Friday, December 4, 2009

Sounds and Gifts of the Season

I love music, especially holiday music. For me, there is no better avenue to the true meaning of this Holiday season. As a child, I journeyed for hours to go to the nearest city to watch a production of the Nutcracker. I have fond memories of the beauty and majesty of those performances, so fitting of the season -- but what do you do if you can't afford to attend your nearest symphony's presentation of Handel's Messiah, or a local professional production of The Nutcracker? Not to worry! There are lots of free events going on all this month to help get you or keep you in the holiday spirit!

Let's start with Tree Lightings. I can't think of a more simple way to boost holiday spirit. If you live in a community that supports a community tree, this is a great place for you and your family to join in with the rest of your community in ushering in this season of joy and peace. There's just something special about gathering for a simple tree lighting, watching the children's faces filled with anticipation as the time approaches, and finally witnessing the awe and wonderment brought on by the lighting of the tree. Whether it's at Rockefeller Center, in your small town, at your family's church, or privately in your own home, this event is a great opportunity to take a moment and remember why we celebrate this month. If you're attending one of these events outside, just don't forget to bundle up and if it's not provided at the event, pack lots of hot cocoa! For our City's Tree Lighting this evening, we'll be packing warm pocket pies in addition to the hot chocolate!

If you are looking for a noisier yet still frugal way to celebrate the season, find out if there is a Holiday parade in your area. Here's a great opportunity to see and hear some of your local school bands and other organizations, all in one place! Need more music than that? This is the time of year that many churches, schools, and community centers put on Winter or Holiday concerts. Here you are sure to find many wonderful choices for fabulous music ready to fill you with the Joy of the season.

Where can you find out about these events? Local newspapers usually have an events listing. I found a special holiday events listing on the web page of our local paper. Some of these are free, and some are not, but there were plenty of fun, free events listed that would keep us busy through the new year! You can also call your local school, church, or community center, as well as your City Hall, to find out what's going on in your community.

I encourage you to take the time out to participate in at least one of these events. So often we're too busy with the commercial aspects of this season. Here's an opportunity for you to take a moment out, joining with your family and others. And you won't be celebrating with presents and bows, but with gifts of the heart, whether they are sung, played, or served in a mug of hot cocoa.

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