Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Came, went

Christmas came and went. Cookies, choirs, pork loin, caroling, cocoa, parties, crab claws, presents, whiskey slush, candle light, wine, sparkling snow. It swirled in on a whirlwind and is begging to stay, not knowing that it needn't worry. Like all we love, it is gone but not forgotten. Treasured in the heart.

2009 came and went. Job, no job, new job, broken promises and pleasant surprises. There were risks that paid off, ones that didn't and cards left in a folded hand that can't be played. Until, that is, you turn them all in and reshuffle the deck. Soon it will be a new year. New cards, a second chance, a second moon. A blue moon on the turning of the year, of the decade, of our lives. Everything comes and goes.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How many ornaments fit on a Christmas Tree?

Our tree will not hold all the ornaments. Every year, we seem to acquire a couple more; either by gift or because I see something that I just can't live without. Like many who grew up with a little less, I have an innate need to collect a little more. More penguins, more guitars, more salt cellars, more books, more dishes and more Christmas decorations. Our home is modest at best with bunga"low" ceilings that barely fit a six foot tree once a star or angel sits on top. I dream of a vaulted turret, bay window or picture-pane foyer, graced by a twelve or fourteen foot tree, adorned by every ornament in our possession. Every antique mercury glass teardrop, every hand beaded satin ball, every bird, beast and music note, every crystal, every angel, every snowflake, every commemorative memento of our Christmases together. But for now, a few will have to do. It is no less Christmas, it holds no less magic. It just is.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's a blur

Ten days until Christmas eve. Life's a blur. Work, eat, wrap, bake, sing, drink, sleep, repeat. About now I start making promises that deep down I know I'll never keep. Next year, I'll start collecting gifts in June. Next year, I'll start baking in October and freeze the cookies. Next year, I'll make the cards in September. Next year, I'll keep the house clean so frantic sprucing is unnecessary. Next year I won't get sick, or self conscience , or sad. Next year, next year, next year......

Ever notice how brilliant the Christmas tree looks when you take out your contact lenses and look at it with your own, naked, broken eyes? Perhaps Christmas is best left as a blur, a mystery not quite understood.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A few of my favorite things

Why is "The Sound Of Music" considered a Christmas movie? It makes no sense. Don't get me wrong, I know every song, but outside of talking about "snowflakes that fall of my nose & eyelashes" and "packages tied up with string", it's just not a Christmas movie. "Christmas In Connecticut", "White Christmas", "Prancer", "Toys", yes, yes, yes, and I love Barry Levinson, yes. Among so many others, yes; they are a few of my favorite (Christmas) things.

But I will always forgo a Christmas movie for quality music by the tree time. There is nothing so filled with holiday spirit as caroling by the light of the Christmas tree. Ever since I could plunk out three chords, I've taken great joy in treeside serenade. A lovely cup of tea or perhaps some red wine, twinkling lights, a scatter of snow outside if you're lucky and hours of songs known by heart. It doesn't get much better. Tree, snow, lights, guitar, music, Christmas... These are a few of my favorite things.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Songs of Christmas

One of my bosses plays Christmas songs all year long. I may be the only one there who gets it. I've been playing them since October. Last year, I went as far as to attempt to write one of my own (with a little help and inspiration from Franz Gruber).

Most carols' melodies are timeless. They are usually easily transposed and best of all they beg for harmony. Some of the first songs a child learns are Christmas (or other holiday) songs; even non-musical families sing during yearly, family gathering type holidays. The songs become a part of you, ingrained into your very being. Even if you hate them, you can't forget them. They are as insidious as an infectious pop tune. So give in, indulge in the guilty pleasure. "Because you need a little Christmas, right this very minute. You need a little Christmas now."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

How to enjoy the holiday season

Top 10 ways to enjoy the holiday season:
10. Skip a boring party because you "had to work late". Won't work for the annual company soirée.
9. Tell the hubs there's nary a smooch until all those presents are wrapped.
8. Bring a bottle of fancy coffee flavoring syrup to share at the office. Lace it with vodka.
7. Tell everyone Robert Earl Keen wrote "Merry Christmas From The Family" about yours.
6. Volunteer with a charity. "Sorry, I didn't have time to..... I was volunteering!"
5. Two words. Internet shopping.
4. Every cookie you bake takes food from a pastry chef's starving child's mouth. Buy them.
3. Ditch the stigma. It's not re-gifting, it's GREEN gifting!
2. Screw the budget, hire a housekeeper & a caterer. It's your Christmas present to yourself.
And the number one way to enjoy the holiday season....
1. Hop a freight, go away. Go far, far away.