Taking Advantage of the Sights, Smells and Sounds of the Holiday Season


Each season has its distinctive sights, sounds and smells. The summer is a time of long, sunny days, barbecue on the grill and the bounty of the farmer’s markets. Depending on where you live, autumn can be a gentle shift into cooler nights that trigger colorful changes in the leaves and the first hints of fireplace smoke in the air. By the time December arrives, the nights are growing significantly shorter, particularly during the mid-month stretch toward the winter solstice. This year, the winter solstice will fall on Tuesday, Dec. 22, the shortest day of the year. The good news after this point is the days will grow longer, leading to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year on Monday, June 20, 2016.

Scent, Evoking a Powerful Memory

In addition to the scents of the seasons, this time of year often prompts scent-related memories for many people. Scent triggers could include cookies baking in the oven, the pine wafting from a Christmas tree or garland, or the toasty warm smell of a fire crackling in the fireplace. Each of these scents are capable of resting deep within our personal memories and have the ability to guide us back to special times spent with friends and family. Considering smell is the first of the senses to develop in the womb, the possibilities to “transport” ourselves back in time become even more amazing.

Iconic Christmas Smells

  • Pine trees and garland
  • Eggnog, with or without bourbon
  • Cookies baking in the oven
  • Burning wood in the fireplace
  • Cinnamon, clove and orange-spiced wine
  • Gingerbread cookies and houses
  • Roasted Ham or Turkey
  • Dry, crisp winter air
  • Peppermint candy canes
  • Bayberry and beeswax candles

Sounds Symbolizing the Season

Considering we live in a world packed with sounds courtesy of the various forms of technology, picking out the more gentle sounds of the season can require some effort. Some of the more iconic sounds include the bell of the Salvation Army bell ringers, church bells chiming on the hour, holiday tunes on the radio, the melodies of holiday carolers and sleigh bells. While not too many neighborhoods still boast holiday carolers, they do still exist, often dressed to impress in their holiday best. This month, the residents of SeniorCare Homes welcomed a group of local holiday carolers to the SeniorCare Home Memory Homes. The carolers entertained the residents with old Christmas favorites as well as some newer holiday arrangements.

Another iconic sound of the season is one of gatherings of friends. In an effort to replicate the restful tones of the winter season, the caregivers at SeniorCare Homes use this time of year to offer relaxing activities such as in-home cooking demonstrations, watching old movies wrapped in cozy layers, and serving mid-morning coffee in front of the picture windows while watching the birds outside in the garden. In order to make the most of this Christmas season, we hope you’ll take a moment to savor the sights, sounds and smells and create some new memories of your own. Happy Holidays!

SeniorCare Homes in Overland Park and Leawood, Kansas, offer the most comfortable and stable assisted living environment to seniors with dementia, memory loss, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Phone (913) 236-0036 to learn more about neighborhood living for the memory impaired.