When I was a child in Mill Spring, a southeast Missouri small town with a population of 205, I looked forward to the Christmas holiday. I loved the deep snow, smell of wood burning in our wood stove, colorful lights, and the scent of our Christmas tree in the house.
We didn’t have much back then and because Christmas was near the end of the month, we usually had less – including food. But somehow my mom would find a way to give each of her six kids a few dollars to buy gifts. We would sit around and talk about what we were going to get each other for Christmas. So, with our few dollars in hand we would go to town and purchase, what seemed like the same gifts every year for only our parents. My dad always got an ash tray and mom something made of colored glass like a fruit bowl.
The best part of the season was music. It was a warm place to extract the rich feelings of the holiday. And I found this in the Christmas albums my mom owned. Elvis Presley and Brenda Lee’s Christmas albums were the best. Even today I wistfully find that kid when I listen to these LPs. I forget that I am older and can reach back to a part of my innocence that was filled with hope, love and Santa.
In 2006, I recorded a Christmas CD (Snow White Christmas) with most of the songs from these albums. I discovered that most of the songs I loved the most were written by the Jewish songwriter, Johnny Marks. In fact, he wrote all the songs from one of my TV favorites, “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer” animation special.
I hope everyone is finding the kid in themselves this holiday and listening to songs that take them back to simpler times.