The Sweet Smells of Christmas

 by Tricia Gillespie

 I felt the skin of my arm stick together like a piece of double-sided tape that had somehow made its way into the deep recesses of my armpit. Beads of sweat broke out on my forehead and I went running as inconspicuously as possible through the crowded, candlelit church. I bee-lined for the basement and ran full throttle into my mother.

“Oh, mom! You made it out earlier than expected.” I blurted a quick greeting while pushing her back into the ladies’ room.

‘Mary,’ draped in biblical robes, was stealing one last check in the mirror before taking center stage in the Christmas play. I frantically lifted my arms and stuck my nose into my pits, all my worst fears coming to fruition. Lady’s Speed Stick had failed me, or worse, I had failed Lady’s Speed Stick.

My mother’s eyes bugged and she swung her head in shame as I announced that although I forgot to use deodorant, I HAD taken a shower within the hour.

“Do you think I smell already?” The questioned mainly directed at the woman who’d birthed me.

Before I knew what was happening, Mary popped her nose into the pits and stamped my forehead fresh. Thankfully I used gobs of fig and brown sugar body cream when I dressed, but I didn’t want to smell like a week old casserole by the end of Christmas Eve service.

When ‘Mary’ declared me odor-free, a chuckle escaped one of the stalls. Oh, no, tell me it’s not a guest, I thought.

“Lord, of all nights, on this eve of your son’s birth, please let me know the face behind the chuckle.” This short, but fervent prayer lifted heavenward as my mouth questioned “Who is in there?”

“Diane!” She called back with a chuckle.

“Thank you God” I uttered up to the ceiling. I much rather embarrass myself in front of a friend than a stranger.

If there were ever a time I needed a long lasting deodorant, it was tonight. I spent the evening in a frenzy preparing all the refreshments for the fellowship time directly following the candlelight service. I set up the chairs, decorated the serving table, and enticingly displayed the food. Food must look lovely even if it doesn’t taste yummy.

Now on the eve of this the biggest holiday of the year – the holiday I hug my friends, foes, and family, I forget my deodorant! This year I’m trying to remember not to smell bad. There’s nothing worse than being mistaken for a casserole at the Christmas party.

Tricia Gillespie is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer who loves Christmas. She’s always on the hunt for vintage ornaments and new holiday recipes; however, she swore off casseroles after her fish-stick/cream-of-mushroom soup disaster. This holiday season she’s trying to remember deodorant, but if she forgets, she now keeps an extra Lady’s Speed stick in her purse, the car, and her desk drawer. You can visit her on her blog, The Domestic Fringe. She wishes you all fresh smelling holidays.


  1. Tricia...you almost always make me laugh!

  2. I can't even tease you--I've been down the smelly brick road myself!

  3. Been there. It makes for a miserable day trying to inconspicuously get whiffs of your own armpits.


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