Christmas Carols

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By Chef Ed Dychauco

Pots and Pans

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WE start to hear Yuletide songs over the radio once the ‘ber’ months set in.

As early as September, one can hear a few being played in a day and becomes more evident in November and December.

How does it feel to listen to these very much-loved ‘old-fashion’ carols year after year?

For me, it is a welcome respite to my everyday chaos and activities.

It kind of brings back a lot of unforgettable childhood recollections and memories.

We had real natural Pine trees almost every year which releases a very nice scent all over the living room.

It doesn’t even have to be conical in shape at times.

Plastic artificial trees were unheard of, although we sure do have those shining, silver, shimmering artificial trees which is getting popular again after years of hibernation.

Decorations include very fragile and breakable but very pretty Christmas balls of assorted sizes and shapes that glitter when hit by the heavy duty colorful Christmas lights that sparkle and shine to the delight of everyone.

Garlands were made of breakable tiny glass-like beads that are extremely fragile.

And because they are delicate, we tend to lose them year after year until it was time to buy new ones again.

The thrill of putting up a Christmas tree with Christmas songs being played in the background, plus the cool weather surely brings joy and happiness to each and everyone in the family.

It was always a pride to position the top decoration, customarily a shining star which we would let either the youngest or the oldest family member to do the honors.

And to simulate ‘snow,’ we would have cottons placed all over the tree!
The Christmas tree becomes the center of every household where real and ‘fake’ gift-wrapped items and ribbon gifts are displayed at the base.
As Catholics, a nativity set or ‘Belen’ would be prominently displayed underneath the tree or a well-decorated table, since that is the real essence of Christmas … putting ‘Christ’ in Christmas!

Christmas songs that are dear to me and my family would include the long-playing albums of Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Ray Conniff, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, and, of course, our own limited Tagalog and Visayan Christmas tunes then.

Long-playing record? Surprised? Well, that’s what we use to have.
And I surely think a lot of us would feel nostalgic about this.
Eventually, it graduated to the cassette tapes.

Old carols that evoke sentimental and wistful feelings include Silent Night, O Holy Night, Jingle Bells, O Come O Ye Faithful, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Whispering Hope; Joy To The World, Christmas Song, White Christmas, Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy; Winter Wonderland, The First Noel, God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen, Christmas Alphabet, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and Merry Christmas Polka.
Other old traditional hymns which we continue to sing and hum include The 12 Days Of Christmas, It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, Deck The Halls; I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock; We Wish You A Merry Christmas, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, O Christmas Tree, Blue Christmas; O Come O Ye Faithful, Do You Hear What I Hear, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, The First Noel and many, many more.

I have my own favorites, which means, there are melodies that I love listening to as sang by specific artists.

Say, for example, The Christmas Song. The version of Nat King Cole is the one I like while The 12 Days of Christmas done by Ray Conniff is the best.

Other tunes are Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley, White Christmas by Bing Crosby, Winter Wonderland by Johnny Mathis, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year by Andy Williams, and many more.

In the more recent years, it has to be Jackson 5 and The Carpenters, while locally we have the danceable Pamasko Medley (Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit, Pasko Na Naman, Kampana Ng Simbahan, Halina, Halina, etc.) which is truly celebratory and joyful complete with church bells ringing.

Our Visayan version Kasadya Ning Taknaa and Ania Kami warms our hearts.
Who can forget Jose Marie Chan’s Christmas album that features “Christmas in our Hearts” years ago which continues to be a hit until now?

The list can go on and on but I always have this passion and infatuation for the “older” versions of the songs, not necessarily originals because as the songs are being revived, it somehow loses that magical touch.

I, for one, don’t like much “screaming” which is quite rather annoying. Be it Christmas or other songs in general!

We are even luckier because we get to listen to music from all over the world, plus our very own. There is just so much to choose from.

I find it funny and amusing but cute when kids sing “Joy to the world ... and never let you sing, and never let you sing (instead of heaven and nature sing).”

But hey, that is why they are called kids!

I believe the most popular Christmas song is still “Jingle Bells” among Pinoys, just listen to the kids (again!).

Sometimes I wish it is Christmas all year round, although I can definitely listen to Christmas songs in my own little room and feel wonderful and happy every day!

What about you? What’s your favorite Christmas tune and what does it reminds you of?



Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 19, 2013.


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