popcorn (think about the wonderful pastime of watching movies together) and others were carefully selected for the kits. Through smelling and engagement with my audience, I have had the thrill to hear and watch my audience excited to talk about moments in their lives, and express their gratitude to me on how smelling can be so much fun! For that, I am thankful that I can help make lives brighter through my innovation. Through my year of product development, I have made what really makes me proud. And it's all Made in the USA!