As I perused the rich offerings of my fellow bloggers yesterday, I chanced upon a request on JPC Allen Writes to consider my favorite Christmas song as a writing prompt.
My brain spent a brief moment racing through its catalog of Christmas carols. Just seconds passed before a cascade of rich memories began to tumble out – so I sort of had to write.
The thing is that I played piano.
As a kid, I developed quite a repertoire of Christmas carols. I continued learning them, newer and somewhat more complex arrangements, until young adulthood.
So, when family and friends gathered on Christmas eve, I was ready. Never mind that food, alcohol, and interpersonal dynamics left little attention span for my efforts at the piano.
With no urging from anyone, I donned my felt reindeer antlers, took my seat at the piano, and began to play. Eventually, it clicked.
Two or three pieces always briefly caught everyone’s fancy, whether to sing along, or with which to get very silly.
Everyone could be tempted to join in for “Jingle Bells” or “Silent Night,” since we all knew the words. I particularly loved playing “Joy to the World,” “Let It Snow,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” I liked the peppy, fun songs more than the somber, slow ones.
Everyone would gather around me and the piano so they could see the music and the words. Their voices filled the air. They easily and loudly carried on even if I made a brief stumble on the keys.
Things quickly fell apart, however, when folks introduced alternate lyrics for “We Three Kings” (you know, the ones involving a baffling rubber cigar), which everyone found hysterically funny.
Even worse, it was never long before my older sister would find it quite hilarious to stand directly behind me as I played, with her fingers poised just above my shoulders. She would wait for me to make a mistake, then make a loud and giggling production of grabbing my shoulders and tickling me. It made me so apprehensive that I was bound to make a mistake.
This little game usually marked the end of my Christmas carol playing for the day – no doubt suiting her intent.
As we all got a little older, I particularly enjoyed playing tunes like “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and “Silver Bells.”
“Sleigh Ride,” though, ultimately became the family favorite. For some reason, everyone got so they demanded the “Sleigh Ride” song with all its ring-ting-tingling, and rollicked their way through it.
Eventually and wonderfully, my own children were among the voices enjoying the fun.
So, in truth, I don’t have a favorite Christmas carol. I simply cherish them all – at least the ones I can play on the piano – for the joyful memories they helped to create. They also serve as a happy reminder to seize the moment, be connected, and make new ones.