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Christmas Past, Christmas Present

As a rule, I don't jump into Christmas headfirst. It's not because I don't love it, but rather


because it's such an affected holiday. As a child, Christmas was about togetherness, family and music. I remember very few gifts that I received, but vividly remember going to cut down our Christmas tree every single year. We would load up the car

with our Bean Boots, twine, and the dogs (if they were behaving) and head to the tree farm to pick out the perfect evergreen for our family room.

I can't say it was picture perfect every single year. We can't forget the year the tree, fully decorated; fell on Nana while sitting on the couch. Or the year my Mother picked out "the most beautiful tree"... only to find the branches wouldn't hold a single ornament. (We tucked them inside the boughs) And even though my memory tells me gifts filled the floor below every year, I remember very few of them specifically. Daily, I remind myself that our experiences define us, not our possessions. It’s memories like cutting down our Christmas tree that reinforce the sentiment. In recent years, Dave and I have cut down our Christmas tree (almost) every year. It’s a tradition I’m committed to keeping and sharing those special memories with Dave.

While hauling the tree inside and organizing the decorations, Christmas music was always playing. I’ve put together a playlist of my favorite Christmas songs with both new and old classics. Hearing certain songs, like Blue Christmas by Elvis, will forever bring me back to being a child decorating the tree with my family. Included are several selections from Linda Eder’s Christmas album “Christmas Stays the Same”. In my opinion, it’s the greatest Christmas album of all time striking the perfect balance between classic and contemporary. Her version of Silent Night, which closes out the playlist, is perhaps the most stirring version of the song ever recorded. Of course, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is included as well as an absolutely beautiful, yet non-traditional version of “O Holy Night” by Tracy Chapman. If a more classic take is what you’re looking for, listen to Mariah Carey’s live version off her 2nd holiday album “Merry Christmas II You”.

This Christmas, I hope to focus on the magic of the season and the music that is its soundtrack. Let’s place less weight on presents, and more on the memories we create with each other.

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