Oh, stop the groaning already! I get enough from Darling Daughter and The Engineer. As soon as I stick in a holiday CD or punch the button on my iPod (because, hey, I do live in the twenty-first century), it’s complaints all round.
Yes, I confess. I’m a Christmas music-aholic.
Does this mean I enjoy Christmas Muzak? It does not.
Do I believe we need to hear any variation of “Winter Wonderland” before Halloween?
No, I do not.
And do I think every freakin’ version of “Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart” is a work of genius? Absolutely not! (If you ask me, none of them are works of genius — or even lyrical competence. I think the song is sentimental dreck produced to make a money off — I admit it — people like me.)
And yet … I love Christmas music.
The breathtaking magic of Bowie and Bing.
Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues and their cynical, but no less touching, version of the holiday.
Chris Isaak’s “Washington Square” brings to mind our soldiers so very far from their families and loved ones.
Jackson Browne’s “Rebel Jesus” reminds us perhaps we ought to concern ourselves in the “business of why there are poor.”
And the carols of a candlelight Christmas Eve service always bring tears to my eyes.
I love them all.
This can be a little, er, problematic because, you see, it turns out I married someone who is — how can I put this nicely? — a bit of a grinch.
This doesn’t mean The Engineer is a horrible person — not at all. He simply doesn’t get what the fuss is about.
Poor guy. It must have been a bit of a shock to discover he was married to someone like me.
It took time to learn how to work our way through the season without drama. But I think — after twenty-six years of celebrating it together — we’ve figured it out.
He doesn’t complain when I do the things that make me happy. In exchange, he gets pretty much a free pass on being involved.
It works for us.
You see, after several years of BIG DRAMA, I actually sat down and thought about what I love about Christmas. The list wasn’t long as long as I expected it to be.
- Decorating our house.
- Giving gifts.
- Christmas Eve candlelight service.
- Making plates of cookies and fudge to give to others.
- The smell of pine and the beauty of twinkling lights.
I’ll admit I’ve yet to find a way to work the genuine scent of pine into our holidays without either hacking down a tree or struggling to plant one in rock-hard ground in the middle of winter, but someday I’ll figure it out. And I was shocked to discover that receiving gifts didn’t feature all that much in my ideal Christmas.
In my mind, Christmas has nothing to do with Black Friday or Cyber Monday and everything to do with family and friends and occasionally surprising those you don’t know very well with acts of charity or friendship.
And, if in the background, you might hear Bing and Bowie, well that would just be a bonus, wouldn’t it?
What about you? What Christmas songs make you stop whatever you’re doing to listen? And what about the season is most important to you?