Is perfume a viable Christmas gift?

Christmas is coming up, and a lot of students are scrambling to find gifts for their family that are within their budgets. A lot of people will say that buying a gift for their father is difficult, which is true, but buying for mom is just as hard.&nbsp;</p>

In my experience, Christmas gifts for mom are the same thing over and over every year. It’s almost like a checklist with my mother, but she doesn’t mind. In fact, my mother encourages it. Back when she was still working, my sister and I would buy her the same perfume time and time again, because that’s what she wanted. 

Nowadays, however, there is a new trend in workplaces: scent-free zones. There are examples of these zones on campus: some MC offices will have a sign explaining the situation, and the Tatham Centre greatly discourages perfumes and colognes in the building and during co-op interviews. Scent-free zones are workplaces that discourage the use of perfumes, colognes, body spray, or heavily fragranced shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. 

Technically, there are no Canadian laws regarding scents in the workplace, but there is an accommodation that can be filed under the Human Rights Act. Those sensitive to fragrances can experience possible headaches, dizziness, nausea, and more. All these symptoms could affect productivity in the workplace. 

A lot of women have a preferred scent. I know my mother used to wear perfume every day to work, but now that she’s retired, she rarely uses it. If a woman works in a scent-free office, would perfume as a gift be a pleasantry or a burden? 

The perfume industry is large. All women’s magazines will advertise new fragrances, and most will dedicate pages to new perfumes, their brand, and their scent. High-end brands in the U.S. had $5.2 billion in sales last year — up 16 per cent according to The Washington Post. According to a Globe and Mail survey of approximately 7,700 people, however, 40 per cent reported their employer restricts scents in the workplace. 

A restriction on fragrances probably won’t make a significant dent in sales; people will always want to smell good for their special occasions. Some women may not consider work special enough to use their favourite perfume, which is fine because it helps maintain the scent-free office. 

I believe perfume can make a nice gift, but only once in a while. If your mother works in a scent-free zone, she will still enjoy your gift, but she just won’t use it a lot. One spritz of a fragrance can be very strong; if not used every weekday, one bottle could easily last a year. 

I recommend to all those who were considering giving someone a fragrance as a Christmas gift, do some research first. Make sure they aren’t sensitive to strong scents, see what their workplace’s policies are, and if that all works out, make sure it’s a scent they like, otherwise they may not use it at all. 


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