For those of you that have read Random Olio over the last couple of years, you may remember that I am not big on holidays. Most likely a product of my childhood, they have never really been my thing. My dad was overzealous about Christmas, and so there are things that make me nostalgic, as there are memories I have where he seemed happy and completely into the moment. Yet most of those moments were things I witnessed not really things he taught me or I learned from his example.
He was all about Santa, in the decorate-your-house kind of way. Not as much as a kid but when I was in high school and college and no longer lived with him I would usually see him for part of Christmas day. His house, with haphazard furnishings throughout the year, would transform into a showcase for Santa and Father Christmas decorations. Some of them actually creeped me out in a wizard-like or scary old man way. Somehow as he got older, he would wait until after Christmas to purchase a Santa or two on clearance. Only to pack them away and bring them out for a few weeks the next year.
In any case, I am all for change and a new look on things. So when I heard about Fashion Santa I thought “why not!” He hails not from the North Pole, but from a shopping mall in Toronto, Canada. He is styled in clothes from stores in the mall in a lumber jack meets metrosexual St. Nick way. Along the way he is raising money for a charity that helps sick kids. So all in all the 2015 looking Santa is doing good.
Next I would be curious how the stylist would upgrade Mrs. Claus. Anyone up for the task?
Why, oh, why does hearing a good rendition of Silent Night make me cry? I am not one to cry too often. Yes, sometimes a television show or a movie will bring tears to my eyes, sometimes music does too. It is rare though. It is usually when the emotion felt moves me or gives me goose bumps, and the water flows to my eyes.
The emotion I feel is often the memories that fill my thoughts. Even as I write this the salt water is filling my eyes. I think of many Christmas Eve nights when we would go to a local church as a family. When I say as a family, it means my father joined us. Christmas Eve was really the only time of year we all went to church together. It was not our regular church, just one that we knew had a Christmas Eve service. It was a different type of evening. We got dressed up and my father was at his best. He loved Christmas. It brought out the best in him. The Christmas music, the lights, the tree and decorations. Lastly, the Santas. He had a thing for different types of Santa decorations (and I have to say some of them freaked me out). Maybe a better term for some of them was Father Christmas.
I never liked Santa…
In any case, whenever, we would sing Silent Night during the Christmas Eve service I would look up and there would be tears in my dad’s eyes. I never felt brave enough to ask him what his tears meant to him, but somehow I have inherited this same trait from him. For some reason, Silent Night reminds me of the Christmas Eve service, writing my letter to Santa, leaving him cookies and egg nog, and knowing that my dad would be writing a note back to me. It was part of the story, part of our tradition, it made life feel more normal. Even if we did not often have many gifts under the tree (one year I remember getting only a picture frame), somehow the service, letter, and egg nog/cookies made it all feel more normal.
Why is it that the holiday music we only hear for a few weeks a year pulls such strings in our hearts, and unravels memories that go so deep? Is there holiday music that brings the wave of salt water to your eyes?
Oh, and that picture above, it is one of a few. I guess Santa freaked me out.