A Happy Thanksgiving

This year’s Thanksgiving looks very different. There are loved ones missing from our tables this year. Some of our traditional meals are being moved to new places since those loved ones are not here to host any longer. There are new worries this year that we didn’t have last year. But there are also new faces. They are tiny new faces, and one of them is that of my six week old son. A year ago, I was not anticipating any of these changes.

And yet, like last year, I am still watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as I prepare my Granny’s macaroni and cheese recipe. Like last year, I am bouncing between numerous Thanksgiving feasts all week because we have such a big family that loves to gather around the table. Like last year, I am thankful. I am thankful for time with family this week. I am thankful that I serve a loving, almighty God. He gives, He takes away, but He always loves us and cares for us.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Is it time yet?

Through the ages, there has been a heated debate that consistently arises this time of year. The question can be a difficult one and it tends to brings out strong opinions. As for me, my thoughts have changed over the years on this hot button topic, and I am ready to say unashamedly that no, it is not too early to start playing Christmas music.

Typically, I am immersed in Christmas music by late October. As a choral director, you had better start that Christmas music in the fall in order to be prepared for a successful December performance. I was really excited over the holiday music I chose for my kids this year, but I’m not there to work on it with them since I’m still on maternity leave. I am rehearsing Christmas music on Wednesday nights with the church choir, but I found myself needing more.

Years ago, I was adamant that Christmas music should not be played before Thanksgiving. I would not pull out my favorite holiday cd’s until the day after Thanksgiving at the earliest. Slowly, over the last few years, I’ve found that one month a year isn’t long enough to get my fix of Christmas music, so my start date for listening has oh-so-slowly crept up to November 1st.

And I’m ok with that.

Even as the temperatures are still in the 70’s here in Georgia and none of my Christmas decorations are out, I am still loving having my favorite Christmas albums playing in the car and around the house. My boys are loving it, too. My husband on the other hand — well, he is of the opposing side on this issue, and is not a fan of my playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. However, in this family of five, he is now outnumbered in his opinion and will have to deal with it.

Nothing makes it feel like Christmas for me like Mannheim Steamroller and Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. These guys bring back vivid memories of childhood Christmases like nothing else can. Music can do that — transport you back to another time and place. I also am in love with Avalon’s Joy album. It came out 16 years ago, but it never gets old for me. And when the boys are in the car, I make sure to play The Muppets’ Red and Green album. I mean, I’ve been listening to that one for years, but now I don’t have to feel so silly telling you about it since I’ve got kids.

So while I won’t put my tree up before Thanksgiving (and on that point, I don’t see a change of viewpoint in my future), I will happily play my favorite Christmas music throughout November. Life is too short to put a time restraint on some of the world’s most most beautiful and joyful music.