The Christmas in the picture depicts a sweep down the stairs of festive boxed perfume sets, the kind of special combinations that perfume and cosmetic houses provide during the holiday season. I especially like them because one can find coordinating scented products such as body creams and talcs - items that are sold separately at other times of year. The collections are often boxed with beautiful Christmasy wrappings and sparkles. But even a lone bottle of scent provides a lovely Christmas gift experience, especially if it's a beloved fragrance.
There is a marvelous scene in the Fred MacMurry and Barbara Stanwyck Christmas film, Remember the Night. MacMurry's character, prosecutor John Sargent postpones the trial against Stanwyck's thieving Lee Leander because it's Christmas. Instead, John takes Lee to his family's farmstead where Lee experiences a different kind of holiday than she is used to. At gift opening time, John's kindly and intuitive mother, played lovingly by Beulah Bondi, gives Lee a bottle of the unopened perfume John had given her the Christmas before. It is a touching cinematic moment when Lee opens the unexpected gift to find a lovely crystal bottle of Hour of Ecstasy perfume. She inhales it deeply and gives no clue she knows the present is a re-gift. Hard-scrabble Lee has not had too many no-strings-attached gifts in her life so I immediately start rooting for her and the budding love that is growing between she and John. I pray John will be able to drop his lawyer stance and soften his heart for the beautiful kleptomaniac. But most of all, I hope that Lee will be able to receive honest love for the first time in her life and shrug off her tough and suspicious exterior.
A friend told me he still believes that love conquers all, even in today's world. I cheer for John and Lee every Christmas in the hopes that what my friend knows will be played out on the screen before me again. I sigh happily when the pretty bottle of Hour of Ecstasy breaks through Lee's icy pain and paves the way for love to come down at Christmas. Stars and angels gave a scented sign.