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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Why Rudolph Really Had A Very Shiny Nose

Recently I wrote about the frustrating gift giving process. Well I was sorely remiss in not mentioning a tried and true, "I don't know what to give you but I have to give you something" gift.

That gift, of course, is anything that smells good.

Smelling good products include candles, lotions, perfumes/colognes, lip balms and bath oils. You can give these gifts anytime of the year to anyone, however for some reason the varieties seem to be in greater abundance come Christmas time. Coincidence? I think not.

A candle is good because not only does it smell wonderful, it can also perfectly accent a room, depending on who you are. Sometimes it manages to compliment the room so much that actually burning it seems almost a sin. Then again if you're anything like me, burning a candle brings with it a whole new set of problems considering I'm deathly afraid of having fire that close to my fingers, but I digress.

However once candles are lit it is SO WORTH IT, because no matter how great the smell is while a candle is lit, the smell after you blow out a candle is even ten times better. This alone is the only reason I look forward to birthday cake. Even if it's not my birthday I like to get right up in there to get a good whiff. Now if only they could create a candle that smells like a candle burning out I'd be all burn baby, burn.

Then you've got the rest of the lot: perfumes/colognes, oils, lip balms and lotions. Now this is a crap shoot. If there's one thing I'm certain of it's that you don't come between a girl and her perfume. Most of the time the same can be said for men. People are highly protective of their chosen scents as was I circa 1990 with my Debbie Gibson Electric Youth perfume, thank you very much. So if you don't know what scent the person wears you are taking a real gamble in trying to find one for them. Most people first off, are hesitant to change. Even others might take it as an insult that you don't like what they wear now.

This is because some people have an uncanny ability to tell what the perfume or cologne is just upon scent. I swear these people were forest animals in another life. I have no idea what you're wearing when you're wearing something. All I can tell you is this: it smells nice or you clearly bathed in in it and you're wearing too much because yes, for the last time, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Which brings me to the bath related items. You know these gifts. They come packaged, pretty as a picture but most of the time when you open up the gift you see it's really a sampler set in big girl's wrapping. But that's not the issue. No, I'm here to bring to your attention an epidemic that has caused many a regifting crises over the years, the fact that many people, including myself, are allergic to certain ingredients in these gifts. Sure I'd love to use your peppermint lotion and candy cane bath bubbles, but my skin, unfortunately, would disagree with me on that. I haven't been able to take bubble baths since I was a little girl for this reason alone. So sometimes I cheat and use different scents, but most of the time, I usually end up paying for it later.

Finally there are lip balms, glosses, what have you. These gifts my friends are highly addictive. Why? Well the candles, lotions and perfumes have one very important thing in common: they all smell good, sometimes good enough to eat, but as well all know, they aren't edible.

Enter the lip balm. Now you and I both know you can't exactly chow down on a lip balm, but since the balm is applied directly to the lips, a lick, or two or twenty isn't going to hurt now, is it? And the flavors are so creative. Any snack you had when you were a kid is now a lip balm, somewhere, somehow. But the added bonus is that this gift is actually helping you while it makes you smell good! It's keeping your lips from getting drier, and sometimes even shinier, if you can manage to keep it ON your lips, that is. So hate me if you must, but I'm all about beating out those eight year old girls for the latest lip balm flavors.

As far as I can see it there are only two down sides to any of the purchases I mentioned above. One thing is that many of these items come pre packaged so you can't sample the goods, per se before gifting it. This is very important and has made the difference between pretty candles that smell like shit, to pretty candles that smell, well...pretty. So my piece of advice to you there is to not give a smelly gift if you can't smell it first yourself. Remember, the nose knows.

The other potential downside is not knowing the person you are giving the gift too. Not only are there allergies to consider, there are also hurt feelings. If you are the one person in your office who always gets gifts that smell good I'd start thinking one of two things:

1. Nobody knows me well enough to know of anything else to get me
2. Should I have a complex that I like, smell or something?

Either way, the outcome is not good.

So please, Christmastime or anytime, heed my warnings when you decide to give a gift that appeals to the senses. If you do, you'll most certainly enjoy the sweet smells o success.



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