Many things come to mind during the Christmas season. Family and tradition. Decorations and music. Cooking and baking. And Elvis.
For me, the Christmas season all begins with Thanksgiving. Giving thanks for all of our many blessings. Instilling an attitude of gratitude. Getting into the spirit and making a habit of it. A habit to live every day of the year with. Being generous with that spirit.
Oh! A quick side story! Don’t worry, I will get around to Elvis. I went out to lunch yesterday and saw a lovely thing. I love that about eating out alone. Some people don’t like to do it, but it doesn’t bother me. You see and hear a lot of interesting things. The restaurant was kind of busy and had many tables too close together. There were these two older ladies across the way, finishing up their meal. When they were getting up to leave, one of them was having trouble getting out of the booth and getting her footing. Before I even had another thought, my waiter was there lending an arm, helping her stand and get away from the tables. They were so grateful. It put a big smile on my face for the rest of the day.
Anyway, I just wanted to share that happy story with you. Back to Christmas and Elvis. Right.
Christmas music and trees begin in earnest after Thanksgiving (I only listen to Christmas music um…a little before. Ok fine. More than a little).
As kids, all of us cousins used to go over to my Grandparents’ house for a tree decorating party. This is one of my favorite childhood memories.
My Mother would drop us three girls off in the driveway in her suburban for a few hours free of kids. In my head she was taking care of important Mom Christmas stuff. She was probably just enjoying having a little time to herself!
We would walk through the side door into the kitchen where my Grandmother was likely making a big batch of hot chocolate (to be served out of a big bowl with holly on it, ladled into matching mugs) or preparing snacks for us.
You could hear the music coming out of my Grandfather’s study from there, pulling you out of the kitchen and closer to the source of the sound. The feeling. After a ‘hi’ and hug, we would continue on through the TV room and into the dining/living great room.
A house made for entertaining, the front door opened right into the dining room on the left and the living room on the right. A grand space to be sure, great for kids’ running feet. Opposite the front door, was a wall of windows to the back patio and yard. Almost as if there was not even a wall there. That the room itself was part of the yard. Like you could just take your shoes off and just walk onto the St. Augustine carpet and wiggle your toes in the cool green grass.
That is where the tree stood. By the windows, between the two spaces. Looking out to the yard in all its glory. Always a big fat tree with big fat, colorful lights, waiting for the weight of ornaments. The house was already decorated. The stockings were hung. All that was left was to finish the tree.
The crackle of the fire in the fireplace at the far end of the living room could barely be heard over the ambient noise of nine cousins and music, but it was all additive. A symphony of Christmas not dissimilar to the way music is made while riding with the sound of hoof beats, rhythmic breathing, creak of the saddle, the wind in the trees, the chirping of birds.
The music was my Grandfather’s department. He always had music pouring out of the study that stood off the far end of the living room. Different kinds of music. Sometimes his own music. His drums stood in one corner, understood by us not to mess with them.
My Grandparents have a deep love and passion for music. My Grandfather in the making of and listening. My Grandmother for the feeling of and dancing. My love of music is indeed, not surprising. Genetics and all that cool stuff. I get a lot of my love of horses and music from them.
Elvis is a staple at their house, not only at Christmas, but every other time. I hear Elvis and I think of my Grandparents and decorating Christmas trees at their house. I visualize my Grandfather in the study, thinking about what to play next and my Grandmother dancing to the music all throughout the house.
The house may be long gone these days, but the memories and the love remain.
What do you think of at Christmas time? What is your favorite memory? Do not forget to check out the AHA Moments Facebook Page for all of my favorite Christmas songs all month long!
Walk in love, dear readers!
Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish readers!