Monday, July 25, 2011

Christmas in July and Rudolph Day: Guest Post with Kathleen Hamilton

Please join me on this very special Rudolph Day in welcoming Kathleen Hamilton, who has written about her addiction to Christmas.  What better way to celebrate Christmas in July and Rudolph Day than with a fellow Christmas addict!

A Christmas Addict (or You Can Never Have Too Much Christmas Music or Movies)
By Kathleen Hamilton

OK, I admit it: I AM A CHRISTMAS ADDICT! There, I said it and yet it sounds bad, but that is my one passion. So what if my family thinks I need a 12 Step-Plan. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christmas! Why? I can’t really put my finger on the reason. It could be because it is such a magical time. Or perhaps it is because of my fond memories of Christmas growing up. Or because I am still a kid at heart! Whatever the reason, I hereby acknowledge that I am a Christmas addict!

I collect it all: trees, ornaments old and new, Santas, decorations…. At last count, I had over 30 of the large plastic crates in the garage. I don’t use it all every year, and some I have never used (just waiting for the right tree, year, theme….). When I look at my collections, I can’t overlook the movies and music. But why those two particular areas, you may wonder. Sometimes I wonder as well.

I always looked forward to the Christmas season when I was young. Starting with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Christmas season was officially on. We only had three channels on the TV and the Rudolph, Frosty and Peanuts specials were really exciting for kids! Lots of variety show specials:  Bob Hope, Perry Como, and others. There was an occasional movie on TV about Christmas, but I didn’t see many as a young child. Now I collect just about every Christmas movie out there! At last count, I had 164 Christmas specials and movies in my collection. There is nothing wrong with it-I can watch Christmas any time I want! I would watch every day if I could! My favorites are White Christmas and the original Miracle on 34th Street (although I do watch the colorized version of it). Dear Hubby tolerates my collection and doesn’t say anything as my pile grows and grows!


He tends to frown at my music collection though. I have been an elementary music teacher for several years. During this time, I was always looking for varieties of good music, not just for Christmas, but to enhance learning for my students as well. During these years, I ran across a plethora of music from around the world. I became fascinated with Christmas music from all over-various genres, artists, instruments-you name it! iTunes became a wonderful place to search, as well as Amazon, Goodwill stores, garage sales and even my students. I uploaded, downloaded, re-loaded everything I could find.  It wasn’t long before this passion started filling up my computer!

This love and fascination with music started when I was an elementary student. My parent’s home was equipped with a “sound system”, which was pretty modern for 50 years ago. There were speakers in every room, and you could use the intercom to talk from room to room. It played AM, FM and records. There were no tapes, cassettes, CDs or MP3s back them! They always had a stack of record albums on the turntable. They listened to many genres of music and I learned to like them as well. Big Band, Mitch Miller, Hawaiian music, and of course Christmas music was always drifting from those speakers all over the house.

My favorite Christmas memory as a child/teen is sitting in the living room, in the dark, with only the lights from the color wheel shining on the aluminum Christmas tree and its red balls. I would be in a trance for hours as I watched and listened to Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinantra, and many more. By the time the stack had finished playing, I would be in another place and time: dreaming of Santa and the North Pole. Even in High school this tradition continued.

After I married, I kept buying a new record each year. With the birth of our children, Disney records soon entered our home with sounds and stories of Christmas. Before long, vinyl record albums were history and we moved from vinyl to cassette tapes. I only had about 12 Christmas tapes, which just filled a small portable carrying case. It was under control. No addiction in sight. I still used my albums, which I kept for a long time until I didn’t have anything to play them on. (Kicking myself now!)

With the advent of CDs, I started collecting LONG before I even had a CD player! I started out with a set of 3 cds with various artists and great songs. Fourteen years ago, my life turned upside down when we moved and my youngest went off to college. I became “homesick” for lack of a better word. I slowly began adding decorations, trees, and albums. My once manageable Christmas decorations now suddenly exploded. Dear Hubby had to climb up into the attic every year and retreive a dozen boxes.  My parents had started my collection of International Santas (from Dillards) and every year they came out with new ones. My collection soon became overwhelming. A little notebook was necessary to keep track of all 30 of the crates, trees and big decorations.


As the amount of STUFF increased, so did my music collection. Each year I always found 3 or 4 new albums and several of them were CDs of records or cassettes I remembered growing up. I found that iTUNES and I were good friends. Today I find MANY new albums, even old ones that I just must add to my collection. Don’t let it get away- you will regret it- became my motto. So I bought, and bought, and bought some more. I didn’t even know what all I had.

As I catalog all of my Christmas music, I have found that I have indeed purchased an album twice. I always make a copy of the cd and a copy of the download. I back up my computer every week with my CLIKFREE backup. Since I have had two computer crashes, I can use my CLIKFREE to transfer all of my music back to the new computer. If you don’t have a CLIKFREE or some other backup system, I strongly suggest you get one!

I digress-I knew I had a lot of albums on iTUNES. In trying to catalog them, I found I had well over 350 albums and partial albums. I pulled all the albums out and they filled a laundry basket! It appears now that I have nearly 3600 songs that if played continuously, would last for over 8 days. My family just about went crazy when I casually mentioned that I had 156 versions of Silent Night that could play for over 9 and ½ hours. You can’t have too many versions of Jingle Bells (68 versions)! There are very few songs I won’t have on my iTUNES. Can you guess? One has to do with Grandma….

Over 350 albums or partial albums are a part of my collection. At this point, I don’t plan to stop collecting, but I am looking for very special albums-not just everything I find. Anyone have the Monkees Christmas album?

Wow, Kathleen...and I thought I was a Christmas fanatic! Thank you so much for sharing your addiction with us.  It's always nice to meet someone who is as addicted as I am. =O)


About Kathleen:


Kathleen Hamilton-true Texas gal
Recently retired teacher, farm wife (who doesn't have a green thumb anywhere!)
Mother of 2, grandmother to 4 
Dog lover (5 dogs)
Love to listen to music (obviously), read Christmas books, make Christmas ornaments and other decorations.
BIG time scrapbooker.


5 comments:

  1. It's always nice to know I'm not alone in my addiction to all things Christmas.

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  2. Hey Kat...love the blog, first time I have been here. You know you are in great company at Christmas to the Max. Can't wait to meet you !
    Karen

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  3. One thing you forgot to mention - as a little girl your friends told you one day "There is no Santa." That was the summer you went to the North Pole and met the REAL Santa and Mrs. Santa and all the reindeer as well as the elves in the workshop. You were about ten or so. You suddenly became convinced there is and always will be a Santa who spreads the spirit of Christmas - love, peace, joy, and goodwill. You will carry that with you for a lifetime. Christmas was changed forever for you after that and will always remain your center of focus. And so it should be for all!

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  4. Well written description of wonderful memories long past that led to a lifetime love of Christmas and it's meaning!

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  5. I just found your Blog, a friend in California just e-mailed me about your site.

    I feel like I am home - I am everything Christmas - all year.

    Hugs

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