It's her season of orange peel, perspective -- and lights

Cheryl Herrmann's office late one recent afternoon.

At its best, the holiday season touches something deep inside us. For Cheryl Herrmann, it’s about slowing down and celebrating things that matter most -- including, in her case, a smell of citrus that carries her back to childhood.

Herrmann lives in Norwich, and for the past 30 years has owned the RE/MAX franchise there. This time of year, her Main Street office celebrates her sense of a special time with Christmas lights and decorations. And on her holiday list is the wish that more along Main Street would do the same, in a coordinated community way.

She’ll explain why ...

Tell me about the role of the holidays in your life.

The holiday season represents a time when family and friends come together to relax, rekindle and revel in the company of those we hold so dear. Everyone is so busy day in and day out that the years go by in a blur making special times together become even more precious. I believe that the holidays come around every year to remind us to slow down and pay a little more attention to the things in life that really matter. In the end, it is the memories of celebrations with family and friends that we cherish for a lifetime.

What’s your earliest holiday memory?

When I was a child, it was our family tradition that our Christmas stockings always had walnuts and an orange. Now that I'm all grown up, whenever an orange is being peeled, the citrus scent of that orange brings memories of Christmas and family back to me. Proust had his madeleines and I have my orange peel. So bring on the clementines!

What do holiday lights mean to you?

I love the way holiday lights sparkle when the weather is cold, the smell of a wood fire is in the air and a little snow is falling. Like looking to the stars on a clear night, they remind me every year that the universe is vast and that we are small.

What do you think it would mean to businesses and residents in Norwich if the downtown lit itself up in celebration this time of year?

Norwich has such a lovely downtown, a quintessential Vermont village setting. I would love to see a coordinated effort, among both downtown businesses and homeowners, to decorate the downtown area in a way that demonstrates the warm, welcoming nature of the town and its residents.

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(This article and "The Lowdown" are the work of Story Kitchen Creative.)

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