Saturday, November 29, 2008

Scents and Flavors of Holidays

The warmth of holiday books that trigger children's interest and memories often waft delicious scents and flavors throughout the story. Simple plots become memorable to children when they can imagine a gingerbread man baking in the oven throwing out fragrances of ginger and cinnamon.

One story our family refers often to was of an old Granny Glikkens who always made mittens, but one year could only find white wool so she was forced to dye the wool by using peppermint for red, wintergreen for green, and chocolate for brown. And so the children, after wearing her mittens, could enjoy nibbling on the edges. Seems silly to adults but provides fun for small children. Of course the scratch books for Christmas hold wonderful odors of fir trees and favorite foods like the peppermint canes and apple pie.

One of the best Thanksgiving books written for children and by New Jersey's own Harry and Wende Devlin, CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING, offers up a feast of fragrances from the New England setting of salt marshes to the tart flavor of cranberries and an exuberant description of the entire feast including the turkey, "What a great full dinner that was - with everything cooked with crisp edges and tender centers."

A Christmas book for all readers young and old regales us with the glory of the goose. " Mrs. Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving knife, prepared to plunge it in the breast, but when she did, and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth, one murmur of delight arose all around the board... There was never such a goose. Bob said he didn't believe there was ever such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavor, size and cheapness, were themes of universal admiration."

What are some of your favorite holiday stories that evoke childhood memories or that you consider are the new current books that will create the memories of the future?


  1. I always remember the Christmas scene in Little Women -- a book I must have read at least a dozen times when I was a kid. I think a copy of Little Women just might be my Christmas gift to myself this year.

  2. I had a Christmas scratch and sniff book that I adored as a child. It's out again! I couldn't resist buying it for my own family (or my inner child). I'm also a huge fan of A Christmas Carol. Book, movie, musical, you name it. I know some people who would benefit from a visit by three ghosts...

  3. Hey, I just thought of an untapped market. A scratch-and-sniff Hanukkah book!

    Um, nevermind. I just googled it and Josh and Alisha Celebrate Chanukah (scratch and sniff) was published in 1999.