Despite the hectic pace of the holiday season — and the to-do lists that seem to grow with each passing day — there is one Christmas tradition that I eagerly anticipate: becoming re-acquainted with the decorations.
I’d like to say that I sprang from my bed and that away to the window I flew like a flash. Springing from my bed hardly happens these days. There’s a lot of stretching and cracks and creaks that must happen before I can even think of springing.
A local weather forecaster reminded me that in a few days it will be winter. The predicted high in Zone 10 for the day is 80 degrees, and I have to ask myself: “This is Christmas?”
It’s a lot like the question most people ask whenever I tell them I’m spending the holidays in south Florida. “Does it even feel like Christmas there?” they wonder. “I don’t think I would enjoy Christmas down there. How can it even feel like Christmas?”
If there’s snow falling on this WordPress blog, it must mean that it’s December — and since I’m in south Florida at the moment, I have a feeling these digital dots may be the closest I come to the white stuff this holiday season.
Take, for example, my recent trip to purchase a Christmas tree.
In recent weeks, large tents have popped up all over. It’s as if lots and lots of circuses have come to town. But under these big tops — necessary to protect the fresh trees from the heat of the sun — freshly bundled Christmas trees are lined up like soldiers, the smell of pine is everywhere, and Christmas carols play from the speakers.
It’s also 75 degrees — and I’m wearing shorts and sandals, which are a far cry from my typical bundled-up Christmas tree shopping gear, although I did add a sweatshirt to at least create the illusion that it’s chilly.
A few weeks ago, I opened the Christmas music tour with Mahalia Jackson’s very moving rendition of “Silent Night.” Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of not only daily posts of Christmas carols, but also of working and shopping and baking and wrapping.
Tonight, though, I’d like to give all of you a gift. After the guests are gone and the presents are under the tree and the stockings are hung, I’d like you to take a few minutes for yourself. Here are the instructions.
1. Turn off all of the lights, save for those on your Christmas tree.
2. Pour yourself the beverage of your choice — anything from hot chocolate to a martini will work. I’m going with merlot.
3. Find the proper place to view your Christmas tree. This could be a favorite sofa or even the floor. I like to get as low to the floor as possible and look up at the tree.
5. Click play and enjoy “Stille Nacht,” the way it must have sounded long ago (1818), when the young priest who wrote the lyrics performed it in the quiet of his small church in an Austrian village.
Special thanks to Modern Mia Gardening for linking her blog to my Yule Tune posts. Much appreciated.