Christmas Is Creeping In

In the car today on the way to school I had the local classical station on the radio. They started slipping the occasional Christmas song into rotation on Dec 1, every five pieces or so. It was a string arrangement of a carol, and I started singing along. Sparky said, “I don’t know this one. I don’t know a lot of Christmas songs, Mama.” And he’s right. Mainly because I worked in retail for about fifteen years and developed a violent aversion to Christmas music that way, but also because I’m an admitted music snob and I dislike most “popular” versions of carols, preferring instrumental arrangements.

Now, every year we get together with a family of dear friends (we’re godparents to their girls, they’re Sparky’s godparents) and we have an intimate Yule singalong. I play the cello, Jeff plays guitar, the kids play bells or bodhrans, and if we’re lucky Pasley plays one of her recorders for a song or two (and I wish she’d play it more often, because it’s a beautiful sound, and yes Paze, I am talking to YOU) and we sing all sorts of stuff, from really old ones to some popular Christmas songs the kids know well, like Frosty and so forth. But every year, Sparky’s stumped by the more classic ones I used to sing in church as a kid.

So today, I find myself in the slightly odd position of developing a Christmas music playlist so he can hear the songs and learn them. I don’t have many recordings (see above about my snobby tastes and violent dislikes), so I’m digging through what I do have to find what I can put together. I may have to record myself singing some to fill out the playlist, which is a frightening thought.

And as every year, I find myself wanting to do something to decorate the house for the season, but coming up with a blank. Pinterest has me wanting to string pine cones on red ribbon and hanging them from found branches above the windows — so simple! — but really? And where would I find the time? And can you even get pine cones that aren’t drenched in cinnamon oil? (Hmm, this would be the perfect excuse to finally check out the new Michaels.) Candles we do all year round, so adding more seems pointless. HRH hung the Christmas lights along the peak and eaves of the house this past weekend, and they look wonderful, but that’s a night-time thing (and even that has me uncomfortable because it’s so early in December and there’s no snow again). And we don’t buy the tree and decorate it till Solstice, so that we can enjoy it during Christmas week without it drying out and having to be taken down right after the 25th. The boughs and swag for the front door don’t happen till the week before Christmas, because they’re fresh, too. I need to think some more about what we can do that is baby-friendly, works with our decor and layout, and isn’t expensive or overly time-consuming.

Part of the problem, I think, is that we have one box of Christmas stuff in the shed, and we take it out when the tree arrives, so I don’t have lead time on the non-tree decorations. Maybe we should separate them into two boxes, one marked ‘early Christmas’ and one marked ‘immediate Christmas.’ Because, you know, that would be intelligent and foresighted, two things that do not characterize my state of mind when we pack everything away in early January.

9 thoughts on “Christmas Is Creeping In

  1. pasley & jeff

    Did you know that the CBC sing-in is this Sunday afternoon? We’re taking the girls. If you and Liam are free and willing, it would certainly give him more exposure to the classics, as well as a variety of other seasonal works, and it’s a lot of fun, too.

    Aw, you’re sweet to say that. Every year, I determine to get in some decent practicing for our get together…and every year I find myself doing it in a rushed, last minute, OMG-I-suck fashion. Hence my reluctance to play too much. Also, the smaller the space, the more I’m worried that the (slightly shrill) recorder sound will simply drown everything/one else out. So, yeah. That said, we are really looking forward to getting together with y’all!! We’ll have to discuss time, kid giftie ideas, etc pretty soon, I guess.

    Re decorating–we are so different! Everything gets decorated in one swell foop on the first of December, and remains decorated until after Little Xmas.

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  2. Autumn Post author

    Er, no; we can’t go to the CBC sing-along, because it’s our recital day. They’re happening at the same time. I guess you missed my e-mail in your haze of marking. :/

    I love Christmas, but five weeks of decorations? I’d go mad! My mum used to bring different things out at different times during the month, so the decorations increased gradually. I’d like to do that sort of thing. If I get my act together to plan it in advance next year, I’d like to do a homemade Advent calendar with a new event or activity in each slot, like setting up a decoration every day.

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  3. Jan

    Don’t buy pine cones – we have trees full of them (as long as you like the stumpy round-ish ones – true pine, rather than spruce or some other conifer). I shall send a bag-full in with t! to make it’s way to you via the usual channels.

    I realised last year that besides lights and tree, we don’t have any other Christmas decorations either. I’m going to address that gradually through handmade stuff… that’s the plan, anyway… one of these years…

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  4. Autumn Post author

    Oh, yes, that’s just the kind I want! Thank you, Jan! That’s so thoughtful. And they will mean something extra-special, because they came from your land.

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  5. pasley & jeff

    Er… yes, sorry—that would be the reply that didn’t get sent to you about how we had already promised the girls the CBC sing-in, and so could not attend the recital. Our bad. :/

    Slowly decorating sounds lovely, and like something that takes more time than I have. The beginning of December just always naturally coincides with a small window of no marking until a fresh batch of essays comes in; we make a day or weekend of the decorating event, culminating with a little family party, with appetizers and cookies and a few Christmas shows we love. And while I’m happy to see the decorations go in January, the girls are always very sad–I think they’d like them up all winter!

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  6. lu

    We have the separate bits. We have the giant wreath and outside stuff that is already up and has been since this past week, and the tree / mantle / stocking stuff that goes up later.

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