Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.
There is a certain stillness and tranquility that defines Christmas Eve.
Holiday music fills the air everywhere and we feel at peace with the world.
My work day is done and I have had Christmas music playing in the background most of today. The holiday bird, a/k/a Buddy, my canary, is warbling right along. He likes the female singers best, and whenever a song has any whistling in it. He also enjoys hearing the horse who whinnies in the Ronettes’ version of “Sleigh Ride”. Come to think of it, he likes ‘em all! He will be mighty disappointed when the radio station suddenly resumes its regular playlist on December 26th.
The holiday songs have been going 24/7 on one of the local radio stations since early November. I like all the Christmas songs, especially the old-time ones. I’m not a fan of the remakes and Madonna and Taylor Swift just don’t do justice to the Eartha Kitt version of “Santa Baby”. By now, I remember all the lines to “Santa Baby” and their order and where to pause for effect … those big pauses and inflection in her voice make that song so enjoyable.
It seems like just a handful of years ago, that I sat on the edge of my bed, watching my portable black-and-white TV which sat on my chest of drawers, and my eyes were glued to the Elvis Christmas special where he sang “Blue Christmas”. Though, I was not quite a teeny bopper at that time, I watched the famous Elvis lip curl while he sang that beautiful Christmas song … I was sure he sang that song for me, just like all the other girls and women did.
Every time I hear a Dean Martin Christmas song these days, I feel like I am sitting watching him and his Golddiggers in a holiday special. No one male voice today, in my opinion, beats Dino’s smooth voice. I thought he was so handsome – the perpetual smile, crinkles showing up around his eyes and that shock of curly dark hair. He always had a cigarette in one hand, a drink in the other. But, oh – how he could sing! Smooth as silk, and even today, I remember that twinkle in his eye when I hear “Rudy, the Red-Beaked Reindeer” … well, maybe it is not such a traditional song as the regular version by Gene Autry or Burl Ives, but I like it.
I remember watching all the holiday specials back in the day with my folks when I was a kid. Even Lawrence Welk and the Lennon Sisters. So many Andy Williams or Perry Como Christmas specials … an hour-long show where they dressed in bulky sweaters in snowy scenes with plastic snow, probably shot in a studio in the middle of the Summer. All those famous crooners, with their velvet voices, most of them long gone, but not forgotten.
As a young child I had a collection of vinyl holiday 45s. There was a red record for “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, a light blue one for “Frosty the Snowman”, a bright green one for “Jingle Bells” and a yellow one for “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” … there were more, I’m sure, that I can’t recall the names of now. I didn’t get my first portable record player until I was older, so I would stand next to my mom, while she loaded those records, one at a time, on the spindle of the family stereo. She’d play those songs for me, just once a day, for every day during the holiday season. Though I’d beg to hear my Christmas songs over and over again, I wasn’t indulged in my whim, and had to wait ‘til I was older and could play them on my own equipment. I probably drove my parents up the wall then, playing them over incessantly and no doubt wore out the grooves of those records as I played them so much. (Now there’s a line that will date me for sure.)
There were the kiddies’ holiday specials and I never missed them either. To get into a holiday mood, I watched them for years after I was grown. The local radio station has been playing snippets from “Rudolph” and “Frosty” and I could recite the words, or little conversations, right along with them. I’m not embarrassed to say that – it was a fun part of growing up.
As I was about to conclude this post, I realized I’ve not yet heard Alvin and the Chipmunks’ “Christmas Song” one time this year, so I hustled over to YouTube, made a few clicks, and there it was. Just as I remembered it. I cranked up the volume – really loud. I looked over at Buddy to see if he was scared. He was doing a head tilt, and when the “boys” started singing after that first few notes at the beginning of the song, I matched them, word-for-word, singing with great gusto, at the top of my lungs, as did Buddy.
I just love dusting off old memories at the holidays – they are treasured, even those simple and silly ones.
May your sweet memories from the past, and those you will make in the upcoming days bring you peace and joy always.