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Monday, December 24, 2007

Silent Night- Nuit de Noel by Caron

By Beth

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!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Beth. A beautiful posting.

All the best to you also.

10:31 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

What magical Christmas eves you've had! Thanks for this beautiful post. And I agree - Nuit de Noel truly is perfect for this evening.
Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

12:10 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

what a lovely post! I would love to see that tree- I love the idea that a living tree is decorated that way every year. For some reason the sight of the giant tree they helicopter in to the center of the Grove here makes me so sad; such magnificence cut down so it can be plonked down in front of an Abercrombie & Fitch. I wish they would just plant a real tree- it's not like pines don't grow here..

In any case, have a wonderful, wonderful holiday!

2:12 PM EST  
Blogger Ducks said...

Merry Christmas, Beth. What a sweet and charming post.

Have a beautiful holiday, everyone!

2:16 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, I am speechless after reading your lovely story, and I would love to see that tree! I love this Caron fragrance as well - it is truly a masterpiece. I hope this Christmas Eve is very special for you and your family. And that goes for everyone else too!

7:06 PM EST  
Blogger Madelyn E said...

Dear Beth,
I bought Nuit De Noel yesterday for Xmas eve . I too wanted to buy it at Bergdorf's ($235.) for the pure parfum. Instead I bought the EDT.
It is such a mood scent winterlike and peaceful but with a holiday aura. I found the parfum for $86 online. I am so tempted....
Although I do not celebrate Xmas I enjoy it.
thank you for honoring such a classic .

9:16 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you made me cry :) such a nice post

11:00 AM EST  
Blogger Sharon said...

My Father sent Mother a bottle of Nuit de Noel frome France during WWII.It was shipped in a small wooden box addressed with red paint.It was sent to MCRD in San Diego(Mother was one of the first women Marines in the history of the Corps)The bottle broke during shipping and it was 2 days before Mother could pick it up at the PX. Needless to say, the staff was glad to see her leave with that box!When my sister and I "were of a certain age" we recieved from Daddy a bottle of Nuit de Noel each Christmas, as did Mother. They have been gone 5 years now and we still have the box with the broken bottle still inside, wrapped in the same tissue Mother wrapped it in 63 years ago.You can still smell a faint powdery note of fragrance...or is that the scent of love? Merry Christmas Mama and Daddy. Semper Fi.

12:15 PM EDT  

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