a few of my favorite things
By Brenda Tadych
Something comes over me during late fall. I’m no snow bunny, so it’s not as though the upcoming ski season excites me. I handle 90 degrees much better than 30 degrees. But there’s something about the colder weather, the first snowfall, and pending holidays that bring a Norman Rockwell kind of nostalgia to me.
As a child, winter was all about school snow days and sledding. The morning news commentator would run down an alphabetical list of school closings, leaving me in high suspense. When my anticipation was rewarded with, “No school today,” it meant stomach launches or sitting upright on the sled were the only decisions I’d have to make that day.
I enjoy the holiday season and the beauty of a snowfall differently now. I still want to cheer when the local news channel announces that my alma mater declares a snow day. Although my sledding days are long gone and my enthusiasm for shoveling that snow has waned, I have other favorite things now; like the silence after a fresh blanket of snow.
I love, love, love Christmas music, and the older the song, the better. I’m talking about the music on vinyl albums from the 60’s; the ones by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Nat King Cole. You bet I still have – and play – those albums, complete with the sticker showing they were purchased at Kresge’s for $1.98. The background static doesn’t distract me. I rather enjoy it.
I don’t even mind if radio stations start playing Christmas tunes at Thanksgiving. I start playing them in October. Somebody get me a cup of cocoa and a peppermint stick!
Another favorite holiday tradition is watching classic Christmas movies. Call me crazy, but Christmas season is not officially recognized in our home until we watch the original 1947 version of “Miracle on 34th Street.”
I like to see how many different versions of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” I can watch in a season. It's comforting to know that whatever version I watch, the Fezziwigs will dance and celebrate to their hearts’ content, and nephew Fred will steadfastly refuse to give in to Scrooge-ness. I can’t get enough of this tale.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” delivers its own version of Christmas past, present and future and is on my Christmas Movies-To-Watch-Every-Year list. How delightful is Clarence the angel, persevering with hopeless George? He’s the most charming angel ever (even if he is only an AS2-Angel Second Class). My fondness for the sound of church bells comes from watching this movie. Surely, I’m not the only one who believes an angel gets their wings whenever a bell rings?
Staying warm indoors is not the only way to enjoy winter and the holidays, There’s no bad time to go to the beach, and my third favorite thing is traveling to the shore to enjoy their seasonal festivities. Beach towns from Ocean City, Maryland to Cape May, New Jersey keep Christmas traditions alive with costumed carolers, horse-drawn carriages, parades and tree lightings. It doesn't hurt that the stores welcome holiday shoppers with hot cider and cookies and some red-hot end-of-season sales.
The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a frigid winter. True, I get slightly depressed when the days get shorter and the weather colder, but that's OK. When the cold bites, when the wind stings, making me feel sad, I’ll simply remember these favorite things, and then I won’t feel so bad.