It will come to no surprise to my friends and family when I confess that I'm a bit of a Christmas fairy. I love the lights, the sentimentality and the music - especially the music.
I've had some really rotten Christmases, some where I pulled down the blinds and pretended that it was just another day. But to ignore Christmas is to rip a page out of your history and put it through a shredder. No amount of scotch tape will ever fix it. At best, all you will remember are the holes and creases.
Yes, there's stress, lots of it - presents, travelling, dinners, family obligations etc. And it can truly suck. But that isn't the Holiday's problem. It's ours.
I've had wonderful Christmases as well. When I was a kid, Christmas was magic. I'd stare into the Christmas tree (which was being slowly baked by strings of lights that were definitely not "green") until I was being burnt by the lights and scratched by the angel hair. That never mattered. I transported myself into its branches and played with the reindeer, bird and angel ornaments.
Come December, ordinary transformed into magical at home and school. Teachers smiled more. Strangers offered candy (Hmmm?). The scent of cakes and cookies baking as well as a fresh cut fir tree filled the house. In the kitchen, the annual poutine rapéee assembly line was in full production. On TV, Perry Como and Bing Crosby provided the soundtrack and Rudolf - well, who couldn't identify with Rudolf.
On the many occasions when seasonal joviality overflowed into Moosehead fuelled fighting, I would go outside into the snowy night and wander about the quiet street, sliding on gutter rinks or just sitting in a snow bank, looking up and letting the snowflakes fall on my eyelids. And I'd sing "Winter Wonderland" to an imaginary TV audience.
It's those memories of where I wanted to be and not where I was, that I try to revive each Christmas.
So this month, I'm going to post Christmas songs that mean a lot to me. It's impossible to choose the "best" as that depends on my particular mood that day and whether I feel jazzy or traditional. For instance, I have forty eights versions of Winter Wonderland. So I'll post whichever appeals to me at the moment or holds the most vivid memories for me.
Feel free to comment or suggest your own favourites. Christmas is very personal thing - it really only exists in our imagination.