Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells


Every time I go to the grocery store and hear the jingle of the bells of the bell ringer for the Salvation Army, I feel like it is truly that time of year: Christmas. Christmas has always been the most special holiday that I celebrate. I taught Public School Music for 18 years, and only wish I had a nickel for every Christmas pageant that I have presented. I could put wings on an angel in a heartbeat; a new fluffy beard on a robust Santa; and find three bathrobes to fit all three of the adorable child shepherds, at the very last moment, before the curtain went up. It was what we did back in the 50s, 60s and a portion of the 70s.

We never stopped to think whether it was politically correct; we just knew that we had to have a Christmas pageant like the music teachers many years before us, had done. I really don’t know how teachers of today handle all of the pressures that are put upon them with so many people critiquing every move that is made. The whole purpose of the Christmas pageant back then was to make sure that every child had a part in it and was on the stage at least five minutes so the parents could get a quick picture of them for their grandma and grandpa. The fact that it was a pageant following a Biblical passage was never even mentioned. It was what had been done ‘ever since Columbus came over on whatever he came over on.

Every child knew the words and music to all of the beautiful Christmas carols. Remember the soldiers singing “Silent Night” with Bing Crosby in the “White Christmas” movie? Nearly every American boy and girl knew that carol for sure. By the late 70’s we were adding cutesy songs like “I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Claus,” “Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer,” and many more. The Biblical part of the pageant was fading into history in most Christmas pageants and sadly, all of the carols became tunes of the past, as well.

Nowadays, it would be hard to have a singalong with teenagers and people born even in the 60s. Have you noticed that most of the pro-football players can’t even mouth the words of the Star Spangled Banner? In fact, most of the celebrities that they get to sing it don’t know the tune either. It is a beautiful song that needs no improvisation.

With all of this said, I notice that “they” still play Christmas music over the intercom everywhere I shop. Wonder when this will become passé? Never, I hope.
Seeing the beautiful projects that Bonnie DiCarlo (pictured right) exhibited at the Ocean Wave Quilters Guild meeting the second Friday of Nov. at the Players Community Center at 10:00 made me know that she has been doing her Christmas sewing for several weeks already. The project that she is showing in the picture is an adorable tote bag that she has just finished using faux leather, called “pleather.” Bonnie teaches many sewing classes at Paula’s Fine Fabrics on Baymeadows Rd. She is truly an inspiration.

Sewing for Christmas has always been a big thing with me. Now that we sew so much for the Hospice program, I love sewing with some of the beautiful Christmas fabrics. If you haven’t seen the Christmas-themed fleeces that they have now, you are missing a rare treat. Too bad it is so warm here in Florida right now... But think: in January and February and a good warm fleece throw will feel really good on a chilly night. Two layers of fleece sewn right sides together leaving an 8” opening to flip and turn, will make a great Christmas gift for anyone in your family.
Try it!