As you might imagine, Christmas is different this year. I didn’t say it’s ruined. I just said it’s different. Normally, I use this December column to wrap up some last-minute, music-filled festive events for you to attend locally as your family rolls in and the kiddos stay home from school.
I’m pretty sure that’s not happening. But I am also sure that humanity prevails with its creativity, ingenuity and a really positive attitude. What holiday spirit! Folks, you’ve got virtual events galore to choose from, from the biggest of the big to the sweetest and most homegrown.
For starters, on December 18, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who pulled their annual Christmas tour from the road in light of rising COVID numbers, has decided to share their time-honored traditional performance via the worldwide web. Bonus… if you can’t make the live stream on the 18th, with a ticket purchase, you’ll still be able to view the show on-demand until the end of the year. Tickets are available at trans-siberian.com.
If you want something less rock, more refined, never fear! Keep your “Christmas Carol” tradition afloat with achristmascarollive.com! Buy a ticket and stream this holiday classic, starring Jefferson Mays, at your convenience, anytime before January 3.
Get fancy and re-stream a live recording of the Tabernacle Choir performing Handel’s Messiah. You can buy tickets at thetabernaclechoir.org/messiah.
Many world-famous cathedrals are live-streaming their Christmas services in the event that you’ll be most missing church music this year. Salisbury Cathedral in England has opened all of their Christmas services to the internet—turn what you feel you’re missing into an incredible new experience! Visit salisburycathedral.org.uk/events.
For me, what’s true every Christmas is even more true this year. It doesn’t always have to be a big production to make it the most memorable. For example, for the last eight years, my daughters and I have sung and recorded a Christmas carol every December. I have a record of their tiny singing voices growing up through the holiday seasons.
After all, in the words of Zooey Deschanel’s ridiculous and morose character in “Elf,” “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” So, why not make your own holiday concert this year? Here are a few more ways my family will be making musical memories this Christmas, even without an event to attend.
- Caroling in the neighborhood. Take a walk and sing a little as you go. You never know who might pop open their door to listen or join you (socially distanced, of course) along the way.
- Learn a new song. This year, I’ve ordered a beginner’s level carols book for my daughters. They’ve been studying piano for a while, and there’s nothing more Christmasy than gathering around while they give us a little at-home concert.
- Use the car radio. I love turning on COSY 101.1 in the car and hearing the five same Christmas songs every time. It’s hilarious. We always take time to drive around and find Christmas lights, and this is a great way to boost everyone’s Christmas spirit, and by the third time “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” airs, even the grumpiest passenger won’t realize he’s actually singing along.
- Think you’re a seasoned Christmas caroler like me? Try Googling “Christmas Song Trivia Game.” The printouts are endless, and it’s a great way to engage even the non-musical in some Christmas music.
- Organize your carols. I like to break my Christmas music down into different categories and playlists. This way, I’m always setting the holiday mood just right, and no one gets too tired of any one song. Keep events in mind, such as dinner music, cooking and baking or wrapping presents.
Above all, remember, just because it’s different, doesn’t mean Christmas is ruined. The spirit of the holiday season is—and always has been—what we carry inside of us. So, if all you’re doing is humming a classic little tune on your way to the fridge for a midnight snack, you’re still doing your part to keep the festivity alive.
Merry Christmas, everyone! See you next year!