Back on this post, Nate Winchester commented that it's funny what kids sometimes remember from their parents. He's right.
For example, as many of you know, we've always tried to build traditions in our family. Many were based on what memories my wife and I could scrape together from our younger days. Some just happened and grew over the years. Some were things we would do for this or that reason without thinking, but suddenly took on special meaning - at least for the boys.
So when my wife and I lived in Kentucky, we would visit my family for Thanksgiving since they were closest. Because we wouldn't be back over Christmas (after the first couple years, we stayed to our own home on Christmas), we would inject any Christmas tradition we remembered from times with my parents and family.
One was always listening to Christmas music on Thanksgiving. That was part of my mom saying she would never, ever decorate for Christmas or even acknowledge Christmas until Thanksgiving. When my dad received a CD of the Carpenter's wonderful A Christmas Portrait album, we started playing that while we vested them. We used to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade when the boys came along. After it was over, we would turn on the music. As often as not, it was the Carpenters.
One year, when the boys were still young to early teen, we were still going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. We went through the same old same olds. For whatever reason I put some other CD in and hit play after the parade. FOUL!, my sons cried. That's not the right CD! It's the Carpenters we play first!
They were serious. My second oldest then explained that I didn't understand. He said in their minds, hearing those first notes of Happy Holidays by the Carpenters is as much the kickoff to Christmas in their minds as Santa in the parade or Black Friday news. As soon as those chords are struck, in an almost Pavlovian way, they begin getting giddy over the great season of their year. They said as long as they live, when they hear those chords, they will think of our Thanksgivings and the beginning of Christmas with the family.
I loved that. Over the years, I've learned there are other things they associate with special times of the year, even now. Sure, it's more a formality now. As they boys traverse their own paths in life, I'm sure they'll develop their own traditions. Or at least I hope they will. But I've always cherished that moment when my boys reminded me that many things I took for granted were quite important to them. Important because they combined the feeling of the season with what our family did to celebrate.
So with that, enjoy the sounds that, for my boys, were the the sounds that said Christmastime is here!