Is it because I sang the songs in a choir at a very young age (5th grade and on to be accurate)? I have a very special attachment to Christmas carols.
Of course, as I've grown, my repertoire has expanded dramatically. (The one I listen to! Not the one I sing!) Today, I'm going to share some of the essentials. Note that number 1 and 2 are perfectly acceptable any time of the year, but December makes it all more special and appropriate.
About 8 years ago (easy to remember since I was pregnant with my oldest, R), I attended "the Messiah" at the basilique Notre-Dame in Montreal's old port. It was beautiful. Magical. I'm sure it contributed to the fact that R has become a music lover, can be heard singing opera in the shower (in tune!) and has already surpassed her mother (that's me) in playing the piano. (To be completely honest, I never got very far in the latter.)
Our daughters have accompanied us to Christmas concerts since they were babies, and have always behaved wonderfully (as opposed to the behavior they keep just for us, at home). That is, if you except the one time R, who was then about 2 or 3 years old, decided to join in and very loudly started singing "Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluiaaaaaaaaaaa!" during a very quiet pause in the music...
Number 2: Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker
I must have been a young teenager when my parents took us to see Nutcracker (the ballet) by Les grands ballets canadiens. Enchanting! I already loved Tchaikovsky's music in general (this piece is also a favourite of mine), but seing it enacted by talented and graceful dancers was one of the best Christmas gifts I ever got.
Number 3: last but not least, your local school's Christmas concert! (or Hanukkah's, or Kwanza's, in all and total respect... whatever concert happening this time of the year!)
(Some schools are considering renaming it a Holidays concert, or a December concert, to make sure nobody's offended... but that's another debate altogether.)
Two years ago, I reluctantly drove to R's school to attend her first Christmas concert. Don't get me wrong, I love children, just as much as I love Christmas concerts (my mom is in a choir and I've happily attended their concerts for years). But the thought of listening to a bunch of 5-6 year olds massacring my favourite tunes was not very enticing. How wrong was I. As soon as they appeared on stage, everyone (including me) was whispering Ohhhs and Ahhhs at the cuteness of their "Sunday best attire". Then, as soon as the sweethearts stroke up the first song, I was conquered. I even caught myself tearing up a little bit (which does NOT happen often! Well, if you exclude music, that is). I had never been so moved by a Christmas concert.
I must not be the only one feeling that way, because that concert is always "sold out". (Either that or the fact that we live in a small community where nothing cultural ever happens; a school concert is all we'll get!)
Now, this year, our little A became part of the concert as well. Not only did she sing beautifully, she also delivered her few lines (one or two kids per class had to speak in the microphone) with great confidence. Which might seem like a small accomplishement, but coming from a little girl who, about a year ago, used to scream and hang on to my pants whenever we tried putting her into a class (dance, swimming, soccer, you name it), this was truly amazing. She even told the other kids what to do and where to go! Her father and I looked at each other in awe, and quietly congratulated ourselves for that theatre camp we signed her for, last summer. Watch out, world! A has come out of her shell!
To finish up beautifully, I don't see why I wouldn't share with you the song that's been stuck in my mind for the past few days.
Good luck with this!