Nostalgia Porn

Nostalgia Porn - Holiday StoriesLooking for me this holiday season?

I’m right over here at the Yankee Candle display, holding the Silver Bells candle up to my nose. And I’m not just smelling it, I’m crawling inside it, swooning with the pinesap scent and the memory it retrieves:

As my large, close-knit family warms our hands around the fire, a tinkling is heard outside in the snowy dusk. On tiptoe, little Suzie turns back the handmade lace curtains. It’s Grandpa! – a dead ringer for Santa Claus – laughing merrily from his perch at the helm of a horse-drawn sleigh festooned with SILVER BELLS. We scramble outside to snuggle under the heavy wool blankets that cover the seats, readying ourselves for a sleigh ride to Grandpa and Grandma’s farmhouse for hot cider, homemade pie and lots of holiday cheer.

I’m telling you, Yankee Candles make me insane. The truth is, when I linger too long at the display I begin to miss other people’s families.

But I can’t help myself. I stand with my head in jar after jar like a true psychopath, trying to discern the subtle differences between Summer Fresh and Sunwashed Linen, (it’s that whiff of grass), or Harvest and Moonlight Harvest (it’s the moonlight, silly!) Sure, there are the obvious ones like Apple Cider and Sage and Citrus, but who except the olfactory fiends at YC know the difference between Mountain Pine and Sparkling Pine (sparkles and stuff?), Christmas Wreath and Christmas Tree, White Christmas and Sparkling Snow? Besides, who knew that Deck the Halls, Be Jolly and Over the River could be put into jars with wicks?

Don’t even get me started about Blueberry Scone. Left alone, I will eat this candle. Buttercream? Needs police protection.

This is nostalgia porn I tell you!

The word “nostalgia” heralds from the Latin: “algae of the nose.” Kidding! According to Wikipedia, it’s from the Greek “nostos” meaning “returning home” and the Homeric “algos,” meaning pain, or ache.

Ah, yes. Pain + returning home = Yankee Candle. Yours for a mere $25!

Change: I know we’re supposed to embrace it, some say even lunge for it, but who (over 40) can deny a pang of nose algae when we capitulate and dump the land line?

I liked my land line! It was tied to the land and stuff! *sigh*

I even like to get a jump on my nostalgia. I’m sad in advance about a million other things. Take stamps. Soon they’ll be history, we know that. I still think it’s a miracle 46 cents gets a letter clear across the country. At times I even miss licking them. That comforting gluey taste.

Oh yeah, like I’m the only one!

Sick as it may sound, I LIKE mailing the Netflix movies back; how the red envelopes arrive in the mail and then become the mailer. I miss wandering around Blockbuster in my pajamas and winter coat ogling DVD covers and running into my neighbors, also in their pajamas, sleepily looking for something the whole family could enjoy watching. Which makes me miss the days when a new movie coming out was truly a big deal. Which of course makes my nose ache for drive-in movies, where, again in your jammies with blankets and snacks, you hook that heavy, awkward speaker onto your car window in anticipation of pure joy. The speaker which itself seemed oddly from another time.

I miss that sense of awe over the sheer effort that goes into the making of a beautiful thing: a book, a movie, a painting, a dance, an invention.

I even miss nostalgia sometimes.

Oh Yankee Candle, free me from this yearning for some perfect past no one had, I thought this past weekend, cruising the display at a local country store. As I sucked in a lungful of Autumn Lodge, I glanced over at my smiling husband who was waiting patiently for me at the exit. As I watched him balance a bushel of apples and half a dozen ears of corn in his arms, I got this big whoosh of the future. I thought, today is the yore I will miss ten, twenty years from now, so why not go now and join him in the joyous, present moment?

And then I wondered, is there a candle for that?

Erica Ferencik

Erica Ferencik

Award-winning author, screenwriter and essayist Erica Ferencik is the author of the bestselling comic novel, Cracks in the Foundation. Alex Beam of the Boston Globe says, “It’s hard to think of real estate without crying…Well, try laughing, instead. In Cracks in the Foundation, Erica Ferencik convinces us that comic reality is more hysterical than we ever imagined.” Her work has been featured in Salon, the Boston Globe and on National Public Radio. Her novel Repeaters, a thriller about reincarnation, was published in September of 2011 to rave reviews and was optioned for a feature film. It has just been named to Kirkus Reviews’ best of 2012. 

  5 comments for “Nostalgia Porn

  1. Patricia Boswell
    December 4, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I love this Erica. Thank you. You gave me a great idea to buy a pine scented candle instead of a real tree this year. Maybe no one will notice. I recently stopped at an abandoned pay phone. I miss the sound it made when I put a quarter in for 3 more minutes!

  2. mfm
    December 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Reading this essay will forever be one of the ways I celebrate the Holiday Season. Brill!!

  3. Jill
    December 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Love this Erica!!!!

  4. Lynne Kivimaki
    Lynne
    December 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Damn it, now I need to add Yankee Candle to my list of places to stop.

  5. December 7, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Sometimes I get carried way smelling all those candles. And just the other day I was talking to the mailman about the state of mail and he mentioned that Netflix would fight to keep the PO in business.

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