December is an album by pianist George Winston. It is my favorite Christmas music. Winston recorded it in the fall of 1982. That was quite a year for me/us. I had just finished “upgrading” our home in Conifer, Colorado – to a fully modern one. Moreover, my wife had became pregnant with my first (her third) and only child in the winter of ’83.
Maybe, that’s why the album is so special to me? Ever since then, forty years ago – it has been linked (in my mind) with snow, Christmas, and hope. It’s snowing here, now and I’m playing December on Spotify, via a new smart TV. How strange is all of that?
The Thanksgiving just past we gathered together at her (now ex-wife) place in Denver for the first time in many, many years. My son is thirty-nine. He’s doing well, thank you. Lives in LA, of all places. He came out for a quick visit because of the holiday break. And this year the day of thanks fell on my birthday. It, the 24th of November, is also the day of “contentious conviviality”. That according to Gary Goldschneider, if you’re into that kind of thing. I am. It sure rings true for me. His book, the Secret Language of Birthdays, is pretty amazing. It was a bestseller at my bookstore.
are many and long lasting. I’ve got a Spotify playlist of my favorites. Some of which are:
- Carol of the bells
- Hark! the herald angels sing
- The Christmas song
- We three kings
- God rest ye merry gentleman
- Good king Wenceslas
What are your favorites?
Is there a special attachment to them?
Which version do you like best?
Carol of the Bells is on December, which begins with Thanksgiving, a Winston original. Mostly the arrangements on the album are melancholy, sad. But they bring me peace, and happiness. That seems strange.
the giving and receiving of them doesn’t do much for me. In fact, I’ve almost an aversion to the practice. I’m not sure why? But, it has the feel of bribery and manipulation. There’s also a sense of guilt and obligation. I’m not big on cards, either. In addition, I’m really not a fan of the “Christmas letter”, sent out in mass to friends and family. Again, I can’t find a specific reason embedded in my past. Maybe it’s just my nature?
The dislike of those traditions surely cause me some problems with relations. After all, GIFT GIVING is one of the five love languages, according to best selling author Gary Chapman. Along with:
- Acts of service to others
- Words of affirmation
- Physical touch
- Quality time
I’m into quality time and touch. Which both are, it seems like, in decline in today’s world.
How do you feel about gift giving?
Do you have a go-to paramount language?
Happy holidays and merry Christmas all you gentlemen and gentle ladies.
7 thoughts on “December Music”
Thanks for the introduction. I’d never heard of Winston but I just checked out ‘Thanksgiving’. Truly beautiful. I will find some time to listen to the full album soon.
My favourite Christmas song, one of very few I enjoy, being a not very festive person, is ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues.
Thanks for that. ‘Fairytale of New York’ is certainly not festive. I watched the video version, which ads a lot to the ‘story’. Winston’s ‘December’ is all solo piano, no vocals, no pictures. I wouldn’t call it festive, for sure. Just mood, and quiet. Like softly falling snow in the dark, a cabin in the woods, with a candle in the window. Maybe.
In some ways, blogging is like ‘The Christmas Letter’. But it goes out also to strangers, who can respond. Also, in some ways, it’s a gift; but more like the Secret Santa thingy. Oh well – what a strange new world we’ve created.
I’m glad for the old songs that hang around, year after year, generation after generation.
Ha! I think I’ve been a fan of George Winston as long as you have! My mom was a music teacher, and she taught me to play piano at an early age (I can’t remember not knowing how to play), so a guy like Winston just blows me away. Got all his albums, and December gets played a lot this time of year. Wonderful album!
(Friend of mine saw him in concert. Apparently, he comes out in jeans and bare feet. Or at least he did the time she saw him.)
I love Christmas music. Got a lot on my iPod, and recently I’ve been taking advantage of Amazon Music’s three-month free trial. I just may have to pop for the $9.99/month when the trial runs out, because I’m enjoying the access to so much new music. They have a lot of Christmas playlists — rock, jazz, oldies, big band, country, indie, pop, and more. I’ve got music going 24×7! Helps with the seasonal depression I always get during the dark and cold of winter.
Having very broad tastes, I’m not much of a favorites guy, but I especially love the Stevie Nicks version of Silent Night and the Sheryl Crow version of Blue Christmas. And Springsteen’s Santa Claus is Coming to Town is a great rocker. In general, I especially love Oh, Holy Night. Lotta good renditions of that.
“I love Christmas music” Me, too! It’s hard to pick favorites. I listen on YouTube and Spotify (mute the commercials). Sorry to hear of your SAD. Never bothered me. I’m a “Winter Wonderland” kind of guy. later on, we’ll conspire by the fire to face unafraid the plans that we’ve made …
It’s fantasy land for sure, but hey?
My mother tried to teach me piano, but it didn’t take. I could read the music and learned Dylan’s mister tambourine man; but that was it. My brother plays, sings, and writes songs. I bang pots and pans and slam sticks on logs.
hmmm – Merry Christmas friend. cheers
And to you, my friend! 🍻🥂🎄