The twenty-minute drive from my house to the gym is fairly nondescript. The streets are two-lane straight with a few turns and traffic lights along the way. Not much to look at on a winter’s morning. But the month of December brings about a miraculous change. With the car stereo belting out songs of the season there’s suddenly a lot to see through the windshield. It’s as if I’m viewing the world through Christmas-colored glasses.
Maybe you’re like me when you’re on the morning drive. You’re half-asleep, a little bit late, and the slightest miscue by another driver puts you in a bad mood. I try to blank out the world around me by toggling my radio presets between news and sports. It’s a wonder my lack of focus gets me to the right destination. But Christmas music changes all that. The happy tunes bring everything back to the crystal and clear. They’re like a gift for the spirit.
Two radio stations in this part of Colorado switch over to Christmas music in December. An adult contemporary station runs an endless loop of about thirty “holiday favorites” from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. I’ll bet they play the Boston Pops’ version of “Sleigh Ride” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” four or five times a day. It gets old. But they also play the best of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Andy Williams so I forgive them. Then we have our Christian contemporary station. Their round-the-clock Christmas playlist keeps it fresh, with more carols than pop songs. They’re a little more in tune with the reason for the season.
Earlier this week I absentmindedly tuned back to one of my regular music stations. Mistake. Their version of celebrating the season had people calling in to say why they deserved to be on “Santa’s naughty list”. One caller said she babysat recently and told the misbehaving child Santa died of COVID. Another said he slept with his ex’s sister and a week later slept with the sister’s best friend. Seriously? This is the spirit of the season?
Spotify plays its part on my drive, especially when radio stations bend to the inevitable commercials. But not playlists. Albums. Spotify Christmas playlists just don’t cut it for me. I have yet to find the perfect mix – you know, not too much of this, not too little of that. I think Christmas albums by individual artists or groups do a better job of a “just right” playlist, which is why I’m peppering this post with three of my favorites.
Now then, let’s get back to those Christmas-colored glasses. Exactly what did I see on my twenty-minute drive? A lot more than I did before I tuned in to the season’s songs…
- Children headed to school, laughing and singing as they walked. I think we can agree; Christmas is all about children. Or at least, one child.
- Signs in front of churches advertising Christmas Eve services. Most offer a 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm option, meaning lots of people are heading to church on Christmas Eve. As we should be this year.
- A lone tree at the end of a driveway decorated with just two ornaments. What to make of it? Maybe a senior citizen lives here, and two ornaments are all he or she can manage. A reminder to gift to our local “Christmas for Seniors” program.
- A third-story apartment and its tiny balcony decorated with garlands, wreaths, and lights. Yes, all walks of life celebrate Christmas no matter the look of their “house”.
- The sign at the gas station advertising today’s fuel prices. Unleaded is advertised in red numbers, diesel in green. How’s that for impromptu Christmas decor?
- Our little town’s myriad Christmas decorations, covering trees, buildings, and lampposts, I may not always agree with the spending of our tax dollars but with this investment, they get it right year after year.
This is my personal mandate for the 2021 holiday season. Take the rest of the month and listen to nothing but carols whenever you’re in the car. You’ll don a pair of Christmas-colored glasses and be amazed at what you’ve been missing around you. Believe it or not, the world looks pretty good right now.
Some content sourced from Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.