Holiday Resistance

It’s the time of year when I usually gripe about not being ready for the holidays. I may be better about that this year since I got to experience actual autumn in October this fall by going to Virginia (and driving through the mountains of Tennessee on the way). I think a lot of my holiday resistance usually has to do with it finally feeling like fall here around Thanksgiving, so I don’t get to experience the autumn vibes before the holiday stuff hits.

But I’m still not ready for all holidays, all the time. The trees just started turning fall colors, which makes it hard to make the mental switch. The classical radio station I usually keep on in my office switched to all holiday music the day after Thanksgiving, and I’m not up for that. I’d have preferred a more gradual transition, like start with most of their usual programming and then add in some holiday pieces, increasing the proportion of holiday content as the season progresses. As it is, I’m already sick of some of the holiday pieces not quite a week in, with me just listening while I eat breakfast, read in bed at night, and drive. I can’t listen to Christmas music while I work. Most of that music has words that I know, so even if it’s instrumental my brain tries to sing along, which distracts me from work. Even worse, I’ve performed a lot of the music, so it catches my attention even more.

On the other hand, I rack up the score on the little “six degrees of classical music” game I play when listening to the radio. I get points for a piece I’ve performed, a piece I’ve seen live in concert, a recording I own, or a performer (individual artist, conductor, or group) I’ve seen in person. As a veteran choir member, I’ve performed a ton of Christmas music. I get a lot of points from John Rutter. I’ve sung most of his Christmas music and have seen him conduct in person, and I have his Christmas album, so I own most of the recordings they use on the radio, which gives me triple points. I’ve sung Messiah. They play a lot of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas stuff, and I’ve been at a choir workshop with the former director who’s the conductor for most of their recordings and have been conducted by him, so I get points there. They play a lot of things by ensembles I’ve seen in person, like the Dallas Symphony, Boston Pops, Turtle Creek Chorale, and Baltimore Consort (and I have their Christmas album, so double points). But all that means I can’t listen while I work. My brain zooms in on the music and puts words to it, which clashes with the words I’m trying to create in my head.

Our neighborhood tree lighting is this weekend, and I may go to that, which could help me kick off the season, and then I may get around to putting up my own decorations. I’ve told myself I’m taking a staycation when I finish the book I’m working on, and then I’ll really indulge in the holiday vibe. I’m putting together a “bucket list” of local holiday things I want to do in what may be my last holiday season in this area. Next year, I may be in an entirely different place. The seasons seem to line up better there, so maybe I’ll be more ready for the holidays next year.

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