Part of what defines the season to me is the smell of different spices in the kitchen. It begins with pies at Thanksgiving and the smell of poultry seasoning in the dressing. It evolves to the smell of vanilla in sugar cookies...cloves in wassail, and the scent of cinnamon in breads and baked goods. So much of what tastes wonderful to us is because it also smells wonderful!
When I was little, one of my favorite breakfasts was cinnamon toast. Bread was buttered, and then cinnamon and sugar were sprinkled over the butter. The toast went into the oven and emerged hardened into a wonderful tasting and even better smelling four inch square of goodness. It was like little primitive cinnamon rolls. I rarely...if ever...make cinnamon toast anymore with all of this talk of "carbs" and sugar intake and calories.
Cinnamon sugar can be used for other things as well...as topping for sweet potatoes or sprinkled over oatmeal. It is deliciously simple...but the scent carries all of the nostalgia of holidays past to me. Even when the wise men came to see the Christ child...they brought frankincense, myrrh and gold. The first two are spices that are either aromatic or combined with other substances to create incense. I cannot speak to the significance of the gifts (except, naturally...the gold), but I do know that we tend to experience through all of our senses.
Life is what it is...and sometimes that means that it is extremely routine. Sometimes we need a little sweetness and a little bit of spice to remind us of the joy of life. Or maybe we just need a little four inch square of goodness for breakfast. Whatever seems more your speed...enjoy the pleasures of your childhood during the season...or prepare it for the little people who don't understand words like "cholesterol," "carbohydrate," or "body mass index." Granted, they may run through your house on a sugar high...but even that can be somewhat fun too.