Every week, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question:What Do You Most Like About The Holiday Season?
Bookworm Room: I like Christmas music. I may be Jewish, but I think Christmas music is one of the great gifts Christians have given to the world or, at least, to America. Whether it’s the old classics with their decidedly religious focus or the modern odes to winter, hearing those songs makes me happy. I dread the day when the PC police make all of that music go completely underground. Until then, once Thanksgiving is over and right up until 11:59 p.m. on Christmas day, I revel in those melodies.
Puma By Design :While I do not decorate as much as I used to because everyone are adults with their own families, the grandchildren will come over for a weekend, mid-December to help me decorate.
When they were younger, I used to take them on a day trip to Toys R Us or FAO Schwartz in mid-town Manhattan where they’d have open access to the many games and holiday props. However, since everyone is so politically correct in NYC, we now head over to Barnes and Nobles or one of the malls depending on the events.
The following day, we put up Christmas lights and the tree. Hopefully, this year, Kiki won’t knock down the tree and screw up the decorations before the next morning’s sunrise as she did last year.
After the tree is decorated, we’ll have cookies and hot chocolate or tea (sounds all Norman Rockwell, right?) While decorating, we’ll play Christmas music. They like my choice of Christmas music (thank goodness).
Once settled for the evening, I bully (well, not exactly) them into watching a Christmas movie of my choosing. Hey, I earned it and of course, they’ll moan and groan, “Oh, Grandma….really?” My grandson and granddaughter will fight for the seat closest to me until unable to stand them anymore, I switch seats allowing one to sit on the left of me and the other on the right. Case closed.
Then we’ll hang out again, Christmas Eve until about 10 p.m. at which point, their parents who waited until the final days have completed Christmas shopping take them home.
In between and all around, by the second week of December, I am in the holiday spirit whether I have decorated or not. However, once the mission has been accomplished, there is no holding me back. I often spend late evenings or since I’m such a horrible sleeper awaken to find my favorite spot in the living room where I admire the decorations, tree and lights while enjoying Christmas music preferably old school Christmas music of all genres except Hip-hop. Okay, one or two artists from the Hip-hop era.
I believe that music is God’s gift to us and his way of touching us deep within. There is a reason that it’s called joyful noise and when I’m not listening to music or have lowered it in the background, I’m like a 10-year-old enjoying my Christmas movies.
Life is good and we are blessed.
Jeffrey Avalon Friedberg: love “the prettiest sound” in the world: the call to Prayer.
The sound of goats screaming death cries as they are slaughtered. The cacophony of terrified unbelievers naked and shrieking in cold air. The crisp crackle of animal and snake hides as we unwrap our newest weapons and killing devices.
Yessss—the ssssssong of the sssssands blowing passssst usssss, under a full moon….
Patrick O’Hannigan: I’m not actually sure what I like most about the holiday season, but I appreciate being given the chance to think aloud about it.
If you set aside some of the hymns I like on the grounds that Easter and (in the U.S., at least) the Fourth of July have also inspired music, then the forced pause over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day might be the thing I appreciate most. By then, “holiday prep” of whatever kind is done, and the questions you’re left to ponder get simultaneously bigger and smaller. What I mean is that those of us inclined to such pondering are nudged by the calendar to marvel at the fact that God became Man, which leads first to the big, comforting, incredible question of “Why?”
I’m not sure whether my Jewish friends see the ecumenical and fellowship possibilities in Christmas the way that I do, but I also like how the Nativity of Jesus sits squarely on the pivot point between Jewish and Christian scriptures.
That said, nobody can think big thoughts all the time, and so by December 25 we’re also playing “small ball” with questions like “Which flannel shirt do I like best?” or “Will this Irish coffee taste as good as Uncle Jim’s?,” and “Is the soprano soloist at the late Mass going to handle ‘O Holy Night’ as beautifully as Mary Beth did all those years ago?”
I think “the holidays” as a catchall phrase wrongly conflates observances of unequal rank by putting things like New Year’s Eve on equal footing with more significant observances, but it’s also true that seeing the confluence of sacred and secular in the month of December provides food for thought.
Rob Miller: People’s attitudes. They seem to enjoy life more, to let the little things go. Oh, and using the pool and the jacuzzi in December.
Laura Rambeau Lee: For me the holiday season is about carrying on family traditions. We always have turkey for Thanksgiving; a standing rib roast for Christmas dinner; and a roast pork with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and apple sauce on New Year’s Day. We do end up working around everyone’s work schedules and don’t always celebrate on the actual day, but we get together when we all can. And with an extended family it is nice to make the day a special day when no one must run to another dinner and celebration. Since my mom passed away in 2011, I guess I have taken over the matriarch role and try to do the little things she always did. My sisters especially love the shoo-fly pies I order from Lancaster, Pa, which is one thing mom always did after we moved to Florida as we got older. I don’t enjoy the shopping, not crazy about the malls and the crowds. My husband loves to shop so he takes on that task. I make the list, he fills it. I still mail out Christmas cards, too, to family and friends near and far.
The holidays can be bittersweet as we remember our loved ones no longer with us. I do love the music and have a Pentatonix CD from a few years ago that I love to play. I especially love their rendition of “Mary Did You Know?”
Now that the grandkids are 13, 11 and 3 this year they are going to help decorate the house and tree. We have a beautiful nine-foot artificial tree and lots of decorations to put up around the house. We hang stockings and after the kids leave we fill them up with fun things, practical things, and candies.
Our traditions keep us bonded through the generations. The holidays are a time to cherish our families and remember our loved ones no longer with us. It’s our time to express thanks for how truly blessed we are.
Well, there it is!
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