Of all the senses, smell is supposed to bring back more memories. I cannot speak for everyone, but this is very true in my case. The smells of the holidays always bring back memories of Christmases long past. Sometimes it only takes a light scent to bring a warm memory to mind. There are times a smell is very familiar and I know there is some tie to my past, but for the love of me, I cannot place it.
The smell of clove brings back memories of the orange we would cover with cloves to create a sachet as a gift for our mothers. In my case, Aunt Kat always seemed more appreciative of this gift than Mama. Cinnamon brings back memories of the Orange Bigelow Tea my Aunt J'Nelle served to teach me how to properly drink hot tea and appreciate it. A slice of orange reminds me of the ambrosia we enjoyed at both my Granny's and my Grandmother's house at Christmas. (Totally different recipes.) An oranges take me back to Christmas morning as a child, when Santa always left 1 or 2 our stockings along with whole walnuts - go figure!!
Cinnamon and Clove together bring back memories of Russian Tea, that concoction of Tang, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon flavored tea. I cannot count the number of jars of this "Tea" I made and gave as gifts, as well as received. It was one of the few hot beverages I ever cared for. (Until I grew up and discovered Espresso and Cappuccino.)
A whiff of Vicks Vaporub brings back those nights as a child when I was sick with a bad cold. My Mama would put a dab of Vaporub in the old hot air humidifier, filling my room with a warm mist of mentholatum.
Citronella reminds me of outdoor summer suppers with my family. The brick patio would be surrounded with citronella candles to ward off the pesky mosquitoes.
The smell of Camellias and Sasanquas bring back memories of the bowls of Camellias we would have in the entrance hall from November through January. My Daddy was a serious gardener. One of his passions was breeding and grafting Camellias. So we always had bowls of fresh Camellias from our yard.
The perfume "Charlemagne", takes me back to my bedroom, one night in December of 1975 when I was getting dressed for a very special date.
One of the downsides of a lovely Leyland Cypress Christmas tree is the lack of scent. But, that could be handled with a can of "Fresh Royal Fir" by Claire Birke. Both the smell of a fresh Frazier Fir and a spritz of "Fresh Royal Fir" brings to mind Christmas trees of the past. A can of spray scent may seem a bit like cheating. However, it doesn't matter. Real or not, it is the smell that invokes the memory.