Merry Christmas, Baby: Behind the Music

I thought I’d celebrate the most nostalgic time of the year by sharing a little snapshot of one of my favorite moments from Christmas past.

It’s October of 2000. I’m a freshman in college, and riding high on my heady new identity as a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’04. I’m especially triumphant today; I’ve survived six weeks of college-hood and aced my first round of exams. Even more importantly, I’ve just taken the first steps to extract myself from a romantic relationship that has run its course, and it’s like a weight lifting from my shoulders.  I have plans to go home for the weekend to attend a homecoming game and meet up with some old friends, and I’m looking forward to being the New Me in my old stomping grounds.

It’s a Friday afternoon, and it’s the first really cold day of the fall. I’m feeling totes cute in my dark green corduroy pants with my new Aggie t-shirt layered over maroon long sleeves. I finish my important business around campus, pack up my Jeep Cherokee, and hit the road.

The windows are so cold they’re foggy.
I’m pushing the speed limit as I drive down the back roads.
I turn on Snowed In and crank up the volume, and the upbeat, playful, strains of Christmas music give voice to my own excitement and exuberance.

This loud, cold drive away from Aggieland has crystalized in my memory as one of the most joyful, optimistic moments of my life, a time when I felt brimming with confidence and hope for whatever the future would bring.

Every year since, when the air bites with cold for the first time, I kick off the Christmas music season by listening to Snowed In. And when I hear those first few notes from Taylor’s magical keyboard, I’m eighteen again, speeding down a narrow road in my cords and college tee, heart overflowing with joy and hope and expectation.

It’s my favorite way to begin my Christmas season, even if it doesn’t take me long to come back to being thirty-four and actually more at home with the Piano Guys and Wee Sing for Christmas.

Happy Holidays, friends, from me and my optimistic ghost of Christmas past. Hoping the memories that fill your mind this season are the ones that make your heart smile.

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