December 21, 2012

Hear Christmas Bells

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how Christmas lights warm my heart. But sight is not the only sense that Christmas evokes in me. I also love the sounds of Christmas. It is not so much that I just love Christmas carols or Christmas songs, but there are some sounds that definitely make me feel Christmas is here.

The first sound is that of the clicking of Christmas lights. I love to hear my family and neighbors pulling out their Christmas lights for decorating. Whenever I hear the sound of little lights clanking against each other, I know that the season is upon me. I also know that where Christmas lights are, so come Christmas tree decorations.

In my family, we decorate our trees not in theme or color, but with the beauty of ornaments with sentimental value. Some of these are homemade ornaments; some are those we purchased on vacations, and some others were gifts from loved ones. These lead to another favorite sound of Christmas: putting ornaments on the tree. The way that the hooks and ribbon loops sound as they slide over the branches of the tree might be screeching and cringing to many, but I find comfort in this scrape. For me, the sound of ornaments running over tree branches brings back years of memories with my family.

I also cannot deny, as I’m sure no one can, that the sound of Christmas carols and other songs certainly evokes emotions in me as well. For the most part, I neither like nor dislike Christmas music; however, a few songs always warm my soul. The first of these is “Silent Night.” The simplicity of the melody along with the clarity of the lyrics just appeals to me. “O Holy Night” has the same effect on me. They remind me of my youth, going to midnight mass with my family. Though I may no longer go to mass with my family, I treasure these Christmas memories.

Of course, I also love “Jingle Bells,” “Joy to the World,” “Santa Baby,” and “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” All these contemporary and more secular songs bring a smile to my face as well. I can’t say that I sit and listen to Christmas music, but I also don’t begrudge stores and elevators and other such places when they play Christmas music.

And while I’m on Christmas carols and songs, who could deny the beauty of Christmas bells chiming? Whether they play Christmas music or simply chime as the clapper strikes the walls, I know I can’t deny the beauty of this sound.

My final favorite sound of Christmas is the sound of drinks pouring. Whether these are libations or simply juice, I love the sound of the ice clanking against the glasses and then the waterfall of liquid tresses falling over the cubes. Then there are the toasts and discussions that happen while sipping on our drink of choice. For some that might be wassail, eggnog, soda, cranberry juice, or simply water while others might enjoy champagne, wine, whisky, beer, or their cocktail of choice. Regardless of what one drinks during the celebratory season, the sounds of the liquid and glass and words that circulate around them mean that fun is in the works.

Many holidays bring sounds specific to their celebrations. Something about the sounds of this holiday season really excites me. I can’t claim that I love how Christmas is evolving, but the traditions, like the sights and sounds, both bring me great hope in the future of this holiday. For my own Christmases, I know I will continue to look forward to these holiday sounds…and many more!

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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