Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Spirit, and How to Get it.

Now that Christmas has again sneaked up on me, I'm thinking a lot about exactly what puts me in the holiday spirit. First, I'll start with what decidedly doesn't: The Holiday, a dreadful, dull, overacted pile of cutesy-poo that Donna and I saw this week and detested (or any half-baked made-for-Hallmark Channel or Lifetime holiday movie with Crystal Bernard or Tori Spelling); Anita Baker's wretched new version of "Christmastime is Here" (or any overdone song by Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Michael Bolton--whom I've just heard on the radio shrieking "White Christmas"--or the interchangably awful Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Mannheim Steamroller); and anything which depicts Christmas without snow, Santa wearing anything other than a red suit, or elves behaving like Teamsters. Oh, and any person who believes that it's funny to say "bingle jells" needs to be silenced with a pneumatic abattoir hammer.

Now, as for what immediately sends me into yuletide reverie... My collection of LP's, especially those sets put out by Reader's Digest, never fails to call up memories of dragging box after box from the attic, my brothers and me itching with minute fiberglass shards as we set up and decorated our artificial tree in the living room. Last year, I found these favorite sets, Joyous Noel and An Old-Fashioned Christmas at the indispensible (if rudely staffed) Everyday Music.

Also at EM, I picked up a set of Lawrence Welk Christmas LP's, and when I opened it I found this music book, Reader's Digest Best Loved Christmas Carols, crammed in with the albums.

It's the very same book we had in our home during my childhood. As my mom couldn't read music, she had written numbers to correspond with the notes, and the numbers were also written on the keys. The organ we had was a modest model, but big fun nonetheless. Most every day in December, perhaps after dinner, during snowy afternoons, or just any time ma had some time to spare, the house would suddenly be filled with carols played hesitantly to the strange, hollow ring of a loping calypso beat. Thus, for me, the ideal Christmas music has notes that linger oddly while the correct chord is myopically sought.

(Work in progress, more stories and pics coming, here and in "Further Evidence..." post---check back!)


Blogger MO'SH said...

I like Christmas. But once again let the season pass without watching any Xmas specials, except "CBXmas" and the last 20 minutes of "IAWL." Listened to a lot of xmas music though. Ah, Guaraldi! And the new Xmas class "My Christmas Disappointments", apparently a big hit on the East Coast. Ho, ho, ho!

Sat Dec 30, 08:56:00 PM 2006  

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