Thursday, December 8, 2011

"The Music of Christmas"

This album, "The Perry Como Christmas Album", is forever etched into my memory. I consider it a recording masterpiece.

Now I know there are those naysayers who don't necessarily think of this as a good thing. In fact they would probably presume that this would be a sign of a deeper more troubling mental condition...the condition known as chronic lameness.

But who am I trying to kid...I just love Christmas music! From the day after Thanksgiving to midnight on December 25th, I'm going to be listening to the stuff and enjoying every sappy frickin' minute of it!

I think it all goes back to a ritual my family used to do during the Christmas season, I don't really remember
how it started, but I remember these moments as being some of my fondest memories of childhood. I remember how we would turn off all the lights in the house, well, all the lights except for those that pertained to Christmas, and we would then bask in the glow of the multi-colored, tinsel laden, ornament covered, star topped Christmas tree! And our soundtrack? Why our beloved collection of Christmas albums!

Perry Como, Gene Autry, Bing Crosby...nothing but the classics! We would heap these treasures onto the old turntable, sit back and let the music take over. Typically there would be some conversation of course, usually between my older sisters and my mom, but usually it was nothing too overly pressing. Of course various snacks would appear, my mom would bring out cookies or candies, there was no lack of feasting for us at this time of year!

But mostly, it was about the lights and the music. Our tree, typically a live tree, was wired with the largest, most heat emitting bulbs on the market. The fresh smell of pine in our house was also a by-product of the sap in the tree being super heated to nearly the boiling point...I'm surprised the whole thing didn't spontaneously erupt into flames! Our music was recorded on vinyl, non of this digitally remastered, compact disc, high definition crap...we reveled in the warmth of their imperfections!

It was at this time that I would truly be immersed in the sights and sounds around me. Watching the snow falling gently outside the window, it danced passed the colored lights above the front door, and then slowly dissolving into the darkness of the night. Listening to Perry Como singing "Ave Maria" and realising that this was the most beautiful thing that you had ever, or maybe would ever, hear in your life.

It was a magical time to be sure, a time to gather as a family and listen to the sounds of the season, a time to simply enjoy the simple beauty of Christmas.

It was then at that moment, when we were all lulled into the sweet transcendence of Christmas bliss, that my dad would flip on the kitchen lights as he came into the house after work saying, "Hey, who turned all the lights off!" The cold slap of fluorescent light shook us all out of our trance, but only for a moment..."Turn that light off and come into the living room!" we would all yell.

Soon we would all be gathered together again in the colored darkness, my dad would hungrily cut up cheddar cheese and summer sausage to eat with crackers... and the happy sounds of Gene Autry would once again fill the air!
Merry Christmas!


  1. I join you in tipping my virtual hat to these very American crooners. They are national treasures.

  2. Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble are good...but they don't compare to the originals like Crosby, Sinatra or Nat King Cole!