Listening to 93.9, My Radio in Chicago, a rock station that has been playing Christmas music since shortly after Halloween, I have heard most of my special Christmas songs. The classic “Chestnuts Roasting by the Fire” by famed Nat King Cole is one of my favorites. It brings me back to a time when I was a child looking out the window waiting for Santa, hoping he would make it on time for Christmas.
I wondered if I had been “good enough” for him to show up. And, if the cookie I left out was of his liking. I warned my father who loved cookies, not to eat Santa’s cookie because if he did, Santa may skip our house. I believed in Santa until I was six years old when I saw my parents dragging out my presents out of the front closet. I remember thinking that I should have never pushed the issue. I was such a nosy kid.
Then there is the song, “The Little Drummer Boy”, another favorite of mine because it is the record we bought at a K-Mart on Christmas Eve when I went shopping with my father when I was six years old. I remember the brightness of the florescent lights, my grumpy dad who was scrooge-like, but still let me pick out a Christmas song. It was a Kodak moment, I have never forgotten.
I listened to that beating of the drum in that song, over and over for days after Christmas, just mesmerized by the perfect vision of Christmas. It is not that my Christmases were perfect, far from it. My parents often argued, my mentally challenged sister opened her presents too quickly, and it was often bitter cold. Yet, this time of year always made me feel nostalgic and hopeful for the future. It was the end of one year and the beginning of a new journey for the coming year.
It was a time for hope for all of us. The song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, made me miss my uncle who was in Viet Nam fighting the war. We all missed him and read his letters from battle at the dining room table on Christmas. That song stays with me this time of year, as I think of all the military personnel who never made it home for the holidays.
So whatever you favorite holiday song is, just sing it out loud. That song is forever inside you, so let it out and make peace with it. Learn to own it and make it yours for the holiday season.
Merry Christmas to you all. May you cherish your past, enjoy today by building memories and remain hopeful for the future.