I once played a wise man for our Christmas show in elementary school. The costume was light blue and a golden crown adorned my dark curls. During those days, I was classified as a ham. As, I told my parents, I went great with the holiday season.
Christmas concerts were an integral part of my upbringing. I loved singing and always attempted to be the loudest voice in the ensemble. Most of all I sang for the love of Christmas carols. Rudolph the red nose reindeer, Frosty the snowman and even Charlie Brown were my Christmas idols. When their songs stopped playing on the radio and faded like slush on a Manhattan sidewalk, I wanted to cry.
Growing into adulthood, I lived in the Christmas capital of the world, New York. Working a half block from Fifth Avenue meant, holiday madness was inevitable. When the big crystal globe hovered over 57th and Fifth it not only marked Harry Winston’s interpretation of the moon, but the beginning of the holiday season.
The holiday crowds were always maddening. My memories of Midtown during the Christmas season involved pushing my way through the gaggle of tourists, stopping to take pictures of everything from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to a mailbox. Although, I played it cool. I did walk to Rockefeller Center to admire the Christmas tree. The Waitress’s “Christmas Wrapping” played on my iPod as it twinkled in the newly frosty New York skies. It was simply magical.
“Christmas Wrapping” was the only song I listened to during the holiday season. Anywhere, I walked the Waitresses’ song followed. After moving back to California, I discovered the joys of the Pandora Christmas station. My favorite Christmas song remained a staple, but soon I was reunited with my old friends Rudolph, Frosty and Charlie.
I traded the fancy window displays of Saks Fifth Avenue, roasted chestnuts and actual snow for quiet hilly streets with track homes competing for the coolest holiday decorations. The suburbs are uncool, but there’s something endearing about seeing the artistry that neighbors put into decorating their homes for holiday cheer. It’s the only time when track homes transform from drab to fab like a drag queen leaving her manly roots behind.
The cold air pressing against my face and the Christmas carols made my modest neighborhood as enchanting as my former home, New York. Once the holiday season ended, I stopped listening to carols. However, this past summer, I needed a little holiday cheer months in advance.
I re-downloaded the Christmas songs station on Pandora and was quickly transformed from palm trees and margaritas to Christmas trees and eggnog. It was a chilly relief from the heat wave.
Christmas is candy canes, eggnog, Santa Clause, hot chocolate with marshmallows, pine trees and most of all happy tunes. The Christmas soundtrack is like a Xanax for the soul. Regardless of the time of year, it’s happy music for a splendid season. Countdown to authentic holiday camp commences now.