Right now, I’m just fascinated watching her develop the language of the holidays. She’s two and a half, and Christmas is full of wonder. I feel lucky to get to rediscover Christmas through her eyes. I have no idea why she’s chosen Jingle Bells as her favorite song. I think she likes the bells jingling in the background of the recording (hence, it’s name).
I hadn’t really paid much attention to that Bing Crosby/Andrew Sisters rendition of Jingle Bells before Claire became so enamored with it. Really, it makes me think of music playing in the background at malls, as I pass the Salvation Army Santa and the perfume counter of Macy’s.
But something on iTunes caught my eye, when I pulled it up on my computer for Claire. The song was written in 1943. We listen to so few songs from this age -- the age of The Great War and the Greatest Generation, victory gardens, rationing, Rosie the Riveter.
I picture my grandmothers in their youth, like I've seen in old photo albums. They're in their bedrooms getting ready for the day. They turn the dial on the radio and happen upon Bing, before putting on their silk slips and hooking their stockings to their garters.
That's how I like to imagine they started their day. Really, I have no idea what 1943 was like. My grandparents' heyday was so long ago, and before all of us were even a twinkle in the eye. The idea of that time is probably filled with as much mythology as that of Santa Claus.
Yet, in 2013, Claire and I are listening to a song from generations past, My daughter will never come to know my grandparents. They fill my childhood memories of Christmas. I miss them and remember them most during the holidays.
My daughter has chosen to love a Christmas song that reminds me of my grandparents in so many ways, about time moving forward and traditions remaining constant. Traditions that are the legacy of those before us. Traditions that are alive and changing, as we initiate our young ones into our cultural heritage.
Indeed, It's the most wonderful time of the year (my favorite Christmas song)!
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