Three cold facts occurred to me as I started to prepare a pot of oatmeal for breakfast this morning. First, Halloween has now come and gone. Second, Daylight Savings Time ends tonight. Third, for the first time since February I was wearing a flannel shirt and cooking oatmeal in Los Angeles. Taken together, these facts point to a single grim conclusion. That's right, dear friends – once more unto the breach, for another holiday season is nearly upon us!
For many years, the specter of the approaching holiday season filled me with panic and fear. There was always so much to do, so little time, and a mountain of expectations I knew I could never meet. None of that has changed very much, unfortunately, but for the past 15 years or so I've prepared myself for the coming onslaught each year by putting together a unique mix of seasonal tunes and aural ephemera to share with family and friends as my own holiday greeting card. True, this adds yet another item to my annual holiday "to do" list, but crafting each new mix brings back a flood of happy holiday memories and helps to put things in better perspective. In recent years, I've taken to posting my mixes online at Mark's Holiday Mix CDs. I use this blog to provide additional information about the contents of my latest mixes, and to offer some occasional thoughts about holiday music in general. There's a growing community of holiday music enthusiasts on the web, and I'm grateful to them for sharing not only their knowledge but also their holiday spirit with the rest of us.
My 2014 holiday mix is well over half-way finished, and my goal is to once again share it with everyone beginning on Thanksgiving Day, November 27. I'll probably post a few random thoughts between now and then, so check back whenever you'd like. Beginning on Black Friday, November 28, I'll start posting background information and stories about each of individual tracks on this year's CD.
To help launch the coming 2014 Christmas season, here's a clip of a venerable tune that's always brightened my spirits – the Boston Pops Orchestra's version of "Sleigh Ride," which sounds just as cheery in the California sunshine as it does on a snowy New England afternoon. Back soon with more.