Christmas music for the generations

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Simply reading the words makes Bing Crosby’s crooning voice pop into your head, doesn’t it? You’re not alone. Christmas music binds us together the way very few, if any, other musical genres do, crossing generations and transcending economic, cultural & political differences. Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” arguably the most beloved holiday song of all time, sounds exactly the same to our children as it did when our parents or grandparents listened to it in the 1940’s on the Armed Forces Network. Today you may hear it on Pandora or XM or your iPod, but no matter who you are, it is impossible not to sing along.

Christmas music evokes childhood memories of Christmas morning, family celebrations, elaborate meals, and magical stories of a baby in a manger inexplicably tied to a jolly old man at the North Pole. And while we all have different experiences and memories, the music brings us all together in joy and celebration. When the Christmas tree lights go on and the snowflakes start to fall, we start to sing. We can’t help it.

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
With every Christmas card I write.
May your days be merry and bright,
And may all your Christmases be white.”

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Choosing your perfect Christmas card

Family PictureI’m seriously excited. I just got a glimpse of the photos I hope to use on my family’s Christmas card, taken by my friend and colleague Michelle. I was worried the photos wouldn’t turn out, but she did such a wonderful job that now I am going to have a hard time deciding which one to use. And I was already conflicted about which card design to choose! There are so many holiday card ideas out there. Where to start?

Some people select the design and then try to take a photo that complements the design. If you are like me and are photographically challenged, you can’t even think about the design until you have a photo that is actually in focus and everyone is smiling (minimum requirements). This year, for the first time ever, I am actually considering a photo of our whole family, instead of just the kids.

Once I have the photo, I just go with my instinct on the design. I choose a few I like and put the photo in each one to see what it looks like, changing colors to match the photo if that’s an option. I always have fun tinkering with the text in the card, too. This year, I came up with the idea to use the lyrics to a Christmas song in my card, but I am also thinking about ways to incorporate my family’s culture in the text somehow. I don’t know which idea will be the winner. In the end, what really makes a photo Christmas card the perfect card is that it is a reflection of me and my family. My card will not look like anyone else’s, and that is what makes it perfect to me.

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