I’m so glad Amanda asked this question….

What gets you ready for Christmas? What ushers in the holiday for you?

I’m getting a little weary myself of the “Big Boy, you did this,” and “Baby D, I can’t wait for this,” posts. So here’s something to break up the monotony of mommy-posts….

Christmas to me is about memories. The wonderful family I was blessed with – and the fun we’ve had Christmas-in and Christmas-out…. And what starts the memories flooding back are the sounds and smells.

Oh, the sounds of Christmas! I know that as a child I had one Christmas record. I have no idea what it was called, or where it is now. But I know it had I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas, All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus on it. Those 3 songs, played over and over, bring back some hilarious memories! Mostly of my brother and I trying hard not to peek into gifts, and the two of us (maybe more, with cousins, depending on the year) having to wait in our bedroom doors until Mom and Dad said we could come into the living room to see what Santa had brought us.

Later, as more radio stations started playing “All-Christmas-From-Thanksgiving-To-New-Years,” my song repetoire grew greatly. But not enough – you’ll soon learn that it seems like the radio stations play the same songs over and over… I know there’s not as large of a choice of songs as there normally is, but there are some great songs that never get played!

So I started searching for my own Christmas collections to supplement what I heard on the radio. One of my first (besides the above mentioned record) was – now don’t laugh – New Kids On The Block‘s Merry Merry Christmas. Sigh… I was young and foolish. Since then, I’ve leaned more towards the classic Christmas songs, recorded by Bing, Frank, and others. I have some wonderful compliations with their songs. I also adore Harry, who has 2 Christmas albums out.

My years in music school left me with quite a selection of classical Christmas music, too. No Christmas is complete without a Robert Shaw Christmas CD – one of the best Christmas “shows” I’ve ever been a part of. I sang as a professional Christmas caroler one year (yes, with a full Victorian dress and hat!), and it exposed me to a huge array of Christmas hymns and old-timey carols that I adore. One thing I’d like to start as a family tradition is singing carols together… maybe as your aunt plays piano, or as your Daddy plays guitar.

And mmmmm, the smells of Christmas! Whether it’s something actually baking, some heavenly-scented candles, or a real-cherry wood fire in the fireplace, all I have to do is “smell Christmas” and I’m transported to a place of twinkle lights and Christmas carols. mmmmm…. so when you find me lying on the couch, eyes closed and humming, and all you can find is some cinnamon potpourri burning on the stove… you know where I’ve gone!

If you’d like to read more Christmas stories, click over to Amanda‘s and read some of the other posts submitted. I’m on my way now!

a picture from last year’s “Christmas photo shoot!”