The Music of the Season
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As a kid, I remember sitting around the Christmas tree listening to an endless supply of carols in the form of the Reader’s Digest 4-LP collection called Joyous Noel. I knew every word of every song. We had a hi-fi console with fold-out speakers that would hold all four LPs, dropping each automatically as each record ended. It was a magical time as old favorites like Joy to the World and Silent Night were laced with contemporary songs like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “All I want for Christmas”. I learned about “Christmas in Killarney” from The Irish Rovers and marveled at the majesty of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” from the great Kate Smith.
I loved Christmas time and the delightful joy shared with family and friends. We caroled for neighbors, delivering my mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls n a wagon. We made paper and glitter ornaments, gathered pine cones, and anxiously waited for that one night when Rudolph would be on TV or Christmas Eve to watch “The Wizard of Oz”. We visited family, cousins spilling over each other sharing gifts, meals, and treats. It was a simple but busy time. Wonderful memories – I hope you too have your share, as well.
But I, like so many others, often feel sorrow and dread during this time of year – maybe because life didn’t quite turn out as hoped or the yearning for yesteryear (and the sweet times of innocence) and the want for that unconditional love from those who seemed to knowus so well (and love us still) , so long ago. Makes me miss my mom and dad, my siblings, and of course my own children – who have grown and scattered like the wind, just like I did thirty years ago. And I am happy – I am a happy person with a good life, surrounded by and close to the ones I love. How heartbreaking for those who are alone and feeling dreadfully lonely during this time of year. How I wish I could snap my fingers and ease their sorrow. A smile, a handshake, and a kind word may just be enough to lift an aching heart – I vow to help when I can…
A New Tradition
One Christmas, my father brought home a new album, The Roger Whitaker Christmas Album. We all groaned – we liked the old album with all the favorites… But my dad was a lover of music, all kinds, and wanted us to hear something he had heard and really liked. Roger Whitaker, a British singer/musician born in Kenya – was born the same year as my dad, 1936. I like to call him the “folkiest folk singer” with a trill in his voice and the best whistle out there – no one whistles Brahm’s Lullaby better. I think all of these facts played into why my father wanted us to know Roger Whitaker – my dad was a wonderful whistler too, and had a clear bass voice with which I loved to harmonize.
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We all – my mother and siblings – quickly fell in love with the album and gained a new favorite to add to our collection. Nothing makes me feel closer to my dad than listening to the songs he loved – and with him being gone many years now, it is the perfect way for me and my family to celebrate the season. I have passed this on to my kids and when my siblings and I gather at Christmas, we sing songs from the album and remember those years so long ago – in particular – we sing Momma Mary loud and clear, as well as sing and act out a breathless “Twelve Days of Christmas”. T’is the season…
Traditions and Stories
We all have our own birthday or holiday traditions or stories that are meaningful – that no one else can truly understand or appreciate. Knowing this, that my own holiday loves/traditions are often misunderstood or unappreciated – it stands to reason that I may not understand or accept others’ seasonal loves and traditions. So with a growing tolerance/understanding, I want to hear more and learn more of how others have celebrated as children, how they celebrate now.
May your life and season be filled with love and peace, as well as the pure smiles that accompany joy.
*All that I want is to be here beside you,
All that I need is right here in my arms,
All that I want be to know that you love me,
And this will be my finest Christmas time… by Roger Whitaker
Please feel free to share your traditions/stories from life as a child or what you have done as adults.
by Rayanne Thorn