Favourite Things

After being in choir for over fourteen years, I know pretty much every lyric to every Christmas song and carol ever written. We would start practicing in early October for the December concerts, and it was always my favourite. When the new sheet music was passed around, I would always do a little dance. Yay! It’s time for holiday songs! One year, my  choir was even lucky enough to have the honour of sharing the stage with pianist Frank Mills. In my small city, this was a pretty big deal.

It’s been a long time since I have sung in a choir. A long, long time. But I always miss it most this time of year. There are some amazing choral arrangements of traditional songs that I just don’t get to hear any more. Being on stage in front of an audience, showcasing months’ worth of hard work, with candles flickering all around, it is a magical experience. The Christmas concerts were special. And so much more fun than the spring competitions. To me, that’s what music is all about.

It is also part of what Christmas means to me. I can live without snow or piles of presents. I will suffer through not having a large tree to decorate, or a big turkey dinner. As all of our family is on the other side of the country, I also have to live with talking to people on the phone or via Skype, instead of seeing everyone face to face over the holidays. Perhaps it is even because of this distance from family, that I like to have other familiar Christmas traditions around me this time of year. If I can’t be with all the people I care about, then I try at least to surround myself with memories.

Here are some of the things I don’t want to miss out on during the holiday season:

  • Music, obviously. But when I think of Christmas albums from my childhood, I automatically think of Connie Francis, Boney M, Eartha Kitt, and a record (yes, record. I’m old, okay?) that contained “crazy” hits like “Don’t Be Late” by Alvin and the Chipmunks. Even just thinking about that old scratched-up album makes me laugh. I wish I could remember the name of it.
  • Television Christmas Specials. While I love many of them, there is one that must be watched at least once every year. It is just not Christmas unless it is “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. My sister and I used to love re-enacting parts of the thirty minute episode. To this day, I could probably do a decent job of reciting the whole thing by heart. Sad? Maybe. The practically husband thinks this skill is a little creepy.
  • Candy Canes. In fact, it’s kind of shocking we haven’t bought any yet for our tree. Candy Canes are the official treat of the holiday season and it isn’t really Christmas until I’ve had at least five.

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  • Taking a walking tour of Christmas lights. To me, the first thing that truly marks the beginning of the season, is all the lights decorating the houses of my neighbourhood. Some go all out of course, there a few down the block that put on full shows with lights flashing in time with holiday music. But I appreciate even the simplest of displays. This time of year, when it is dark so early, it can be hard to convince myself to get outside. (Of course, my dog does a very good job of that on her own. I’m looking at you, Sheevs.) Christmas lights make it all worthwhile. After a few blocks, I notice the cold less and less. I guess that’s one bonus of a hyper-active mutt. She has taken me to areas I never would have found on my own.

That’s it! See, I am really not very difficult to please after all. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really need to go rectify this candy cane situation. I have a lot of chomping to do!

16 thoughts on “Favourite Things

  1. Thanks for sharing the beautiful videos, I used to watch them when I was a little one and then somehow I don’t watch them anymore but just now, when I was watching them, they brought those fond memories back. Thanks a lot!

    While I was in the UK, I love to see those beautiful Christmas lights too. They are always warm and full of life but I don’t see much over here at all. That’s a bit sad though.

    Merry Christmas to all of you too!!!

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  2. What a lovely, exuberant summary of all hat is fabulous about Christmas, Kristine 🙂 Brilliant…Can’t play them here on hols because the wireless is rubbish but I’ll have such a treat to look forward to when I return home! Marry Christmas to both you and that wonderful, clever dog of yours!

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  3. I have the boney m album – also still own and play when no one is home Gene Autry and Wilf Carter. I will have to check to see if we still have Alvin and the Chipmunks – and if we do – it’s yours.
    As for your PH thinking reciting Charlie Brown is creepy- you can remind him of movie night – when we would have sleeping bags and popcorn in the living room – play the three original star wars movie – and have competitions between him and the middle brother on how much of those movies they could recite – it was truly amazing sometimes. And a little twisted when they added action scenes.
    Love you both – and give Shiva an extra pet from me

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  4. I like alvin ok but the Star Wars tradition is awesome since I, too, can sit through all three reciting dialogue (but only the first three – the best). In our family, one of our fav movies was/is “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” I remember my dad coming home to a bunch of us kids and friends around the TV, laughing, hamming and cheering on the Killer Rabbit. He never truly got it but enjoyed watching us. Our other family film is “Hatari” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. I need to see that again for nostalgia sake. My fav album from long ago is “Cool Water.” It is not in pristine shape but still sounds good on my turntable. Rock on, vinyl!

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  5. I’m still reeling from the fact that you’re old enough to know about records ;p

    Why can’t you be with your family though? Is it the snow affecting flights/trains? I wish you many happy candy canes then, and Christmas pud, mince pies and gingerbread men!

    Long live free Skype!

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  6. Hi Y’all!

    My Humans are also old enough to remember records. They still enjoy riding around looking at Christmas lights, but we are so rural you have to go way out of the way…but that’s fun if I get to go along!

    We spend lots of time on the road so XM radio is everywhere and this time of year the Humans put on the Christmas carols and sing along…I go to sleep.

    Wanted to stop by to thank y’all for visiting and wish you a personal

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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  7. We’re really enjoying looking at the decorations, and one of the benefits of going on the dog walks, and it getting dark really early, is that we do get to see good lights. Though we do find that out here it’s more of the restaurants and shops that have the cool decor. Have a great holiday!

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  8. Ahhhh, nostalgia! Remember all the cool Christmas specials they used to have on, too? There were a whole bunch of those Rudolph ones and I had to see every one every year, even though I knew them by heart! I’m such a nerd that I had to buy some of them on DVD so I could watch them now that they don’t get played on TV anymore.

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  9. Wonderful memories! I don’t always see the specials anymore, but who can resist tapping their feet when you hear Schroder play Charlie Brown’s theme song? I have to add one of my favorites – butterball cookies! I make my mom’s recipe every year and it just wouldn’t be christmas without them!

    Merry Christmas!

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  10. Focusing on the really cool simple things about Christmas is always the best, isn’t it?

    For me, it’s reading Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory out loud on Christmas morning.

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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  11. Speaking of candy canes have you tried the chocolate filled ones? They are wonderful!
    Our tradition is drinking homemade eggnog that a friend makes and delivers every Christmas Eve. It is heavenly good!

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  12. Didn’t get to see Charlie Brown this year BUT I did get to see Rudolph. My fave christmas song is when the Misfit Toys sing the Most Wonderful Day Of The Year.

    Merry Christmas to you & Shiva 🙂

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