There’s always discussion about when it is “acceptable” to crack open the first holiday CD and officially ring in the festivities of the season. Every family has their own traditions, but at our house, there was no Christmas music played on the piano or the stereo, sung or hummed, until after the Thanksgiving turkey was sliced and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade was finished!
My folks worked hard to provide the meager things we had, and family time was always very important. Mother began preparing Thanksgiving dinner days ahead of time with homemade pies and cakes, stuffing, basted turkey and all of the trimmings. The aromas that came from the kitchen would have our mouths watering, eagerly awaiting the Thanksgiving feast that was to come.
On Thanksgiving Day, as the final preparations were completed, we would sit in front of the television, an old black and white console, and watch each of the floats going by. We were waiting with great anticipation for the final one, the one with Santa Claus on it. We knew that meant that Christmas had arrived! Once the parade was done, I could go to the stereo and put a stack of records on two inches thick! Elvis, Brenda Lee, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Carpenters, you name it… but never before Santa came to end the parade!
During this time of traditions and family time – we remember fondly so many things that we no longer do. Each Thanksgiving evening, my father would load us into the car and we would drive to South Main Street in Akron, Ohio, and walk around looking in the Polsky’s and O’Neil’s department store windows at the animated Christmas displays. They always had magical fairy tale and nursery rhyme displays with moving parts, trains, elves, all while Christmas carols were piped out onto the sidewalk. If, by chance, there was snow on Thanksgiving Day, it made it all the better.
Looking back I see that music was always such a big part of every holiday. It defined our celebrations not only at church, but also at home. My memories always correlate with records I was playing or songs I remember being on the radio at the time. Gian Carlo Menotti said that, “Music is… a form of remembering, a return to the seasons of the heart long gone.”
Whatever your traditions are during this time of Thanksgiving, everyone at J.W. Pepper hopes you will remember fondly those things that bring a memory to mind and a smile to your face. When you watch the parade this year and finally see Santa, remember – I’m somewhere, smiling, listening to my first holiday CD of the year!