Call Me Old Fashioned…

Having children just makes Christmas such a magical time. I grew up in a very small family. No siblings, not even any cousins and the only child in my family. This meant that although I looked forward to Christmas, and tried my hardest to be good to ensure that Santa made an annual stop at my house, there weren’t really that many things that made Christmas different to a normal day, apart from perhaps a posh tablecloth at lunchtime! I had no problem with this and still don’t, but being from a very small family, I did often dream about lively, big family celebrations at Christmas.

I am, however, running the risk of deviating here, as the point of my post is what makes us ‘feel’ festive. There’s certain, fairly superficial things that give me that little excited flutter, such as seeing the Coca Cola advert, or lusting after the gorgeous party dresses that come out at this time of year, but there’s really only one thing that makes Christmas ‘real’ to me, and that’s Christmas Carols. Everything else starts too early now in my opinion, with people putting their Christmas decorations up as soon as Halloween is over, but generally Carols are only heard when Christmas is relatively close.

Being musical as a child, I always took part in school concerts, and it was the final rehearsals in the school hall that always got me feeling festive. Now I’m the teacher, and it makes me so sad that Christmas Carols aren’t part of the build up to the ‘Winter’ holidays, not Christmas holidays. Unless a school is a Christian denomination school, it’s no longer part of a child’s curriculum. I was doing a lesson with a Year 8 class a couple of weeks ago about how musical composers can create different effects when they write music. I decided to play them a variety of different songs which were written for Christmas and their task was to identify how the composer had successfully made it obvious that the pieces were written for Christmas each time. One of the pieces I played them was ‘Silent Night.’ I was astounded when some of the class burst out laughing at the absurdity of their teacher playing them this. It was almost like ‘what has this got to do with Santa?!’

However, tonight is the night of our school Carol Service. It’s held in the biggest church in our town centre. I wonder why the students have such a resistance to it? I have a choir of about 40 students, and around the same from our partner primary school, so with readers etc. there will be about 100 students involved, and although they’re focussed, and looking forward to it, this was definitely not their default setting! For me there’s nothing more festive than hearing the children all singing together. I’ve got the primary school doing a rendition of ‘Little Donkey’ Our choir doing a version of ‘Silent Night’ and some soloists doing ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ along with all the classic carols. As long as I don’t bum all the accompaniments or trip over a lead or something, I’ll be buzzing with ‘festiveness’ tonight and I know the students will too.

For me, you can’t beat a bit of ‘Away in a Manger’ or ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing.’ That for me is the most Christmassy thing of all, and I will convince the youth of today that it’s a very special time too!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. daftspaniel
    Dec 10, 2010 @ 20:45:54

    ‘Silent Night’ is *so* Christmas-sy to me. There is something comforting yet eerie about it that reminds me of the magic of this time of year. No other carol comes close.

    PS Nice blog!


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