Just like that, in the blink of an eye we’ve entered my least favorite time of year.
It’s common to feel a let down right after Christmas, and I know that feeling full well. For nearly a month we’ve built up to Christmas, a mix of celebration and busy preparation. It seems like just yesterday Christmas was three weeks away, and now in a flash it’s done.
Canada has the right idea, tacking on at least one more day of celebration with Boxing Day. In my past life as an employee I detested going back to work the day after Christmas, emotionally hung over from a typically wonderful day and trying to muster the energy and concentration to put out a newspaper.
The freedom to give myself an extra day to recuperate is an advantage of being self employed. The pressure to earn money keeps me on my toes to be sure, but at least I can set my own terms and schedule.
As I write this, Christmas still is three days away and I’m savoring this special time. Our tree has long been up and decorated, our gifts are all purchased and wrapped, and I can take a deep breath and simply enjoy.
I have some select Christmas music playing in the background, a relaxing treat. Actually I have a love-hate relationship with holiday carols. I absolutely detest being bombarded with Christmas music right after Halloween – generally anytime until after Thanksgiving.
Even now I find much of the canned music irritating. It seems an endless number of artists cover the same dozen or so holiday carols, and those same tunes cycle endlessly in the stores and on the radio.
What I truly enjoy are the time honored Christmas hymns, and hearing them today brings back fond memories of singing those songs during December services at the Stryker First Baptist Church. One of the many casualties of this pandemic-impaired Christmas season was having in-person services suspended at our church, Pulaski United Methodist. I do indeed miss the Christmas hymns during those services, and nothing can truly replace singing along in person.
I also very much enjoy novelty tunes at Christmas. My favorite holiday tune of all time is “Snoopy’s Christmas” by the Royal Guardsmen, a take on the Peanuts fantasy of Snoopy as an Allied airman taking on the Red Baron during World War I.
In this song the Red Baron has Snoopy dead in his sights, but instead of shooting him down the Red Baron shares a holiday toast with Snoopy, “and then with a roar they were both on their way, each knowing they’d meet on some other day.” I was maybe 10 when the song was released, and although it no longer is heard on the radio I play it several times a season on CD.
“Snoopy’s Christmas” actually is based on a real-life event during World War I, when German and English soldiers met between the trenches to celebrate a Christmas truce. Garth Brooks commemorates this event in a very moving song, “Belleau Wood.” If you haven’t’ heard it, it’s well worth a listen.
I certainly can’t imagine anyone not enjoying the likes of the barking dog version of “Jingle Bells,” Yogi Yorgesson’s classic “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” or the McKenzie Brothers’ “Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Now for, though, for another year that music falls silent, my CD’s packed away in our Christmas closet. Even the spirit-lifting nighttime brightness of our Christmas tree and the outdoor decorations around town now will fall dark, as we face the endless gray, cold days of winter.
So now I’m telling myself to hang in there, keep busy, enjoy the wide repertoire of my non-holiday music collection and think spring. God willing and the creek don’t rise the sun will return, temperatures will warm, vaccines will conquer COVID-19 and I can actually look forward to the upcoming relentless battle with the lush growing grass of our lawn.
Don Allison is an author, historian and retired editor of The Bryan Times. He can be reached at www.fadedbanner.com