My community band played our holiday concert last night, complete with Santa conducting one of our pieces. It seemed a bit early to me, playing Christmas music on the first of December, yet I know many radio stations have been playing Christmas music for weeks. And the crowd seemed to get into the spirit, clapping along with “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Sleigh Ride.”
We had only four weeks to get ready for this concert; just a month ago we were playing Halloween music in our first concert of the year. It always feels strange to be rehearsing holiday pieces early in November, long before any of us are bitten by the spirit of Christmas.
It reminds me, every year, of the late 70s when my mom owned a ceramic store. We started firing glazed Christmas trees in October. In order for people to have their trees for holiday tables we needed to get them done prior to Christmas. And given how many we put through the kilns we had to start weeks before anyone would typically think about decorating with trees and ornaments. I remember feeling that Christmas was over the weekend before the actual holiday because we were finished putting Christmas ceramics projects through the store. And I remember listening to people talk about their plans for Christmas and being perpetually surprised that it was still in the future.
That’s how I feel this year. Now that the concert is over I feel like I can relax. As if the holiday was done. No huge holiday event hovers over me. No frantic planing, shopping, cooking, cleaning, no real plans at all. And while that is a peaceful feeling, it isn’t all good. I notice Christmas trees lit in living room windows as I travel past houses at dusk, I see the Christmas lights up in yards, and I smile a bit wistfully.
So a little Christmas cheer is in order around here. I think I’ll put the big wreath up on the front of the house and plug it in. That’s about all the preparation I think I can deal with and it’s enough to make me smile when I pull into the driveway.
What is enough for you? Are you doing the full Christmas tree, house covered in lights, piles of gifts, huge holiday dinner? Or are you scaling back this year? For me, for this year, a quiet Christmas will be just the ticket now that the holiday concert is a wrap.