Gratitude,  Musings,  This Life...,  Writer's moments

Sunday Snippet: The Sounds of Christmas Edition

Wow… last week’s snippet garnered way more attention than I ever expected. I’m so grateful for all the wonderful light and love and words of support as I begin this journey with my crazy old heart. I promise updates, but we’re not going to focus on that here so much.

This month I’ve asked the authors in the spotlight to focus on a special Christmas memory or something they love about the holiday season. So far, it’s been a treat to read their holiday stories, so I thought today on the Snippet, I’d share some of my favorite holiday memories.

Despite struggling financially, my mom always made the holidays a treat for me and my sibs. We always had a Christmas tree, the house was always filled with the scent of cookies baking and there was always, always music. Oh, the music of it all! Mom would go to the Firestone store or to the Marathon gas station every year and pick up their annual Christmas album to play on our old console stereo. Remember when a record player was a piece of furniture? And when holiday record albums that were like 99 cents or at most $1.99? We had them all. I can still sing every song…

I loved every song–Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops version of “Sleigh Ride,” Andy Williams’s “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Johnny Mathis’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” and Julie Andrews’s inspiring version of “Joy to the World.” We sang all over the house, watched all the holiday specials at my grandparents’ apartment (they had a color TV), and then sang the old carols again in church all month and particularly at Christmas Eve Candlelight service.

Music is how I know the holidays are on the way. Today, it’s James Taylor at Christmas with his gorgeous rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “River” and “Some Children See Him.” Andrea Bocelli and his kids singing “Do You Hear What I Hear?” The Eagles version of “Please Come Home for Christmas” and Josh Groban singing any Christmas song at all. Pandora’s Christmas channels from Christmas Classics to the St. Olaf Choir channel are on the Bluetooth speaker pretty much from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.

One year, Mom brought home an album that was basically a very well-done version of a table read of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. We listened to that hour-long story every year, entranced by the voices of the ghosts, the characters of Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim and the story of old Scrooge whose heart was turned. When I got married and Mom moved to California, she gave away all her record albums. She didn’t want to cart the vinyl across the country and was getting rid of them, so I nabbed as many of the holiday ones that I could, including A Christmas Carol.

I played that story album for Son every year from the time he was born, and it became as much a part of his and Husband’s holiday memories as of mine. A few years ago, Husband and Son were turning our old vinyl into MP3s, and that scratched and tired old album appeared in the stack. Son used a program to clean up as much of the crack and pop as he could, and now we have it forever as an MP3. Husband and I listened to it again on Friday while we waited for Grandboy to arrive for Cookies with Poppy day. It’s just as affecting over 60 years later as it was the first time I heard it. The voices brought back memories of hot chocolate and cookies by the light of the Christmas tree with my sisters and brother and Mom, all of us enraptured by the old story. I still am…

Gratitude for this week: So much light and love regarding my heart diagnosis–how I am blessed; there’s snow–just a dusting, but it’s snow; I got a new coat, it’s long and warm as toast; wonderful supper with my Lovelies; time with Grandboy–no screens, just the three of us.

Stay well, stay safe (masks, mes amies, it’s how to roll right now), be kind, and most of all, stay grateful. See you next week–on Christmas!


  • Janie DeVos

    Christmas meant Harry Simone record on the Hi-Fi, a fire in the fireplace, decorating a tree (including tinsel), and waiting anxiously for extended family to arrive. Ahhh, wonderful times, those.

    • Christina Salem

      My family and I LOVE music no matter what. Playing it well we wrap our gifts and having the fire channel on as we do it. Our local radio station plays only Christmas carols starting December 1st so when we are in the car it is playing. I am a school bus driver and my students get so excited for Fridays as I bring in a speaker and only if it was a good week of behavior on the bus they get that treat. So for the last few Friday’s it’s been all about the Christmas songs. It’s nice to have the whole bus singing at once and not talking over eachother conversations.
      Happy holidays to you and your family and to anyone reading this comment.

    • Nan

      Isn’t it funny how our attitudes change as we grow older, Janine? Hope your holidays are full of joy and simple easy days. Hugs, honey!