I’m going to write a little blog post for this day, even though it’s not December 1st, not in real life, much less blogland.
It’s the beginning of Advent. That was a really big deal that year I worked at a Catholic school – we had a liturgy that day, and every week in December.
When I was little, it meant we got to open windows on our Advent calendars – the pretty kind, not the kind with chocolates. I need to find one of those old-fashioned ones for E.
This year, we haven’t had a real snowfall yet, unlike the last two years when we’d had many by now. I’m not at school, time has much less meaning, and Christmas is actually kind of creeping up on me. To remind myself of the season, I put on the Christmas music radio station in the car… it’s a semi-local “easy rock” station that goes all Christmas, all the time for the month of December.
It both pleases and repulses me. It’s basically pop songs about Christmas with bits of Bing Crosby et al thrown in… the kinds of songs we never listened to in my house growing up. In our household it was not Christmas songs, but carols, the old ones. Classy versions of them, which we loved. And our own renditions, sung in harmony with great sincerity for our neighbours. The exception, when we did hear poppy Christmas tunes, was amongst us sisters while trying to keep ourselves up (at first in an effort to hear Santa, then later to uphold tradition) on Christmas Eve. So we were only vaguely acquainted with songs like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Jingle Bell Rock”.
And now there are SO many more. Every pop star has a Christmas album, it seems… and it’s both icky and kinda sweet that they all feel entitled – nay, compelled – to let the full extent of their cheesiness shine through. I heard one today that was all about Kriess-muss memories, and how those classic Christmas carols (they threw in an exemplary line or two of Silent Night and Joy to the World) remind us… of Christmas. Wow. Just think about that for a sec. The longer I think about it, the harder it is not to give in to fits of giggles.
But I kind of understand. I do have a lot of great Christmas memories, and a lot of hopes too. In my heart of hearts, I want everyone to love one another and just get along and be nice, and reach out to their fellow humans, especially now. And if anyone can access the inspiration to do that by listening to awful pap-pop, so be it. You never know when a melody or lyric might strike deep inside you, move you, help you understand something. Once I was listening to CBC and the DJ played a requested song, Harry Belafonte’s version of the Friendly Beasts. I hadn’t heard or thought of that song in many years, but as I listened, it was so familiar, and his voice so tender and wistful that I found I had tears in my eyes.
This will be E’s first Christmas. Guaranteed I’m going to have lots of happy, teary moments… and I look forward to them.