“Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?”

If you ask someone to name a classic, holiday song for New Year’s Eve, they’ll probably come up with Auld Lang Syne. When I was a kid, my grandfather would whistle or sing part of the song and I could never figure out what the song was about or why we had to have it on New Year’s Eve. Then I got older, got a little sentimental, and learned a little history…

While I can’t say it’s a tradition for me, I have a better appreciation of this holiday favorite and thought it would be an appropriate way to close the last Friday blog post of 2018! Continue reading

“Guide Us To Thy Perfect Light”

One of my favorite Christmas songs is We Three Kings. Written about the same time as Jingle Bells, these lyrics and tune are different than the sleighing song and originally intended for church and religious plays. Based on the Biblical account of the wise men traveling to worship Baby Jesus, the song focuses on the symbolism of the three gifts that they brought.

Today, we’ll explore some of the history of the song’s writer and the historical information behind the lyrics and tune. Continue reading

“Dashing Through The Snow” – The Story of a Classic Winter Song

The last couple years Jingle Bells has literally started my holiday season. When I help with parlor music at the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum, this is the song that kids love. They might not know The First Noel or Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, but they sure belt out Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls.

This year we sang Jingle Bells so many times that I refused to listen to or play the song for a week. Then historical curiosity got the better of me. Out came the sheet music. Out came the history books. Now, I want to go sleighing…

That might not happen in Southern California, but come take a ride through the history of this famous Christmas classic. Continue reading

History Read-Along: Pearl Harbor Christmas, Chapters 4-6

Heat up some cocoa and grab a candy cane ’cause this week we’re reading about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 1941. Specifically, we’re reading Chaptes 4-6 in Stanley Weintraub’s Pearl Harbor Christmas. Since the chapters are titled instead of numbered, it’s chapters labelled December 23, 1941; December 24, 1941, Christmas Eve; December 25, 1941, Christmas Day.

No worries if you’re not doing the full read-along, ’cause we have the historical summary, a few quotes, and some holiday inspiration here in this blog post. Continue reading

“Now Proclaim” – The Story Of A Scottish Reformer & A Christmas Hymn

What better way to start our December series about traditional Christmas songs (for the fourth year in a row; can you believe it?) than with a hymn opening with word pictures of announcing angels? For Christians, Christmas holds special religious meaning since it is a celebration of Jesus’s arrival on earth, and according to the Biblical account angels announced his coming to his mother and earthly father and to the shepherds.

The author of Angels from the Realms of Glory believed his religious poetry and hymns would long outlast his other efforts, but today we’ll take a closer look at this Scottish poet and societal reformer and his beloved hymn that has become a classic in many churches. Continue reading