Here it is, December 15th and I am trying to find the Christmas Spirit. I wouldn’t call myself an Ebenezer Scrooge by any means, but for some reason, I’m just not feeling the season this year. The weather here may have something to do with it: we’ve had a week of temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s. Even so, at this point in most years I would have gotten into the spirit of the season, but it just hasn’t happened.
I often wonder how people can keep their energy up during the holiday season. The hype for Christmas started before Halloween arrived, and hasn’t let up through the last month and a half. I figure most people are like me, dragging just to make it through these last few days. Throw in parties, dinners, and other assorted events and it seems like you are nonstop coming and going. For me though it isn’t as bad as it used to be when my daughters were younger, but it’s still a busy time of year that requires a bit of stamina.
Growing up, Christmas was always fun. Some of my fondest memories of the season included music and food. Lots of food. My mother made sure there was plenty of food around at Christmas. She would make three different cakes-one yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing, a coconut cake and my favorite, a walnut pound cake. She’d also see that there was candy around and mixed nuts, and would also make oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. To top things off, every year she would make root beer. Yes root beer. Not the kind like you get in the soda cans, but it was root beer nonetheless. She would by Hires root beer concentrate (I don’t even know if Hires’ brand still exists, but I believe you can find McCormick’s in the stores) and add water, yeast and sugar, and sometimes raisins (yes it would ferment for a few days) before bottling it up in several glass gallon jars, where it continued to ferment just a bit longer. Nothing raised my spirits more than a cold glass of homemade root beer and a slice of that walnut pound cake. I think I’m going to call mom right now and find out if she’s still making any…
As for music, once the Christmas carols began to play, that also helped bring the holiday spirit alive. But back then, we waited at least until after Thanksgiving. Now it’s nothing to hear stations go all-Christmas before Turkey Day. I think all that just wears on a person. I don’t want to hear any carols until after Thanksgiving, preferably not until the calendar turns to December. I used to say it wasn’t Christmas until I heard the Temptations sing “Silent Night” (the classic version with Dennis Edwards, not the earlier version from the ’60s). You say you don’t know that version of “Silent Night”? C’mon, everyone should know this version:
Yeah, that one.
Other songs that got a lot of play at my house when I was growing up at Christmas was Charles Brown’s “Please Come Home For Christmas.” I know the Eagles, among others, have performed the song and may have even made it more popular, but I think this one was the original. His “Merry Christmas Baby” also was heard quite a bit. And one of my favorites, and still is to this day, is Nat King Cole’s rendition of “The Christmas Song.” These songs, and many others, helped get me excited for Christmas…unless I heard them too many times too close together.
Now that I’ve heard these songs, and reminisced about the food, I think maybe my Christmas spirit may be picking up. I think I’m going to put the Christmas tree up today (finally)! Here’s hoping you and yours have a Merry Christmas this year…and if you don’t celebrate, have a Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa or whichever you enjoy. May your holidays be filled with joy.