A goat skull, horns decked with red glass star ornaments.

Merry, Merry.
Blessed Be.

Another Chort story.



“Do you have to take off your coat? It’s so cold!”

My wife pouts when I hand it to her, but then smiles prettier than the 14-karat flakes in the Goldvasser they toast me with in Gdansk. They call me Gwiazdor there, the Starman, and I’m not so bad.

Kraków is different now, too close to Ukraine, and people are scared. Here I wear chains, and my horns curl long during Advent.

I heft the sack that she’d covered with needlework—each stitch a spell—and I follow Nicholas into the house.
He keeps his robes on, flaunting his privilege in a houseful of shivering kids. Sanctimonious bastard.

The house is freezing.
Putin turned the gas mains off, yet I’m the son of Czernobog?

The mother bends low as she pours shots of throat-burning krupnik. I snort my appreciation of her cleavage, though my wife’s are much nicer.
Nick passes out candy to the girls, as if they can afford a dentist. He skips the sullen youth in the corner.

I catch the boy’s eye. “What did you do?”

He juts out his chin. “Stole a kielbasa from the grocery store.”

I pull a few black lumps from my bag and toss them in the empty coal bin. “Is that all?”

“Stuck it down my pants and shook it at Anna-Katarzyna.”

“Nice.” My sack grows no lighter as the hopper fills.

Outside, she throws my coat around my shoulders, and kisses my face. I say filthy things in her ear, loud enough for good Saint Nick to hear.
I am a devil, after all.


Diamond pendant chrome capped mini bottle with blue eau (that’s starting to oxidize a bit–keep this away from light or it’ll turn amber) hanging in a white Christmas tree.

Wish is that loud-laughter bombshell at the holiday bash in a lurex dress and even cheaper lipstick, who gets sticky caramel everywhere and is the absolute life of the party.

Fruity vanilla, syrupy honey florals, and soft toffee woods, in a big fun mess with zero chill.


Another awesomely messy holiday wish-

Christmas Wine

Sample vial and test paper apothecary bottle cut-out, and vintage star shaped ornament.

Big spiced plum mulled in cloves all day long, with an undercurrent of sharp needle fir.
Tart fruit bites in as it warms, sweetened with candied orange peel, fun and inviting.
Performance drifts in and out on skin, but anchors really well on winter knits.

Way too much holiday spirit for me to wear, but I’d love my house to have this much cheer.
I’ll scent my solstice votives with the sample.


More cheer.

Youth Dew Amber Nude

Half full ribbed hourglass bottle with tall gold cap and brown grosgrain ribbon belt, with cinnamon sticks and an orange carnation.

(There’s something deliciously ghoulish about buying perfume from an estate sale. You know that bottle is haunted, but you take it home anyway.)

Tom Ford’s remix of Estée Lauder’s classic Youth Dew smells exactly the way Swedish Julmust tastes, only sexier.

For those who’ve never been to Sweden in December, Julmust is a sweet spiced cola made with ginger and citrus and other secret ingredients, and is the only non-alcoholic drink you’re allowed at Christmas.

Amber Nude starts with an effervescent pop of candied grapefruit peel, ginger and cinnamon, then mixes in carnation sweetened with jasmine and ylang-ylang, which turns into clove spice-drops that melt in personal space all evening long. Spun sugar amber and warm woods linger on clothes forever afterward.

Brilliant for holiday parties with low cleavage dresses.
(Cheers to you, dead lady with good taste in minimalist furniture and sexy perfume. I bet you were fun.)


Cheryl Wheeler is a brilliant folksinger and songwriter whose tunes have been covered by Bette Midler, Garth Brooks, and many others.

Xmas E

Blue capped vintage splash bottle with gold label, among green tree ornaments.

Merry merry to me!
This came in a cardboard box with very 50s Golden Age ivory scroll packaging–Fragonard first released Xmas E in 1929, possibly to compete with Caron’s Nuit de Noel–though this label font and plastic lid seem more recent.
(The eau is in good shape, though quite dark, and stains the skin like iodine.)
I wish I could find more info on it. A brief note at, says this was rebranded as “Orchidée,” but I haven’t seen any other reference to that.

Opens with boozy spiced plums and some aldehyde fizz, which I’m guessing might actually be ylang-ylang, roses and sandalwood with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
The florals are balanced out with oaky woods on the bottom. I bet it was marketed to men, too, when it was first made.
Very festive in a mulled wine way–I think it’s cool that our ideas of what smells like Christmas hasn’t changed in almost a hundred years.


Listening to this one tonight.
Merry merry, all.

Lavender Illusion

lavender illusion edge
Botanical illustration of lavender, with sample spray and paper test strip.

Happy happy, merry merry!

This is sugary Christmas kisses under the mistletoe, clean snow and frosted black currants.
The lavender is sweet and musky and long-lasting, a pretty rime over the pine notes on the bottom.

I’d love this as a pillow spray in the winter.

This one is fun–

Cocoa Woods

cocoa woods
Mini black capped Nest bottle with cocoa flower illustration, on pile of gold foiled chocolate gelt.

The opening of this one smells exactly like the Jewish bakery on Montague Street on Hanukkah, the windows fogged with the scent of chocolate and poppyseed hamantaschen, and red jelly donuts–
–but then the sequoia note pulls it out of feminine gourmand territory and gives it nice depth.

Good sillage, and the dry down is amazing–a masculine woody cocoa powder that lasts forever on clothes.
My new favorite of the Nest line.