Along about September, I begin humming Christmas tunes. They come automatically, even though the thermometer might be topping 80 and the stores are filling with Halloween candy.
I like Christmas music, all sorts: the hymns, the carols, the standards, the novelty numbers. The good ones, the really bad ones. It doesn't matter. If it's about Christmas, I'll listen. Even those stupid dogs barking Jingle Bells. ("You know, deck them halls and all that stuff.")
What's not to like about Silent Night, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and The 12 Days of Christmas? How can you not be carried away by the soothing voices of Nat King Cole and Gene Autry, Burl Ives and Eartha Kitt, church choirs and the Chipmunks?
Put that music on the radio, and I'll listen. Make it a prominent part of the church pageant or the school play. Splash it across a holiday movie. Pipe it from the loudspeakers. It doesn't take much to get me into the mood.
Perhaps once each holiday season, if I listen carefully enough, I will catch the rarely played opening to Bing Crosby's White Christmas: "The sun is shining. The grass is green. The orange and palm trees sway. There's never been such a day in Beverly Hills, L.A. But it's December the twenty-fourth, and I'm longing to be up north."
The music is just a part of the entire Christmas season, an appetizer for what is to come. It tells me to look forward to Scrooge as he undergoes his enlightenment, tinsel and candy canes just around the corner, trees in our houses ranging from Charlie Brownish to stately.
We can look forward to, or dread, shopping on the day after Thanksgiving (which I've never attempted) or at the very last minute (which I've always done). We can be sure of reading the annual calculation of the cost of four calling birds, three French hens and the rest. Even in our clime, we know that Frosty will come to life and that sunshine will bring him down.
There will be jingle bells and sleigh bells and church bells and The Miracle of the Bells. We might be tempted to have chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but beware: They tend to explode and pop out onto the carpet.
We will definitely find expressions we never hear the rest of the year: They were sore afraid; great with child; good tidings; swaddling clothes; away in a manger; heavenly hosts; myrrh and frankincense; and on Earth peace, good will toward men.
The movies help make the season: Miracle on 34th Street (the 1947 version); It's a Wonderful Life; Christmas in Connecticut; A Christmas Carol; Christmas Vacation; A Christmas Story ("You'll shoot your eye out!").
And we can't forget A Visit from St. Nicholas, the poem that still captures the magic of the gift-giving season for children young and old.
Did I forget anything? Snow? Let's hope so. Gift returns? Let's hope not. Eggnog and figgy pudding (whatever that is). Christmas cards and stamps and sweaters. Not quite enough wrapping paper to cover the package, but more than enough to litter the floor Christmas morning. Holly and mistletoe. Poinsettias and fruitcakes. Too many parties and way too many calories. Nativity scenes and frost. Bell-ringers and greetings. Reindeer and ho, ho, ho. Getting up early. Giving and receiving.
To me, there's nothing better than Christmas. I wish it lasted all year long. That's why I start celebrating in September.
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.