Halloween and Thanksgiving have not even come yet, and I’m already listening to Christmas music. Why am I doing this, you may ask. Am I getting pumped for Christmas 2016? Am I homesick? Do I want hot chocolate and eggnog to be socially acceptable orders at Starbucks right now?
The answer is a lot simpler that it seems. Christmas music holds a special place in my heart. When I was a little kid, I didn’t listen to pop music. My grandpa, who drove me home from school everyday, thought my mother’s music was garbage and thought that my generation’s music couldn’t be much better. While other kids listened to Fall Out Boy and Avril Lavigne, I was becoming, as my grandpa put it, “cultured in real music.” I hated his music at first: I wanted catchy pop tunes and electric guitar rifts, not violin concertos and freestyle jazz.
Whether it was by continual brainwashing or gradual acceptance, I ended up liking my grandpa’s music. Every Christmas season, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” album would be playing on repeat. “Adeste Fideles” would usher me in from the cold. I would hum along as I sipped my hot chocolate.
The novelist, Marcel Proust, used the concept of involuntary memory to set up the arc for his magnum opus, “In Search of Lost Time.” The narrator’s dipping of his madeleine into his cup of tea sends him on a trip down memory lane. The “White Christmas” album has the same effect on me. It could be 90 degrees out, but when “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” plays I remember the chill of playing in the snow as a little kid. “Jingle Bells” reminds me of the joy of decorating the Christmas tree. “White Christmas” sends me back in time to the nights when I would look out the window and see the first snowfall of the season.
As college students, we’re rapidly preparing for the future. It’s a hectic but wonderful time. Sometimes, however, in sheer wonder of the present, we forget the past. Memories are not just reminders of how much we’ve grown. They’re also chances to jump back in time to relive the feelings of the past. A single memory of Christmas time can warm your heart like a nice mug of hot chocolate. While other people may be dreaming about their next internship, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.