Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Music and the Holidays

Whew, with Halloween over we can move into Thanksgiving and then the winter holidays, which for me is Christmas, my favorite holiday. The one thing that truly separates Christmas in my mind from the other holidays is the music. From the time I was a little girl, music was an essential aspect of the season. There were music programs at church and school, tree lightings and fancy shows, even caroling. In fact our family would go door to door to our neighbor's homes and sing carols every Christmas Eve. Actually we still do. And since my five siblings and I are now all married with children it's quite a choir!

What about music makes it so special? Emotion. Joy. Peace. Hope. Remembrance.
Music evokes emotion. The dynamics, the modes, the tempo, all of that speaks to our emotions. A loud uptempo song may make us want to dance and a soft slow minor song may make us want to cry. But music also captivates our memories. When you chose the song for the first dance song of your wedding why did you choose it? When you hear that song now, how do you feel? When you hear a song from the first concert you attended can you almost hear the crowd? When you hear the Star Spangled banner do you picture fireworks? Music reminds us. It reminds us of people and places, sounds, smells and feelings, of love and of loss. With a simple melody we are taken back in time.

And so it is with Christmas music. Every Christmas memory for me is wrapped up in a song. So every November-December I take a journey. When I hear Christmas music I think of running around with my cousins at Grandpa's house, of riding in the car to pick a tree, of caroling to the neighbors, of Christmas parties, of ridiculous pageant costumes and cracking up with friend's backstage. I'm reminded of family and friends. If I was ever asked whether I would rather never receive another Christmas gift or never hear another Christmas song, the answer for me would be easy. I don't need gifts, I'd much rather have music and the precious memories that come with it.

What are you doing to instill good holiday memories in your children? It just takes time and music. This season share your favorites songs with your kids. Play music while you decorate cookies or sip apple cider. Stop a minute while you're out shopping and listen to the carolers as they stroll by. Take your children to a concert. Many church concerts and community tree lightings are free and fun. Take time with your kids to make special memories and incorporate music to help them last.

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