Happy Holidays!! No matter what you celebrate this time of year, or even if you celebrate nothing at all, the month of December is stressful. My upcoming picture book celebrates a wide variety of traditions, but personally, I’m Christian, so my house is getting ready for Christmas. The religious season is Advent so we have a wreath and an Advent calendar, but it’s hard to get away from the pervasiveness of 24 hour Christmas music, decorations, etc. And to be honest, I don’t mind (so long as they wait until after Thanskgiving). I love the joy and excitement of this time of year– it’s worth the stress that comes with it.
One of my favorite traditions is my town’s annual “Festival of Lights” parade. My older son has been marching in it for the past 7 years, first as a cub scout and now as a boy scout. My husband, younger son, and I find a spot on the route to watch, usually in front of town hall where we’re close to the cider and the bathrooms in the Congregational church next door. My love for this small town tradition led me to write this song, “Small Town Christmas.” I’ve written songs for years but outside of the church setting (many are hymns), I don’t share them much. Even though I have years of choral experience, I love to sing, and I don’t get nervous in front of people, I’m sometimes self-conscious about the sound of my voice as a soloist. And recordings are so hard to get right, there’s always going to be something in there that makes me cringe.
So, my gift to you readers this year is the permission to be vulnerable. Put yourself out there even if you know you are going to make some mistakes. Make a craft for someone even if every stitch isn’t even. Bring that homemade pie to the party even if the crust is a little too brown. Put a hand-written note in your Christmas card even if your handwriting is awful. Letting yourself be imperfect is not a sign of laziness, but of bravery.
As for me, I’m going to share this song with you — there are a few spots I wish I had the post-production talent to fix, but it’s from the heart, right? The poem itself is below, and the YouTube video is embedded below it.
Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!
Each year I turn on the Macy’s parade,
Rockettes and floats and balloons.
You might think I’d like to visit someday.
Not likely anytime soon!
I want a small town Christmas
with some greens on the door
‘Cause when I was a kid,
That’s what everyone did,
And I just couldn’t ask for more.
I’ll take our Festival any old year,
Lighting the trees in the park,
Half of the village lines sidewalks to cheer
Watching the other half march.
Park at the library, walk to the square,
Speakers blare “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Burst out in singing and no one will care,
They might join in round the block.
Fire trucks, boy scouts, the school marching band,
Cider in front of town hall.
Little kids waving with wool-mittened hands,
Perched on the mossy stone wall.
Folks you find rude at the little league game,
At the parade are just fine.
Maybe tomorrow it’s back to the same,
Wish we could all stay this kind.
December 4, 2018