Monday, December 24, 2012

Things I Love - "Holiday Humbug" Edition!

Hello Dear Blog Readers and Happy Holidays to you all!

It does feel as though this holiday season came up faster than I expected. I usually get the grumbles at this time of year, due to the commercialization of the season, but there are some things I do love that truly mark the season. I've been meaning to share these favorite things I love with you and since I have a moment to do so, I shall! But let me begin with the inspiration for this blog post...

I have been participating in Reverb12, hosted by my blog buddy Kat, and though I have not been journaling many of the prompts on my blog, one of the early Reverb12 prompts did have me thinking:


This prompt stopped me in my tracks. As I mentioned above, I often turn a bit Scrooge-y at this time of year, but this Reverb prompt helped me realize that I could embrace the things I love about this time of year and truly indulge in them to celebrate myself and what I DO love about the holiday season...here is my list of Things I Love during the holidays:


Movies:

I have been indulging in watching my favorite holiday movies over and over this season! I love watching "Scrooged", "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "It's A Wonderful Life", "A Christmas Carol" (1984), "Love, Actually", and "A Christmas Story", but above all, I love, love LOVE watching "The Bishop's Wife". My favorite scene is the skating scene - I was hoping to share this scene with you but it's not available to view on YouTube. However, this lovely scene of the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir singing is available to share with you and it is wonderful to watch how the hymn unfolds:


Doesn't the choir sound 'heavenly'??!? It is a musical highlight of "The Bishop's Wife", which leads me to my favorite music for the holidays...

Music:

I love listening to holiday music and of course "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is my very favorite music album I love to listen to and it's the only holiday music album I DON'T pack away because I love listening to the jazz sounds of this wonderful album. I also love listening to fun music compilations like "The Coolest Christmas", "Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas", "The Hippest Holiday"*, "Hipster's Holiday" and "It's Christmas Time", a wonderful compilation of songs sung by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.

I also love to listen to instrumental holiday music and of all the instrumentals, I love the music of The Nutcracker best of all. Since this is also music to a ballet I love watching, this holiday classic gets a special category of its own...

The Nutcracker - Music and Ballet:

Let me repeat this:

I LOVE THE NUTCRACKER!**

I love the recorded music and filmed stage productions of this beloved classic. I collected a few filmed versions of The Nutcracker, some of which have been lost when loaned out. The versions I still have are:

The Nutcracker by George Balanchine
The Nutcracker performed by The Bolshoi Ballet
The Hard Nut created by Mark Morris

I have to confess that I never really cared for the snowflake dance until I saw this version choreographed by Mark Morris. It is one of the most creative, inventive and fabulous of the snowflake dances I have seen in any production of the The Nutcracker, but you watch and decide for yourself:


You know, I love "The Nutcracker" so much that when I discovered a book that traces the history of this ballet from it's roots in Russia to it's new home in America and how it became a Christmas classic, I had to buy a copy! This book is called "Nutcracker Nation" and it's quite fascinating if you are at all interested in how The Nutcracker became the traditional classic it is today. This leads me to my favorite holiday stories...

Stories:

Some of my favorite stories that relate to the holiday season come from The Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which were finally put into a Christmas Treasury recently. I love reading through all the holiday seasons the Ingalls family share through the years...


Another favorite story is the beginning chapter of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I often read the opening chapters on Christmas Eve and continue to re-read this novel through the rest of the year =-)

What are some of YOUR favorite movies, music or stories that you love to return to at this time of year?


***   ***   ***

Now, Christmas is upon us and I'll continue to indulge in my favorite holiday movies, music and stories until the end of this year. I'll be working on my year-end worksheets and sharing my findings with you all before the year is over. I usually do some blog posts about Kwanzaa, because it's a values-based holiday that I enjoy, but since I need some time to do my year-end journaling, I may not be able to do a daily post each day for each Kwanzaa principle. I will try to do a general review, when I share the discoveries gleaned from the year-end worksheets, so be sure to stay tuned - maybe you'll follow along and discover ways that you can incorporate the principles of this African-American celebration in your life moving forward in the New Year!

"May the day be the bowl of cherriest
And to all, the Merriest!
" 
- "The Merriest" written by June Christy


* - this is a compilation I found at a Pottery Barn store one year, though I did find this link to purchase a copy on Amazon =-) 

** - one year I was actually part of a local dance studio production of "The Nutcracker", where I helped with the costumes, performed in the party scene and, of course, helped out the other dancers backstage...one day I will share some of the crazy stories that came out of that experience - it was a HOOT! ;)

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