Of course, looking back over the years, I haven't always needed my family to have an all out Christmas carol marathon. I remember one year I found a thick book of Christmas music and sat on my bed singing solos until my voice was hoarse. My sister shared a room with me and was not thrilled. ...But singing these well beloved Christmas songs is addicting!
I went to the library last week with one main purpose: to find the book A Treasury Of Christmas Songs: Twenty-five Favorites To Sing And Play put out by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I checked it out for the first time last year and fell in love. It is visually appealing, contains the actual music, and includes multiple verses for all the songs. While the collection is made up of both secular and sacred music, most of my favorites are in there. I renewed the book as many times as I could last year and had it for the full six weeks allowed -- covering the entire Christmas season.
I almost felt guilty for keeping this treasure just for my family last year, so I gave the rest of my community a head start this year. At least, I can try to claim benevolence; I was kept away from the library for multiple reasons. So, last Wednesday, with only eight days until Christmas, I hardly expected this perfect combination of music and art to still be on the shelf. It was!
Two other Christmas books joined my collection in our hurried library visit, and I was only half surprised when I realized they were all music books. One, my daughter's favorite, is a pop-up book called Ding Dong! Merrily on High (A Pop-up Book of Christmas Carols) by Francesca Crespi. There are five songs with interactive pages that awed my daughter. Her mouth went agape when a brilliantly colored star appeared in the night sky, and managed "Ah" before saying excitedly, "That is cool!"
The last book was more for me. Silent Night: The Song and Its Story is written by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Tim Ladwig. The beautiful illustrations kept my daughter's attention for a short time and mine from cover to cover. I continued to read while Anna played around me. The song's story includes a telling of the biblical account of Jesus' birth. The book was worth it for that page alone, but the story finished by showing how much "Silent Night" has meant to people around the world throughout its history -- particularly soldiers dealing with the brutality of war.
So, I am very pleased with the music in our house this Christmas season. It gives me so much joy to hear my 2 1/2 year old try her best to sing with us or break out in song on her own as we go about our day.