The days are growing shorter and the temperature is dropping. Holidays bring families together, sharing spaces, creating warm memories. Offering a warmhearted and gracious welcome to one’s guests starts with a heartfelt intention, but is strengthened by the little things.

Humans are sensory by nature. We collect memories in our minds through the input of sensory information. We remember the beautiful sights, conjure up the delicious smells, recall warm textures, have fond memories of yummy delights, and can be transported back to a moment through words or music.

To enhance the memories of guests in your home, enhance the sensory feedback.

  • Sights – Holiday displays that reflect your personality, your faith, your heritage —  a gorgeously adorned Christmas tree, prominent Menorah, an Advent wreath or calendar, or treasured Kinara. Light and color dominate here, and there is no need to go over the top unless that pleases you. Often simplicity captures the sentiment perfectly.
  • Sounds – Music adds to the ambiance – softly playing background instrumentals, Christmas caroling door-to-door, or rounds of Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel each contribute to fond memories. Prayers, words of thanksgiving, and the sharing of memories add to the love.
  • Smell – The aroma of cookies baking, latkes frying, Ghanaian groundnut stew simmering on the stove, cinnamon and clove, vanilla and pumpkin, pine and spruce boughs – olfactory memories are often some of the strongest.
  • Touch Not always a sense that is considered in memory making, texture adds richness to the memory. Snuggling up under grandma’s quilt, sprinkling colored sugar on cookies, the warmth of the fireplace, and even the crispness of the winter air bring the memories to life.
  • Taste – Definitely not a sense to be left out at this time of year – the sweet treats, savory heirloom recipes, or even new traditions yet to take hold each become part of the treasured memories of the holiday season.

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