This is such a fascinating and exciting time of year for me, that I wanted to share a couple of things.
As a child, Christmas had a lot to do with big family meals. We seemed to start eating on Christmas Eve with my grandmother's scotch eggs, Yule log and plum pudding, Mom and Dad's Christmas cake, trifle, sausage rolls and cookies, pounds of turkey and gravy...I'm sure you get the idea. We all wound up stuffed to the gills until some time after New Year's.
When I entered the world of music as a youngster, I played all kinds of instruments and spent a lot of time playing in Christmas concerts and frequently the levee's at New Year too. I absolutely love Christmas music, and playing so much a part of it really became a part of the holiday for me. While some people may love a particular music genre (rock, jazz, r & b, rap, etc), my first love is with Christmas music.
When I had my own kids, Christmas' were made even more fun. Watching them bake and have fun in the kitchen, sharing the family gatherings together and seeing their own joys of music and colour grow have enriched my life far beyond my expectations.
As I have gotten older, there are a couple of important things that I have learned about Christmas:
- I no longer have to stuff myself over the holidays. I enjoy the food, but keep it in perspective. Okay, maybe I stuff a little, especially when it comes to chocolate and gravy, but I don't eat full time from Christmas Eve to New Year's anymore.
- Giving is about really making a difference, and so while I do still fill up a stocking for my now grown kids, I also look at ways to help people make it through what for many of them is the worst time of year. This year my attention will be sharply pointed at two very important people in my life: my 89-year old grandmother who had a stroke earlier this year and is still pretty sharp but physically a mess, and my dear friend who lost her 21-year old son to kidney disease in May. These normally strong women are both suffering as we head toward Christmas, and so I will be there - cooking and carolling - with and for both of them.