As a child I broke out the Christmas music at any time of year. I loved it - loved listening to it as well as playing it on the piano. Come the day after Thanksgiving and I was in full Christmas caroling mode. We would carol through a church group. There would be a singing production at school. And I would just lead my own little caroling session at home. I had many, many favorites but I am fondest of the older classics sung by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and the rest of the gang of that era. New Christmas music does not cut it for me, with a few rare exceptions. My absolute favorite Christmas tape was a Reader's Digest compilation (Christmas Through the Years) my mom ordered one season. I still have the one tape, but sadly have no player now that we bought a new van. Another favorite as a teenager (that I only have the tape) is Amy Grant's Home for Christmas.
But, that was then, and this is now. It is not that I do not love Christmas music any more (I do!), but I am more aware of using it as a tool of waiting, of preparing myself for Christmas. It probably helps that I get the teensiest annoyed when stores and radio stations are piping it out weeks before Thanksgiving. I am slowly growing my Advent/Christmas cd collection and changing it up to play more Advent-type songs during Advent and the beautiful Christmas carols once Christmas Day is here. Do I absolutely forbid singing of Christmas carols? Nope. After all, I practice on the piano and I plan on teaching the kids some classics this year to know by Christmas. Plus, many cds are a combination of Advent and Christmas songs. But overall, I do try to keep the carols to a minimum in favor of more appropriate tunes. Plus, this is a chance to learn some beautiful new songs!
If you have a favorite, I would love to know about it for next year. Here is what we will be listening to this year:
The kids will learn... O Come, O Come Emmanuel (the first verse anyway), O Christmas Tree, Watchmen Tell Us of the Night (depending), The King Shall Come (depending), and a secular song or two or three, for fun (like Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls). During Christmas we will enjoy listening to the carols but with the baby, forget about officially learning them!
In the cd player...
The Naxos Book of Carols: an Advent Sequence in Music
Making Music Praying Twice: Advent - Christmas - Epiphany
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Songs of Winter
A Classical Kids Christmas
A Very Veggie Christmas
The Incredible Singing Christmas
What do you listen to?