Silent Night- Nuit de Noel by Caron
I love Christmas eve. No matter where I am in the world, that one evening remains ever magical to me. I have spent it wandering in the city, drinking hot chocolate and eating roasted chestnuts, snow falling softly all around the glittering lights, my son learning to glide on ice skates. I have spent it in the country, standing alone in the barn with my horses, listening to them eat their fragrant hay and steaming , apple laced Christmas mashes. I have spent many Christmas evenings by the fire in the company of my dearest friends, drinking champagne and eating sugary cookies, just being together, exchanging silly gifts. When Alex was very young, I would spend it climbing on the roof and ringing sleigh bells “just like Santa does”, putting out cookies and milk laced with Sherry so that Santa would have a happy tummy! Yule eve is always special for my family, because on Christmas day, my parents will celebrate their anniversary. This year, it will be the 67th. This year, for the very first time, my son will be waking up on Christmas morning in his own apartment and coming to spend the morning with us. As I was thinking about this and beginning to cry, my husband reminded me that this is how we will eventually get grandchildren and then what a Christmas eve that will be! The one constant for every Christmas eve, besides my ever present velvet and the annual reading of Clement C. Moore’s “The Night before Christmas” is my perfume. It is always Nuit de Noel, a fragrance that for me quietly gifts me with the soul of the season.
As for me, this Yule eve will find Jim and I returning home after spending the evening in the country with our oldest friends. It will be well after midnight when we toast our health and happiness with Taittinger, wrap our presents and listen to carols, hopefully well into dawn! I WILL roast chestnuts at three in the morning and eat every one of them myself in a steaming, bubbly bath!
Between the country and the city though will come a very special treat, because on the drive home from Burton, we will stop to see our favorite Christmas tree! At the bottom of the hill in a small town called Hunting Valley, there is a beautiful fir tree, almost a hundred years old. It sits at the bottom of the River Road, nestled in the curve of the Chagrin River, always the sentinel but never more so than on Christmas Eve. I visit her every Christmas, just at the moment when the world is silent, except for the glorious hymns and carols playing softly on the radio. She is a wise old soul and she has allowed herself to be graciously covered every holiday season from Thanksgiving until New Years in the most magnificent lights! She is at least 75 feet tall and as glorious as any tree that has stood proudly with the angels of Rockefeller Center. She is usually surrounded by many deer families, owls and rabbits too! For me and many others in my family, she IS the essence of Christmas Eve. There is a smell that she has all her own, the scent of fresh snow and sweet pine, but also redolent of musk and moss, ripe cranberries and moonlight. When we are lucky enough to have a Christmas where the snow is softly falling you have never seen such a sight. To be in her presence is to be transported to that place deep in your Christmas dreams where child’s play and wildness are always present. It is hearing the music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, with the parlor scene , snowstorm and the colorful dancing dervishes rolled into one. This tree has been lit brightly ever since I was a little girl, providing a festive glow in the dark December night. I have always wanted to wear her scent and then one day I realized that Caron’s Nuit de Noel, was that very essence, that magic that I was searching for in a bottle.
Nuit de Noel is a beautiful fragrance , primeval and warm like the embers of a Yule log. Its predominant qualities are floral, but I am constantly intrigued by the Saxon Moss and the smokiness of the sandalwood mixed with the jasmine and ylang ylang accords. Legend has it that Nuit de Noel was created by Ernest Daltroff for his lover who was simply entranced with the sounds and scents of Christmas eve. I love to imagine that I am her, the recipient of such a precious gift when I am wearing it. To me, Nuit de Noel smells like a fragrant medieval pomander, studded with cinnamon and cloves, sweet rushes and sugared rose petals. I love to imagine it exquisitely presented in a gilded ball, swinging gracefully between my breasts on a heavy chain of silver. That isn’t the end of my Christmas Eve dreams, only the beginning. But remember, Christmas Eve is a time for all fantasies…..and I hope beyond hope that this is the year that all of yours will come true whether they be simple or bold. I wish you all of the chocolate that you can eat, all of the perfume you can revel in, fashion beyond your wildest dream and all of the love that you can possibly stand! I wish you to all know the difference that all of you make by simply being alive in this world.
For all of us this year may there finally be peace on earth and true goodwill to all men.
Happy Christmas to you all, (and to all, a good night!)
(Nuit de Noel can be found easily online (but I love to buy it at Christmas at Bergdorfs!)