On November 13th, I turned on Christmas music with my own hands for the very first time in my life, and continued to do so for two weeks. Here are my thoughts:
Day 1: Christmas classics
Our family’s first and last Christmas tree was about two feet tall. The lights around it had a little speaker attached to one end that would play five carols in English over and over again. I didn’t know a word of English back in preschool except for apple and pen.
Santa came and knocked on our door that year but I was not amused because standing right next to him was my preschool teacher. I think that may have been the last time our family did Christmas presents. We stashed our tree away when we moved overseas, and I’ve never seen it again.
Listening to Christmas music feels like I have that tree back in the house. I have a hard time listening to more than two songs in one sitting, but at least now I understand what they say.
Day 2: Pentatonix
About three years ago my sister became really keen on turning on Pentatonix Christmas albums at home, my mom’s response being a yell from her room that it’s too noisy.
We’ve never had much of a tradition for Christmas in the family – no decorations, no presents, no tree. Living in countries that don’t celebrate Christmas didn’t really help with that, although we would always try to hold our own “church service” on Christmas day. I would experience an overload of the Christmas atmosphere a few weeks ahead when I was in boarding school, but if I came home for break our house was pretty quiet.
Yeah, I guess we lack the Christmas spirit.
Day 3-4: “Alternative” “Indie” “Acoustic” Christmas music
I’m finding out that Christmas music comes in almost every genre. Listening to songs that I think qualify as good music apart from the fact that they are Christmas songs is actually making me feel a little festive. I might even buy some Christmas lights and hot chocolate.
Day 5: O du frohliche
Around this time two years ago in Germany my choir teacher took us to a grocery store near our school. We stood just outside the door and caroled in German for a while. Turns out there were miscommunications and we were supposed to be at the nursing home behind the store, but I got to skip a part of my other class, so the embarrassment from strangers staring at us with their groceries wasn’t so bad. Maybe that’s why I still remember the words to some of these carols.
Day 6-7: Korean
Apart from the language, the music seems to sound pretty much the same. I don’t think I can handle bells in the background anymore. The better part of it is that it does remind me of the rare Christmas seasons I spent in Korea, walking around the well decorated city and traveling with family.
Day 8: Back to classics
I brace myself every year when Thanksgiving is over and people decide that it’s officially time for Christmas music. After a few days I’ll find myself muttering under my breath that I probably won’t be home for Christmas or have a white Christmas on the other side of the globe. Is it really the most wonderful time of the year? It’s cold and wet. Is Santa Baby ever worth listening to?
Day 9-11: self-made playlist
I wouldn’t mind playing these songs for more than an hour, which is a great advancement from the day before.
Every Christmas season has been different depending on where I am and who I’m with. I’ve grown accustomed to several different Christmas traditions outside my home, such as getting exotic white elephant gifts, wearing new Christmas socks or going to Christmas markets. These help me associate good memories and feelings with the holiday season, and these Christmas songs put me in that spirit.
Day 12-13: Mix of everything
Despite my bitter muttering I can’t deny that I did get a little excited when I first began to hear Christmas music. For one, it means that a holiday is near and the semester is coming to a close. Hopefully, there’s some kind of family or friend reunion involved.
As much as I’d like a break from Christmas music, I’m guessing it probably won’t happen in the next few weeks.