Friday, December 2, 2011

The Christmas Revels

Well, I'm getting into the Christmas spirit!  The tree is up and decorated and most of the gifts bought and wrapped.  I can't stand shopping in December.  I just have some baking to do and some small things to get for Greg's stocking.  My Christmas short story, Holiday Matinée, comes out tomorrow.

I dug all my Christmas CDs out on the weekend.  I was going through them today and found one that I bought last year but that has been a part of my Christmas tradition since I was a teenager.

The Christmas Revels is a collection of secular and religious songs, poems and readings celebrating the season as it was done in our distant past.  While listening, it is easy to close one's eyes and imagine being in a Great Hall lit with candles, around a gigantic fire in the hearth, as mummers dance and sing and recite.

My father actually discovered this recording when I was in my teens.  He purchased it on cassette (!) and would put it on in the evening after supper, while we sat by the tree and read together and enjoyed the approaching holiday.  It thrilled me then and it still transports me now.

I love that the holiday of Christmas so seamlessly blends pagan and religious rituals to bring delight to all our senses and spirits.  This recording captures beautifully the wonder and joy of the season.

Heap on more wood! – the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.

From the poem Marmion by Sir Walter Scott

Another favorite CD in my collection is Noels Celtiques - Celtic Christmas Music from Brittany.  

This one I discovered while working as the shipper/receiver for a local CD store in my late twenties (for a blast from the past, check out my reviews, still on the Mymusic website with a small photo of my twenty-seven year old self).  After listening to countless versions of the same old songs from mid November onward in the store all day, I was desperate for something a bit different.  The music on this CD is hauntingly beautiful and will bring your Christmas from the ordinary to the extraordinary after your first listen.  I have even put this CD on at other times of the year, the music is so beautiful.

And, finally, for a change of pace, my other favorite Christmas CD is one that Greg put in my stocking last year.  The kids love it too.  

The Glee Christmas Album features upbeat renditions of some Christmas classics, my favorite being the song from Rudoph the Red Nosed Reindeer, The Most Wonderful Day of the Year.  

We're on the island of misfit toys
Here we don't want to stay
We want to travel with Santa Claus in his magic sleigh

A pack full of toys means a sack full of joys
For millions of girls and for millions of boys
When Christmas day is here

The most wonderful day of the year

Glee, the show, has been hit or miss for me lately, but last year's Christmas episode was wonderful, only surpassed by the episode that featured Kurt and Blaine's first kiss (finally!).

Anyway, I recommend each of these recordings and promise that they will add many dimensions to your holiday celebrations, as they do mine.

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