The holidays have gotten pretty simple around here My son is grown and there are no grandkids. We are very modest with our gift giving. Who needs more stuff? I’ve come to value traditions that don’t involve consumerism.
The one thing I have hung onto over many many years is making my own holiday cards. Sometimes they are color copied, some years they are poems I have written. This I got down to the basics with old-fashioned scissors, glue, scraps of paper, stamps, and sequins. I made most of them with a group of my friends (see my previous post) It’s fun just take time out of life and just be crafty.
I’m skipping the holiday letter this year in favor of putting a very short handwritten note with my signature. My card list is relatively small. If I do a few a night all will be out in the mail in a few days to friends and family.
That’s my little gift to others afar from the non-digital world of paper, glue, pen and a bit of love.
I’ve always loved to sing. In elementary school in my babyboomer upbringing, we always started the day with songs. They were usually patriotic in nature – “My Country Tis of Thee” or “Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies” sung with heart with our bird-like voices. Then there was nothing like those fun songs I learned at summer camp.
As an adult, I have had to hunt for places to sing (other than the shower). Music has become more of a spectator sport in our culture, a solitary experience of earbuds, or just reserved for churches. How lucky I was when a women’s choir started up six years ago within a driveable distance of my rural home. Every Tuesday night my friend Linda and I drive to 12 miles to McMinnville for practice. It’s work and fun at the same time. We are a community of women united in our voices.
There have been studies done on the mental and physical health benefits of singing in a choir. There is something truly healing by breathing and weaving our voice in with a group of other people. Singing unites us. I can gift to others with my voice and it helps chase away the holiday blues.
The culmination of our efforts is our winter concerts. All the worries of mistakes float away. We walk into the hall, confident, our voices blending in beautiful harmonies facing our audience and sharing our songs. I revel when I see eyes close, smiles on faces, and even a tears running down cheeks.
Practice behind me
Audience before me
The piano preludes
The conductor cues
Now our voices pour from our hearts
Wrapping all in a harmonious cloud
The splendor of song filling the room
Infusing our souls
And those before us
“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.”
― E.Y. Harburg