CLINE: Enjoying traditions of the season

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

Those of you who travel for the holidays know about the pressure of getting everything done on time. The Christmas season brings with it inherent stress with all the tasks that need to be completed, and that is only amplified when they have to be finished in time to drive or fly to your destination.

That can cut into your enjoyment of the season (not to mention your sanity) if you’re not careful. But with proper planning and minimal trips to the mall (online shopping is the greatest thing ever) you can give yourself time to relax just a little and appreciate the reason for the season.

We all have our traditions — many are likely similar — but like the song says, when it comes to Christmas, these are a few of my favorite things:

Decorating the tree. I don’t particuarly like setting up the Christmas tree, and stringing the lights always brings some aggravation. But you can’t beat hanging the ornaments. It’s always fun to open the box and see your favorites and reaquaint yourself with the ones you might have forgotten.

With a Christmas movie playing in the background — this year it was “Four Christmases,” which you can’t beat for the scene where they play Taboo — it’s the perfect way to start the season.

The Christmas Cantata. It doesn’t get much better than a choir singing Christmas anthems — accompanied with a small orchestra at our church. The rendition of the “Hallalujah Chorus” to close the service is always moving. Plus, it’s just fun to say “cantata.”

Watching “Holiday Inn.” A high school teacher recommended it to me, and from the first viewing I was hooked. I’ve always enjoyed Bing Crosby and black and white movies so this is the perfect combination for me.

It’s well documented that Crosby debuted “White Christmas” in this movie and not the movie that shares that same name. But I like all the music in “Holiday Inn” — you can’t beat a song about Thanksgiving — and Fred Astaire plays the perfect nemesis for Crosby. Funny and poignant, it’s part of the holiday season for me.

Listening to my favorite songs. Favorites are always tough. Too many good songs make it tough to choose. But I’ve always been partial to Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” I know it’s played ad nauseum, but her voice is so unique and the song is so fun I put it up there on my list.

Tom Petty’s “Christmas All Over Again” scores big points as a new classic, but the one song I have to hear at Christmas is “Mele Kalikimaka.” The Bing Crosby version is best, but I’ll settle for Jimmy Buffett singing it if I can’t have Bing.

Christmas Eve service. Whether at home or away, candelight service is the way to usher in Christmas. Singing “O Holy Night” by the light of the candles puts it all in perspective.

Whatever your traditions are, do your best to find the time to enjoy them this Christmas.

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.