I also have an issue with those plug-in aroma warmer thingies. While I really like the way some of them smell, some of them trigger an allergic reaction and my head gets so stopped up that it takes weeks to go away. That allergic reaction happens even though I take two allergy medications every day, just to be able to breathe in South Texas. It is really a problem for me when I substitute in a classroom where the teacher has a plug-in scent. I usually unplug them and set them aside while I'm there. I try to remember to plug them back in at the end of the day when I'm leaving, but sometimes I forget. I suspect that it ticks some of them off.
In my experience, the olfactory sense is the quickest way to bring back pleasant memories. The smell of pine and cedar takes me right back to my childhood in the piney woods of Northeast Texas. Eucalyptus reminds me of my sister-in-law Nancy's house which is always cozy and welcoming. Fresh cut grass reminds me of summertime mornings spent lying in the damp grass watching clouds go by. Aqua Velva, Lectric Shave, and Old Spice will always be associated with how my Dad smelled after his afternoon bath. Fresh-baked cornbread has a strong association with my Mom's kitchen. And a whiff of Aramis men's fragrance has me recalling that first boyfriend back in the 1970s.
Grandad and I are in our late fifties. Suffice it to say that we were among the youngsters in the audience at this performance. We were surrounded by a crowd that I would say were mostly in their seventies. There was a definite prevailing scent of "little old lady" cologne. I don't know exactly what that scent is, but it's distinct and consistent. Anywhere there are lots of older ladies, there is that scent. It's not unpleasant, but in large quantities and closed spaces it can be overwhelming.
I use scented candles to add a pleasant aroma to our home. I keep one in each bathroom and one in either the living room or dining room. The living room and dining room are really the same room. Our house was built in the 80s and has a great room. I vary the scent according to the season. Right now I have apricot in one room, acorn and fig in one room, and marshmallow fireside in one room. Before the family arrives for Christmas, I'll switch the one in the living room for fresh balsam. It smells like a Christmas tree and, since we use an artificial tree and garlands, lends the scent of Christmas to the house. I think the marshmallow fireside and fresh balsam will be a great combination in the great room.
With the exception of a few leather-bound volumes and a couple of autographed copies, I don't save books. The subtropical climate we live in makes them get musty and smell of mold and dust. This is just one more allergen I don't need. Plus, I sell them at Half Price Books and use the money to buy books for Our Little Princess and Her Highness. It's a good deal for me and a treat for them.
I hope your holiday season is full of pleasant scents and wonderful memories.