I didn't know until recently that the twelve days of Christmas were supposed to take place after Christmas (we Baptists aren't really into Epiphany, so it never registered). If they were before Christmas, today would be the first day, partridge-in-a-pear-tree day.
I pretend to be surprised that it's almost halfway through December, but it's not really true. I was dying for December this year. I bought Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving--no mean feat, as I am absurdly picky about my Christmas cards--and I've been plugging away at a list of Christmas movies for Cinema Hype. I don't decorate much for Christmas and I just can't be bothered with a tree, but I'm definitely working on the mindset.
My brother likes to proclaim Christmas by listening to Amy Grant's Christmas album over breakfast (don't mock; it's a family favorite, and it rules). I always start with this record my parents have from 1966, "The Great Songs of Christmas," Vol 6. We listened to it every year until the record player stopped working, and now Ben and I are trying to re-create it on iTunes. My incomplete digital version starts with Andy Williams's rendition of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and it's such a satisfying way to kick off the season--his voice is deep and smooth, and the song just gets better and better as it goes on ("SAID THE KING TO THE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE..."). I love it. The rest of the album varies between the fairly normal (Nat King Cole, Barbra Streisand) and some stuff that I guarantee iTunes will never have as long as they claim to be cool (The New Christie Minstrels, Jan Peerce [ChristthenewbornkingNoEL!]). I like a lot of different kinds of Christmas music, but there's a right way for me to begin the season, and Andy Williams is it.
Once the music's playing, The Sound comes out. If you've ever spent any time with my family at all during December, you know where I'm going with this. I believe the whole thing started with Ramona Quimby, actually; in Ramona and her Father, Ramona makes up a "joyful noise" to express her excitement about Christmas. As a kid, I thought this was a pretty good idea, because I was pretty excited about Christmas, myself. Thus: EEEEEEE! It's loud, it's high-pitched, and I'm sure it's obnoxious, but it's what we do, and we do it more and more as Christmas approaches. It's our joyful noise.
Oh, Christmas. Welcome.