This past Wednesday afternoon, while doing a few mundane household chores, my thoughts wandered down a rabbit hole that ended with me creating – of all things – a holiday music playlist on my phone. That’s right kids … I broke my own cardinal rule of not allowing Christmas music to assault my ears until December. It’s not that I hate Christmas music, I don’t … in fact I love some of it. But I’ve found that when I start this early, I’m completely sick of it by the time Christmas actually arrives.
Earlier in that deep dive into the chaotic maze in my mind I had looked out the window only to be jolted by the sight of a rather heavy snowfall.
First thought … “Ugh”.
Second thought … (a weird one) I recalled an old song you’ve probably never heard by Canadian composer and pianist Hagood Hardy called “Wintertime”. It’s a sweet little choral number I liked as a kid and hadn’t heard in decades. If you decide to search for it yourself, the answer is yes … I know it’s a strange song for a teenager in the 70’s to have liked … but remember whose words you’re reading right now.
I’m not always grateful for technology, but in that moment, I was happy to be able to find the song on my phone and add it to my holiday playlist. As I listened, my heart was flooded with warm, melancholy feelings of winters past; playing road hockey with the boys until the cold stole all feeling from our fingers and toes. Snow forts. Sleigh rides. Marching with the town band in Christmas Parades. Even trudging up and down our street with a snow shovel, offering to shovel neighbourhood sidewalks and driveways for “whatever financial reward the owners thought my efforts were worth.” (True story: I once worked all day on a driveway and was given ten cents. The lady was very old so I tried to be understanding but I mighta cried a little on the way home.)
I glanced out the window again and noticed it had turned into one of those romantic kinds of snowfalls, where the flakes are large and seem to drop in slow motion. I sat in my big comfy chair, sipping decaf (no caffeine after noon for this old timer), building my list of songs and feeling warm in my hoary sweatshirt and big, fuzzy socks that Grams gave me last year for Christmas.
And suddenly, there it was. Vince Guaraldi and the “Charlie Brown Christmas” soundtrack. It’s been my favourite Christmas movie since I knew what it meant to have a favourite anything and the music easily carried me away from my adult disdain for the season and filled me with all the magical childhood feels of snow, my childhood and my children’s Christmases, family gatherings and the warmth the season can bring
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook but this week it was more love as I read posts by a few friends, recounting their feelings of winters past, the holidays and snow. Maybe that was a part of it? Was it the posts I’d read that put me in a more receptive mood for those sudden feelings of nostalgia? Perhaps those ginormous snowflakes dancing outside my window? Was Vince Gauraldi’s “Christmas Time is Here” stirring my heart?
How did I ever turn into such a Grinch about snow and about Christmas? I pondered that question and in the end, decided the only person I could blame is myself. I’ve think over the years I’ve let the pressures of the obligatory buy, the pressure to earn extra money to finance the “stuff” of Christmas and the stress of driving in bad weather replace the feelings of joy I used to experience. I’ve not paid enough attention to the simple things: a sing-a-long with friends, watching a holiday movie with popcorn and hot chocolate, playing a board game with friends/family or bundling up and heading out to build a snowman or for a game of road hockey (do kids still do that?) Even shovelling some snow. Is it weird that I sometimes miss that?
Having realized some of that, I’m determined this year to try to be less concerned with the obligatory aspects of the season and more focused on finding ways to go out in the snow and play! I want to go for walks with my fiancée on one of those “big flake” nights, hold hands and admire the Christmas lights around town. And then, come home to hot chocolate and a movie. Maybe I’ll even dig my skates out of storage. I really want to try to find again, some of the beauty winter brings. Wish me luck.
With that in mind, I went for a walk around the neighbourhood on Thursday specifically to just look at the snow and try to enjoy the beauty of it. Hoping you might find a way to enjoy some of the magic this winter too.
“If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life but still the same amount of snow.” ~Anonymous