Day #3 – Music and Movies
This is one of the harder topics to write about for me, because music really seems to connect with me. I have always been able to use music to escape from everything around me. Movies also provide an escape but not nearly as well as music. The problem is my music often reflects my mood, so when I am feeling crappy I listen to certain music. Growing up I did not have the best times during the holidays and holiday music can often make me feel that way again. Especially, if the music is something that my family would sing all the time at one of our family Christmas gatherings.
As the holiday season gets longer and longer it becomes harder and harder to like the music and movies that are always replayed during this time. I wrote before that I didn’t inherently have an issue with holiday music and movies, but more the constant if your face attitude that both have become. Even with this, there are certain things that I do think music and movies can make the holiday season special.
Even though holiday movies are shown year after year and now multiple times during the season on numerous networks, they can still be good. I can remember back when I used to wait once a year to watch the holiday specials. They only came on once a year and even though they were the same ones each year I still looked forward to them. Now, as an adult I do not really look forward to sitting down and watching these movies or TV shows. I think I have seen enough Frosty to last me a long time. Yet, I do really enjoy watching all these when I am doing it with my kids. I like watching all these classics with them for the first time and seeing their reactions. It makes it fun in a completely different way. It is something I look forward to every year. When we were visiting my wife’s parents one year, all of my wife’s niece and nephews were over visiting and we put all the kids in the basement playroom watching Home Alone for the first time. The laughter and giggling that came from the basement was contagious and soon we each made a reason to go down and check on them. It is one of those things that as a parent you live for, seeing your child happy, laughing, while experiencing something new. I sure you can also imagine that all these kids, all very close in age, laughing. It quickly became very contagious. It just reminds you of why you are a parent. Could we experience the same things without the holiday season? Sure, but I don’t think you will get the awe and wonder that the holidays naturally bring for kids. This makes each experience have the potential to be one they will remember forever.
As I said I am a creature heavily influenced by music and even though I can enjoy repetitive music, it has to match my mood or it will drive me bonkers. You can see how holiday music can do this to anyone. A lot of those songs bring back crappy feelings of a past that needs to stay in the past, so when I hear them over and over it can make the holiday season a little rough, maddening actually. However, when artists can take old music and put their own spin on it, then I feel like I can listen to it without the same feelings resurfacing. I can enjoy what I am hearing again. The problem is you don’t get many artists putting out holiday albums each year. And when they do they often just sing it the same way as everyone else.
New versions holiday music can be refreshing and be something which can take on meaning in my life without being poisonous to the holidays. For example, when the movie Elf came out I watched it with my wife’s family because they are Will Ferrell fans. I had a good time with them and I know for the most part that holiday break did not suck. In that movie, Zooey Deschanel is showering when Will Ferrell’s character hears her singing and goes in and sings with her. That specific version of “Baby, it’s cold outside”with Zooey Deschanel brings back feelings of love and acceptance from that holiday season. I downloaded it right away and listened to it for a long time, well past Christmas. It is also one of my songs that is on my Christmas play list.
Another song that made it to my list is from “How the Grinch stole Christmas” with Jim Carrey. When this movie came out I was not feeling in the holiday “spirit. Okay, I was miserable and probably miserable to be around. We went and watched that movie and the song “Where are you Christmas?” sung by Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) really helped bring me out of my funk. It basically says that Christmas is always there because Christmas is inside of us. It is what we make of it, not what the rest of the world believes it should be or tries to make it out to be. Faith Hills version of the song is also good but it does not spark the same feelings I get when I hear the Cindy Lou Who version. It reminds me that I am being a Grinch because I am choosing to be.
What I can take away from all of this, is that every holiday season is a new experience. Whether it is my kids seeing or watching for the first time or me being able to take something away from the holidays. The only determining factor is whether I am going to let it. If I want these things to put me in the Christmas mood, then I have to find the Christmas inside me. I have to bury those bad memories and find new ones to focus on instead. Then take each holiday and holiday season one at a time because they can all be special if you are open to it. Maybe this season we will watch “Miracle on 34th Street” as I am the only one in my family who has ever seen it.