I’ve lived in Toronto for 25 years and I feel like I’ve experienced everything that this city has to offer. ...
So here we are…another Christmas Season and it never get’s mundane. Even though I’m not religious and I was born and raised in a super small family (only child and no extended family), Christmas has always been a special time for me.
Growing up in Ottawa with my parents, the home would always be a buzz of activity. My mother baking and cooking, friends coming and going, lot’s of food, lot’s of music and of course, the tree. Up until 20 years ago, my parents used to place real candles on the Christmas tree, which would make many guests very nervous especially when my parents used to have a dog and cat and a wagging tail walking by would often shake the branches of the tree:)! Lisa and I have lived in Toronto for the past 24 years, but every Christmas has always still been spent in Ottawa. I have never not had a Christmas without my parents. I know they won’t be around forever. Perhaps when they’ll be gone, Christmas will feel different. But for now, that association is intertwined and I’m enjoying it while time and fate allow it.
Many Christmas’ of the past are etched into my memory. One that always stands out is when I was 9. It was Christmas Eve and my new custom-made accordion arrived from Italy…that was quite a celebration! It was delivered personally by Robert Clarot, a musician and musical school director in Ottawa. I remember being so overjoyed and so thankful to my parents for this ultimate Christmas gift that I asked Robert if he would drive me to the Pinecrest Mall before the stores closed so I can buy my parents a gift. I got them a record of Placido Domingo singing Christmas carols, they loved it.
The accordion wasn’t supposed to be my actual gift for Christmas that year. The true gift was an Edmonton Oilers jersey. It was my favourite team and Gretzky was my favourite player…it was something I’ll never forget.
Because of being part of a small family, Christmas also used to generally be a quiet time. Time for rest and reflection. A lot of people make resolutions after Jan 1 but I usually think a lot about the next year between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Lisa and I have made it a point in the last bunch of years to not work at all that week. A lot of talking and soul-searching is what paves the way for the next year.
Of course, the strong association of music and Christmas has always been very important in my life. Over the years, I have performed at quite a few events playing Christmas songs and carols so it’s very much engrained in my heart and psyche. I’m not good at memorizing lyrics to many except for the Christmas variety. And while I have been outspoken that Christmas has been over-commercialized and recordings of carols start to be spun way too early before the holiday season, I will listen quite a bit on the week of. Without a doubt, my favourite carol of all time is O Holy Night. For me, this not just one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time, but the greatest of any type of song! It is inspiring, sweet, dramatic…who could ask for anything more.
Two contrasting versions of O Holy Night that I love equally!
So these are just some of “My Favourite Things” Christmas-wise. I hope you also have wonderful memories of this time of the year too. Wishing you and yours a peaceful and joyous Christmas filled with much love.