Christmas music and me
In theory, I don’t celebrate Christmas. I was raised lighting candles on each of the eight nights of Chanukah, with blessings and presents and latkes to match. But when I was growing up, everyone else on our street celebrated Christmas – everyone else in our school celebrated Christmas. And since I was in the school chorus, I learned Christmas carols.
I loved them. Did I feel guilty about that? Oh yeah. On some level, I felt I was betraying my religion. But that didn’t stop me from learning my part to every carol (I was an alto) and giving it my all during school concerts and visits to nursing homes and hospital wards with my group.
If you’ve never experienced Christmas Eve as a non-Christian, please know that back in those days, there was nothing, absolutely nothing to do. Restaurants were closed. Malls were closed. Even movie theaters were closed back then. And television? Four channels, all showing reruns. Out of sheer desperation, we took to driving into Boston every Christmas Eve, where carolers clustered on the stoops of the townhouses that ringed Beacon Hill’s Louisburg Square. More singing. I loved it!
There are many, many more choices today, but what I love most are the myriad opportunities to enjoy seasonal music. Satellite radio has stations devoted to Christmas music from Thanksgiving on. And Pandora? How special is that? I have created half a dozen special stations, my favorite being ‘Peaceful Holiday.’
Oh oh oh, and Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker?” There’s a whole other brand of Christmas music. For many years, one of my sons gifted me with a trip (with him) to that ballet. We never tired of it. I’m just waiting now for his kids to be old enough to go.
Carols move me. The tunes are lilting, the harmonies exquisite. And okay, I may not celebrate Christmas in a religious sense, but in terms of wishing for peace on earth and good will toward men, I’m wholly on board.
So. To you and yours, I wish – well, yes – peace and good will. Add good health to that, and we’re good to go for 2014.