Tag Archives: Pop culture

Sunday Self-Care: Christmastime Is Here

Maybe it’s the election.

Maybe it’s the way people treated each other in the months leading up to it, or the way they’ve behaved in the weeks since.

Maybe it’s the weather.

Maybe it’s the usual seasonal depression settling over me.

Maybe it’s some combination of the above.

Whatever the reason, I haven’t had much enthusiasm for the holidays this year, and I really considered leaving my Christmas tree in its box in the garage and letting December go by more or less unacknowledged.

I considered it. But that tree is aluminum, straight out of the late 1950s, and it’s got a color wheel to light it up and a set of matte-finish red and green ornaments to hang on it, and for the first time since I bought it, I have a living room full of furniture that goes with it. How could I possibly pass up a chance to see how that Marshmallow sofa looks with a real mid-century aluminum Christmas tree glittering beside it?

And if I’m going to take myself back to the era immediately preceding my own existence, shouldn’t I have period-appropriate music to listen to while I assemble the color wheel?

Yes. Yes, I should.

tiltshiftchristmas
Behold the magic of a mid-century modern Christmas.

So I downloaded the A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack, set my iPhone inside a coffee mug to amplify the sound, and let Vince Guaraldi soothe my frazzled nerves and erase all the grown-up worries and fears and frustrations from my mind.

“Christmastime Is Here” is one of those songs I took for granted for years. It wasn’t the sort of Christmas song you’d hear at church or sing in school or hear on the radio stations that switch their format to “all Christmas, all the time” during December. But it was always part of Christmas, and the older I get, the more I appreciate the way it strikes a balance between grownup melancholy and childlike wonder.

This year, finding that balance has been more difficult than usual, and I’m grateful for Guaraldi’s help finding it as I settle into a replica of a rocking chair that predates the Peanuts gang’s first animated special by several years, sip a cup of peppermint cocoa, and listen to piano and triangle and children’s voices mingle with the hum of the motor on the color wheel turning gently behind the tree.

Christmastime is here.

Emily

The sun’ll come out …

We went and saw the remake of Annie last night when we got back from exchanging Christmas presents with my family. I tend not to be a fan of remakes, because you damn kids get off my lawn, but this new Annie was much better than I’d anticipated.

My only real complaints were the excessive use of electronic pitch correction — which I loathe — and the questionable decision to cast Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan. She wasn’t awful; she just wasn’t good enough to follow Carol Burnett (although admittedly, I’m not sure who would have been).

All that said, I thought it was an effective update on a classic, and Quvenzhane Wallis was cute and plucky and made a good foil for Jamie Foxx. Bonus points to whoever was responsible for casting the dog: This is the first Sandy in the entire history of the musical who’s actually resembled the red, pointy-eared dog from the comic strip.

Meanwhile …

Annie may be convinced the sun’ll come out tomorrow, but around here, we’ve been “stuck with a day that’s gray and lonely” so many times in a row that I finally gave up and shucked out 30 bucks for some fake sunshine today in the form of a light therapy lamp.

lightbox

We’ll see if it helps. It’s certainly bright. Rainy, misty days are kind of pretty, but too many of them in a row tend to drain my energy and leave me feeling pretty rough around the edges. About all I can say for this winter is that it hasn’t been too icy. After last winter, that’s a huge blessing, but I still could use a little more sunshine.

Ah, well. One way or the other, the sun’ll come out Feb. 19, because that’s the day the Phillies have their first spring training workout. I love ya, spring training. You’re only 57 days away.

In unrelated news, I finally got a hand free to take my guitar to Shivelbine’s and have the action lowered, which it desperately needed. It’s much easier to play now. The guy who worked on it was super nice and didn’t even charge me for it.

They had a 12-string Alvarez for sale. Don’t think I didn’t think about it. The main thing holding me back is laziness: I don’t like replacing strings on the guitar I have. I don’t even want to think about replacing twice as many. o_O

Emily