Picking out music for my bath the other day, I was struck by a realization. My love for Christmas music isn’t much prejudiced; old, new, instrumental, whatever — I can get behind it. But when I’m looking for the sounds of my Christmas, the songs that bring me back to my parents’ bustling kitchen during the holidays, I turn to A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1.
This wouldn’t be so odd if this album hadn’t come out in 1987, which is actually several years before I was born. Nevertheless, its songs are the ones my ears seek out the most during this time of year. This year especially, since I’ve been away from the coast I call home for a few months now.
And so this struck me, and then it also struck me that sounds behave the same way as smells for me — they act as carriers for my memories. When I hear sirens in the middle of the night, I’m transported to my bedroom in an old apartment in Halifax, which was on a busy ambulance route. Tyson Ritter’s voice (All-American Rejects) takes me back to the summer of 7th grade (seriously). Brand New’s album Deja Entendu is sitting at my desk at my cousin’s house, writing essays in my first year of university.
While smells are certainly attached to memories for me to a degree, I can’t deny the connection with sounds seems to be stronger. Music has always been an important part of my life, so I’m not super surprised at this. But I’ve always loved scents — even though I’m too sensitive to use any now — so I would have thought the two comparable. I wonder why images don’t hit me as hard when they’re brought back by a smell. There is much Googling to be done.
In the meantime, I’m going to sit by my tree and enjoy some Christmas In Hollis.
How about you? Do you notice whether smells or sounds bring memories back stronger? Comment below!