Recently I misread a Slack chat from my colleague Katie Heaney, who was sharing an update about a story on Secret Santa and another story about candles.
I conflated the two and saw “secret scenta,” which then seemed like a brilliant idea. What if we all exchanged scented candles, perfumes, and soaps with one another?
I think often of the short piece Molly Young wrote for the Strategist a couple months ago, about how she bought a ludicrously expensive bar of soap (now $41, Krigler), but not to wash with — to keep in her clothing drawer, thereby infusing her lingerie with its scent for months, even years. The idea was like a thunderbolt for me, and ever since I’ve been keeping a chopped up bar of Irish Spring in each of my dresser drawers and smelling more pleasantly fresh than I normally do (Irish Spring is a great match for sweaters, sweatshirts, and T-shirts). It’s ingenious. Young’s story was only 237 words long, but I think it might have been my favorite article of 2018.
Anyway, during the Secret Scenta festivities, we’d share products (soaps, candles, whatever) that were personally meaningful to us, on an olfactory level.
The size of “a smell” seems especially appropriate for an office exchange. Small but interesting, friendly, surprising. Personal but not overly intimate.
I was disappointed to learn that I had not coined the phrase “Secret Scenta” — in fact Yankee Candle made a Secret Scenta comment on its British Facebook page just last month — but I’m glad to know it’s out there.