It’s that time of year again. Unlike the decorations that deck the malls, I save my Christmas music until December. Well, sometimes I sneak a few favorites after Thanksgiving. But the real celebration begins with December. I trot them all out…carols, the old traditional standbys…Bing Crosby and Mannheim Steamroller, Frank Sinatra and Christmas choirs, Celtic Woman. I love it all, from instrumentals to old folk tunes to soaring choral arrangements. For this month, my Pandora and Spotify stations are set to sentimental.
Sentimental is where my heart is…I have some old Disney Christmas CDs that take me to a time in my life when I had little kids, and the magic of making Christmas cookies and wrapping presents was a family event. Every step in the season was momentous…picking out a tree, choosing the special ornaments for the year, shopping and decorating, and the great light debate..colored or white…the favorite Christmas movies and holiday plays…each event had it’s place on the calendar. And the smells! The smell of the tree, fresh from the cold and filling the house with the fragrance of forest…it was better than baking cookies. To each his own, but if I can’t have a real tree…like this year, when we’re going to be out of town for Christmas…I don’t have anything. I can’t quite make the switch. I decorate with wreaths, and other holiday trimmings, but no fresh tree…no tree.
I listen to the soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas and I’m transported. What is this time warp I’m caught in? My children have moved on, and I’m still here…here in December, loving the little trips back in time; they come in the flash of an instant, sometimes triggered by the strangest things…little, insignificant glimpses that take me, by magic, to another decade…literally to another century. The 90s were golden with the two little kids who filled my life.
Music is a touchstone to memory, and my memories are good.
I remember reading the classics to my children, books like The Polar Express, and A Christmas Carol, and even now, years later, I’m still caught by the stories, charmed and touched by the faith of childhood. That’s the real spirit of the season that flavors everything else…faith…accented by the sounds of beloved and familiar. And for a few weeks every December, I live and re-live sweet moments from the past, and precious times of the present. This month, more than any other, blends the years and melts my heart. A little sprinkling of snow, frosty temps…all good.