December 5, 2008

Christmas Music

Last night, Operaboy and I started talking about Christmas music and what some of our favorites songs were. As it should, the name Bing Crosby came up and I said something akin to, "It's just not Christmas without the sound of Bing's voice. He and Nat King Cole really make it feel like the holidays."

Sure, there are others that top that list, and not even because of their status as "classic" crooners or even "standard" holiday music, but more because as children we used to listen to the same scratchy Christmas Collection LPs every year as we decorated the tree.

Nat, Bing, Gene Autry, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, et al would fill the house as we blew the dust off of Christmas decorations and gently smoothed out the faded wreath made of contstruction paper with our names ("age 5") carefully written on the back.

Even now, when I hear a certain version of "Amazing Grace" that was on our record, I laugh because I expect the 5th verse to skip over and over until someone adjusts the needle.

These songs and this music gets more poignant to me the older I get. It doesn't make it any easier after having experienced what seems like loss after loss and setback after setback, with moments of joy and relief also peppered throughout the years.

Being musicians, it shouldn't surprise anyone that we had this conversation (well, the beginning of this blog was in our conversation...the rest has just been me rambling on the internets) about how music affects us and brings back such strong memories.

I told Operaboy also that the emotions I feel at Christmastime always surprise me with their strength. I wouldn't even call it "sad," necessarily, just "emotional." I find myself brought to tears much more quickly than usual, and at the most random times. I think I may have figured it out. It's not because my Nana died near Christmas last year, or because this Christmas is spent with a bit fewer relatives that have gone on to Heaven to wait for us. Those feelings intensify the emotional tide, yes, but they are not the cause.

I think it's because every time I hear a certain song, or hear a choir singing "Silent Night," 26 years of Christmases are firing in every synapse of my brain, and my heart, much like the beloved Dr. Seuss character, swells to several times its normal size. Every Christmas morning plays in fast-motion in my head and random postcard images play of smiling children, mugs of eggnog, and the laughter and tears of family members. I think of how I understand now how many sacrifices our parents made to make sure we had a memorable Christmas, and I can't help but think of what it will be like when we have our own little Diva (or Divo) to make memories with.

It doesn't seem like all of that can fit into a mere moment of time, but it occurs mostly as a sudden surge of emotion or even an uprising of goosebumps when I hear the first organ chords of "O Holy Night." Certainly I don't think of all of these things every time, but I think it's my way of defining what I do feel at those times.

So, before I ramble on any further and bore you all to tears, let me share with you two of my favorite Christmas song moments, courtesy of YouTube. The first is from the movie "Holiday Inn," starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, and the second is just an awesome (and a bit surreal) moment between Bing (again) and David Bowie. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

***ETA: For a WONDERFUL story of giving, please see my comments section and follow the link provided by Suldog. You'll be glad you did.***


  1. I could go on for hours about Christmas music and how it affects me. So many of the things you wrote about here struck a chord (excuse the musical pun.)

    I'm going to be re-publishing this piece, sometime nearer to Christmas itself - and maybe you already read it before - but I know you'll enjoy it.