• jtbelangela

My Holiday "Ah-ha" Moment

I have an announcement to make! The Christmas season has officially begun! I know what you’re thinking . . . I’ve lost mind. And while you might not be wrong about that, hear me out. I realize that the stores have had their Christmas stuff out since October, and if you read my blogs on a regular basis, you know how I feel about that. This isn’t about decorations or holiday shopping, or even holiday parties--what I’m talking about is that one special moment each December that sneaks up on you and makes you go, yeah, it’s Christmas. That holiday “ah-ha” moment is different for everyone. For some it might be the yearly get-together with your college pals, for someone else it might not be Christmas until Aunt Marie brings over her homemade spritz cookies. In the last two weeks, I’ve been struggling with experiencing my holiday ah-ha moment, and that’s despite the shopping, two really great Christmas parties and one wine-laden lunch with some dear former co-workers. I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t even get that moment this year. Fear not, I did. My holiday moment took me by complete surprise and it was nothing short of magical. If you’re in New England you are brutally aware of the polar vortex that’s taken over in the last few days. This morning I went out to warm up the car and as I sat there giving thanks for the person who invented heated seats, I had my moment while listening to the radio. It came courtesy of the haunting voice of Dan Fogelberg and his classic, “Same Old Lang Syne.”

Dan Fogelberg was before my time, but my mother and my aunts adored him. His music (along with that of John Denver, Helen Reddy and Linda Ronstadt) could be found wafting through our home as my mother cooked dinner. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties when I had loved and lost more times than I care to say that “Same Old Lang Syne” struck a chord with me. It was holiday time and I had experienced what Dan did in that classic tune. As I sat in the driver’s seat of my Dodge Shadow convertible crying over a chance encounter with a lost love, for the first time in my life I really listened to lyrics and found a kindred spirit in Dan. Who can’t relate to what he felt seeing that woman in the grocery store? I have no idea if that really happened, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. Dan perfectly captured the heart-pulling experience of running into the one who got away, and I guess knowing that someone else had been where I was made me feel a little bit better.

There are tons of great Christmas songs out there both classic and modern. As with all music, you choose what you want to hear based on certain criteria. If you’re throwing a raucous holiday bash, there’s a certain playlist you cue up. You use a different one for an elegant holiday dinner. Life (and holidays) can sometimes be bittersweet. That’s just the way it is, we’ve all been there and we all get through it. When I hear Dan’s timeless, haunting voice I’m transported to a snowy Christmas Eve letting my emotions flow and watching the snow turn into rain. I know what that feels like, and thankfully, Dan did too. Godspeed, Dan. Frosty and Rudolph are great, but they don’t understand me like you do.

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