26 Days ’til Christmas–and not all are shopping days!?!

Yes, shopping can become an obsession at this time of year, but I, for one, was not standing in line on Thanksgiving night. Just not my thing to out there rubbing elbows and other body parts at the large package stores, grappling for deals. I’m still in the waiting-for-inspirations stage of shopping…and hints from my giftees.
Thanksgivng night to me is for enjoying the chemical aftermath of the scrumptious turkey dinner (and I didn’t have to mix, knead, and roast as Jane chose to do–wow, that was a hard holiday lesson learned, nor did I have the thankful feeling of a meal lovingly prepared and shared as Martha did) and chatting with a son we see not often enough until we had outlasted the last football game.
To me it is still too early to decorate. It has to at least be December before I pull out the boxes and boxes of stuff and to go out and gather some greens and begin adorning every mantle, banister, doorway, windowsill. The process is almost a rite, and I want to save it to savor it.
So what part of Christmas do I begin, with 26 days to go? Ah, the music. Begin you ask! Yes, the music has been everywhere in the stores and restaurants since that first snowflake a month ago. But I can tune that out–a skill perfected while our three children went through their various stages of awful noises they referred to as music.
Christmas music is the soul of the holiday in my mind and experience. I’ve been a part of Christmas concerts from junior choir days to college choir days. And now I have the great joy of performing with the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra as a johnny-come-lately second violinist. We have two concerts for which we are preparing; you can stroll by and listen when we play at the Fairgrounds Square Mall on Dec. 9, or sit and enjoy when we play at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fleetwood on Dec. 16. Check our website for more details.
But the music that is the most personal is that which is in our vast collection of CDs (oh, that does date us, n’est-ce pas? But this is a time of traditions.) I have a system whereby I choose 5 a week for in the house and others for the car. I play them over and over and then go on to the next set for the next week. Four weeks, at least 28 different CDs. And I am always sorry when I put them away. There are favorites, like Jessye Norman’s “Christmastide”, Marilyn Horne’s “O Holy Night”, the Three Tenors, and the Irish Tenors, and Yo-Yo Ma’s “Songs of Joy & Peace”–well, they’re all favorites!
But year after year the one I anticipate the most is Harry Belafonte’s “Christmas”. It touches many sweet spots. What a grand man. How I hope that his new autobiography just might behind my name on some gifter’s list!
May you all be blessed with some sweet harmonies this season.

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