The Perfume Basket


A few months back, my son dropped my bottle of perfume on the bathroom floor, and rose-scented shards littered the tile.  So off I went to Nordstrom to replace it.  I stood there for hours smelling and wafting and scrunching up my nose. Finally I chose one, and as I was paying, the saleslady said she would put my name in a drawing for a gift basket.  Yes, yes.  Something with an $800 value.  Lots of designer fragrances.  I never win anything, lady, so have fun with that.

Fast forward to the following week.  I get a phone call from Nordstrom that says I won.  I stood there in the kitchen, in the middle of loading the dishwasher with a dumb look on my face, speechless.  “Come by and get it any time,” she prattled on.

That afternoon, with two kids in tow, I trudged to Nordstrom to pick it up.  For some reason, I was afraid they would think I was lying about winning, or that it wasn’t really mine.  The minute they placed that shrink-wrapped basket in my greedy little hands, I told my kids to jump into hyper speed and we bolted back to the car.  I wouldn’t even stop at the grocery store on the way home.  I’m sitting on real value here, people, and it needed to be safe on my bathroom counter.

When I got home, I took my time in unwrapping it.  Bottle after bottle was arranged inside a Jimmy Choo shoebox.  Tall and short and heavy and lacy.  Fruity and musky and spicy and soft.  Every perfume had their own emotion, and their own set of colors and meaning.  I felt so guilty, like there was no way I deserved all this value.  I’d save them for gifts, send them to friends, and select one I really loved.

But I didn’t.  I kept them all. 

At first I just sprayed some in the air, or squirted a dab on my arm before church.  But they go bad in two years, and I have all these bottles, and why not use them to their fullest?  What’s the good of saving them and not enjoying them?  So I began my perfume campaign. When friends came over, I’d march them to the bathroom and encourage them to shower themselves in Flowerbomb.  When I feel particularly down, I spray Prada on the pillows.  After my bath, Versace is liberally applied.  I use Chanel as my interior car fragrance, and when the bathroom smells particularly stale, there is always Gucci to make things right again.  You’ll never see such liberal application of Burberry in all your born days.

It’s been magical.

Perfume will never again have the same meaning that it does in this season in my life.  I totally get why Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with rich oils, and why the wise men brought the child of God frankincense and myrrh, both prized for their alluring fragrance.  They were all gifts fit for a King.

I’m no queen, but I have felt so rich. I’m keeping the bottles for my daughter as a testament to His glory, and to the power of our senses, and to explain that in the darkest of days, when the sun hasn’t yet risen, there is power in unexplained gifts, and reminders of beauty.  There is indeed a story woven into all things. But most importantly, the wisdom of the ages:

There ain’t nothin a little Chanel won’t fix. 

Photo credit:

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17 Responses to The Perfume Basket

  1. This sounds like so much fun!

  2. I was just thinking how God replaced something broken abundantly, beyond what you could ask or think. And perhaps this whole incident is a foreshadowing to lavish love and the fragrance of Christ. It is how Christ loves us isn’t it?

  3. Amen, Chanel rocks! What a beautiful testimony of Gods goodness, thank you sis.

  4. Adam Drake says:

    Look at God blessing you for all the sweet fragrances of Him you have given your readers! How cool.

  5. Oh, how I love this. Suddenly the air smells delicious.

  6. Patti DeNucci says:

    Amanda, your posts always touch me so deeply. Partly because of the soul you share, partly because of your rich, honest prose, and partly because I know just where you are. You inspire me – and I can’t wait to share my perfume stories. Xoxo P

    Patti DeNucci Sent from my iPhone

  7. Mom asked for her bottle of Chanel. We hid it in her bedside drawer in the nursing home and then the hospice house, dabbed a little on after her bath. Amazing what a little sweet fragrance can do. She smelled real good when she entered the presence of the King.

  8. denadyer70 says:

    I just adore this. Lavish excess–sometimes it’s exactly what we need. 🙂

  9. you wanton spritzer, you! it sounds exquisite — so much goodness in a bottle, and all testament to his grace and beauty. my bf laughs when I tell her I thank God daily for little things like nature’s sweet scents, so your post just reaffirmed my thanksgiving. I enjoyed your every line, and can imagine how happy your nose must be!

  10. My dear Amanda,
    I’ve had this post bookmarked for when I had a few minutes when I both had time to read it and could hear myself think.
    So very glad I made time tonight.
    I’ve been wrestling with this idea of using all five of the senses God gave us, the better to comprehend his goodness and to worship him. And I always struggle with the sense of smell.
    And here you are.
    I love this.
    And what better time, than Holy Week to read this.
    Me? I’m an Estee Lauder Private Collection gal. And it grieves my heart when the perfume goes bad.

    • So I never knew perfume went bad. I was a White Shoulders girl when we got married. Then a Clinique Aromatique. Lately I’ve been a Bath and Body Works Country Chic(k)–if anything. I need a change. Something light and lavish. Something that won’t make me sneeze.

  11. This is beautiful. I only wish I were your editor, so that if you’d sent this in, I could’ve sent it back with a note: “It’s perfect. Don’t a change a thing.”

  12. Loved this one! I too would have kept them all! The mention of Flower Bomb really got me going. That is my favorite and I save it for special occasions. I am definitely a “hoarder” when it comes to fragrances!

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