BEUSCHEL: Holiday music and memories

Dec 16, 2011


Then add in all the traditional holiday songs and it is the perfect way to warm up to this holiday time of the year. 

So, as I drive to work in the morning, I listen to music and feel emotions stirring as different songs trigger memories. The memories of Christmases past come as snapshots of times gone by. Sometimes they bring laughter and sometimes tears. 

“Christmas Time is Here,” the theme song to “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” brings a round of chuckles as I think of that pathetically sparse Christmas tree Charlie Brown brings for the Christmas pageant. It reminds me of one of our first Christmases together.

I was too sick to go shopping for a Christmas tree, so my husband took on that seasonal task. I’ll never forget the sickly looking little tree he brought home.

Between laughter and tears, I asked, “What in the world got you to buy that tree?” His reply speaks to his character: “I felt sorry for it.” I knew then that I had married my very own Charlie Brown.

“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?” Those words from “Winter Wonderland” conjure up a sleigh ride memory from when our children were in their elementary years.

My very own Charlie Brown-husband got the urge to have a horse and a horse-drawn surrey. In the process, he also acquired an antique sleigh. Together with some friends, we arranged to have him bring Santa in the sleigh to our friends’ house, where we gathered all the children for a holiday get-together. As he went to the barn to harness up the horse and sleigh and bring Santa, I waited with the group; my video camera at the ready. The roads were snow-packed, the sky was clear and it was bitter cold. I’ll never forget the look on the children’s faces as Santa pulled up in the sleigh with a police escort! The police officer had decided to join in the fun and make sure Santa made it to his destination.   

Santa was frozen and needed a little brandy to warm up, so the sleigh went back without him, the police officer went on his way and the children got Santa all to themselves.

Oh, I just remembered that our horse, Moxie Brilliant, was decked out with all her sleigh bells and felt like the queen of the ball. That’s a winter wonderland picture-perfect memory!

Of course, there’s “Deck the Halls” for another Christmas classic. This usually gets me to thinking about all the boxes of decorations I have in the garage. 

I have beautiful glass ornaments that were my parents and ones that they gave us over the years. Somewhere along the line, I started collecting more antique ornaments and Barbie ornaments. Mingled in with them are my children’s hand-made ornaments from when they were in elementary school. Adding in now are the ornaments made by my elementary school-age granddaughter. I have boxes of wreathes, trimmings, outside decorations, lighted village houses, and the list goes on and on. 

Over the past couple of years, I have struggled with the “’tis the season to be jolly” part of this song, as I never feel very jolly about doing the Christmas decorating. Although the “deck the halls” seems more of a chore than a pleasure as my age increases, I still enjoy the chorus of “Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.” (There are eight las, according to my count as I sung it over and over again.)  

Of course, “White Christmas” for us Michiganders speaks to the wish we always have at Christmas time: just enough snow to cover the ground, but not so much to prevent family and friends from gathering together to celebrate the holiday.

I remember several white Christmases when friends from Chicago would drive up just so they could go to the Christmas tree farm with us and help cut down the Christmas tree. Then there was a Christmas that was so totally green and balmy that the golfers were out on the courses — yes, in Michigan on Christmas Day!

Although a beautiful day for travel, it was disappointingly not a white Christmas. 

I especially love the “Christmas Waltz” and the words: “It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love.” It seems that in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, people do take time to be more loving. All around me I see the efforts of our community members to reach out and help others. There is something about this time of year that pulls on people’s heart and opens up their spirit of giving to others in need.  

There is a verse in “Christmas Time is Here” that goes: “Oh, if we could always see such spirit through the year!” I think that’s a good note to end on.

— By Janice Beuschel, Tribune community columnist. She can be reached through her website:


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