I admit it. I’m kind of a scrooge. Bah humbug.
Oh, I enjoy Christmas when all the work is done, and all of us are sitting around the tree, visiting and laughing and opening presents and eating turkey. I like seeing my kids’ faces when they open a present they really wanted and weren’t sure they were going to get.
It’s the time leading up to Christmas that I get grumpy about. I don’t really mind other people’s decorations, and I do enjoy driving around and looking at pretty lights. I don’t really even care, though I scoff, that Wal-Mart and Target start putting out Christmas stuff before Halloween.
But when Christmas music starts playing the first week of November, I’m pretty tired of it come December 25. I’m actually pretty tired of it come November 2.
Maybe I wouldn’t feel that way if there were more than the 28 Christmas songs in existence, sung about 400 ways apiece. And must they all end with the little “Jingle Bells” opening phrase? “….Merry Christmaaaaas…. tooooo yoouuuu… *dum dum dum, dum dum dum, dumdum dumdum dummmmm*”
But now I have a confession. There are some Christmas songs I get positively gooey about.
When I hear a children’s choir sing “Silent Night,” it makes me cry.
When my firstborn was 6 months old, her first Christmas, I sang and danced with her around my kitchen while the radio played Vince Vance and the Valiants’ “All I Want for Christmas is You.” (I also happen to really like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” and intend to completely learn the lyrics of it this year so I can sing along with it properly.)
I’m not much of a fan of “Sleigh Bells” – there are about 30 versions of it out there, and I get really sick of it. But I’ve discovered I love the Boston Pops’ instrumental version. Skip the lyrics, and it’s a fun song to listen to.
And I enjoy that Charlie Brown theme song (why do they only play it at Christmas time?). I love almost any piano music, and that piece is really neat.
Pretty much any version of “Oh Holy Night” gives me chill bumps, though I think I give preference to Josh Groban’s version, which I heard today going to pick up my kid from school. Just gorgeous.
“Let There Be Peace on Earth” is one that, when I was in high school, our choir sang as a finale every year at our Christmas concert. It not only is a beautiful song, but it brings back memories of some of the best times of my life. I heard it on the radio for the first time in years recently.
One that always brings me to tears AND chill bumps is “Mary, Did You Know?”, as sung by Kenny Rogers and Wynona Judd. “This sweet child you’re holding is the great I AM!” It’s so profound, especially when you’ve had the experience of holding your own baby, knowing he or she would grow up to face all the trials and joys of life. And then you think about how Mary must have felt, knowing this extraordinary little baby – her baby! – would be the Savior of the world, Emmanuel, “God With Us.”
Well, maybe I’m not always a scrooge.