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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Favorite Christmas Carols

Friday, December 14, 2018

Favorite Christmas carols take us to the Christmases of our dreams, and to our treasured memories collected over the years.  

Favorite Christmas carols flute mantel decor
Christmas carols are among the first things that signal the beginning of the Christmas season long before the tree is trimmed, presents are wrapped, and cookies are baked. 

When you hear them on the radio, in television commercials, and in department stores, you know the Christmas season has arrived. 

Welcome to A Merry Musical Blog Hop hosted by Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home where I am joining fifteen talented bloggers in sharing how music is part of our Christmases and how music signals Christmas has arrived. 

If you are coming from My Thrift Store Addiction, weren't you inspired by her post about the beautiful Nutcracker Ballet? For more inspiration, there are links to all of the merry musical blog posts at the end. 

F A V O R I T E   C H R I S T M A S   C A R O L S 

Favorite Christmas carols on James Galway Christmas Carol album
Everyone has favorite carols, and James Galway's Christmas Carol album is mine. Do you know James Galway's music? He is a virtuoso flute player from Belfast, Ireland. 

Of course, he can play a feisty Irish jig, but his Christmas Carol album takes me to the Christmas of my dreams. A Christmas filled with beautiful carols, visions of period costumes, figgy puddings, and laughter-filled celebrations. 

Favorite Christmas carols mantel decorated with flutes
This year, I decorated our living room mantel with flutes as a celebration of merry musical events throughout my life. 

Favorite Christmas carols mantel decorated with flutes and seeded eucalyptus
More than Christmas dreams, my love for Galway's hauntingly beautiful flute carols has roots in my childhood, and beyond. As a school girl, I played the flute in our high school band. 

Favorite Christmas carols mantel decorated with flutes and seeded eucalyptus
Early training to become a flutist was blowing across Coca-Cola tops to produce shrill whistling sounds. 

Yes, Coca-Cola came in glass bottles in my childhood, and we had great fun playing Coke games. There was always the ever-popular game of "Who has the Coke bottle manufactured the farthest away," since we could read the bottling plant's location on the bottom of the bottle. 

And, we all pursed our lips and blew across the bottle top to create the ear-splitting whistling sounds. 

Favorite Christmas carols mantel decorated with flutes and seeded eucalyptus
From those years of practicing Coke bottle whistles, I learned how to purse my lips and how to adjust my blowing angle to create a wide variety of tones ranging from low to high. 

Thus, I was deemed a "natural flute player" by the band director when we students auditioned on the variety of band instruments in junior high school. Not everyone could produce a sound on a flute, much less a variety of low tones.  

Favorite Christmas carols mantel with flute in blue velvet lined case
Thus, my musical instrument adventures began. When I went to college I took a woodwinds course to fulfill one of the general music courses required for all students, regardless of their majors. 

But, this flute on my mantel? It belongs to my younger sister, not me. While I was in college, she joined the high school band, and to save money, my parents gave her my flute which they later traded in for a newer one, the one on my mantel above. 

Without asking me. 

Which caused me to be sad. I missed my flute. Part of being the oldest . . . belongings passed down to siblings. And, I often reminded my sister she got my flute. Sigh . . .  

Favorite Christmas carols mantel with French flute from Paris flea market
But the story has a happy ending. Two Christmases ago, my sister gave me the flute on the right above. 

Favorite Christmas carols mantel with French flute from Paris flea market
When I opened the box, the flute was disassembled, lying in its three sections.  

No blue-velvet lined case. 

The detached mouthpiece was scotch-taped to the top opening hole. 

One of the fingering levers was broken off. 

Doesn't sound much like a Christmas present. 

But, it is a precious present, treasured for all that it entails.

Favorite Christmas carols mantel with French flute from Paris flea market
This flute has a story. 

Don't all happy endings have a story before the ending? 

LAUBE  Couture Boussey (Eure)  BREVETE   S. G. D. G. 

This flute was made in France, sometime around 1900. The maker engraved the copyright information to each of the three sections of the flute. That is all I know of its history. 

But, that is not all of the flute's story. 

Favorite Christmas carols mantel with French flute from Paris flea market
My sister and I went to France on a special sister trip two years ago. Just the two of us. 

We visited our favorite restaurants, beloved Chateau Chenonceau, beautiful flower gardens, and favorite museums/landmarks. 

And, hit every brocante and flea market we could find. 

My sister found this damaged flute at a Paris flea market on that trip and bought it for me as a Christmas present that year. 

Favorite Christmas carols mantel with French flute from Paris flea market
This Christmas it hangs on my fireplace in a place of honor in remembrance of my sister's love. 

On the mantel, the flute on the left and the piccolo on the right, in their cases, belong to my sister. The two hanging flutes belong to me. 

The hanging flute on the left also has a story, but not for telling yet. Maybe never, for that story is even more heart-rending. Flutes have always been a part of my life story. 

The hanging flute on the right symbolizes my, and my sister's, love for the flute, our history of a shared childhood flute, our love for France, our shared memories of traveling together, and our bond as sisters. 

Favorite Christmas carols on James Galway Christmas Carols album
Christmas never really arrives at my house until I play my favorite carols on James Galway's Christmas Carol CD, upgraded from my original album. 

And I listen to the beautiful flute solos. 

🎶 🎶 🎶

Yes, my sister was forgiven for trading in my childhood flute . . . with the gift of a French flute with a few dings from a Paris brocante. 

(To be fair, it was my mother who traded in the flute. 😉)

🎶 🎶 🎶

Next on the Merry Musical Blog Hop is Itsy Bits and Pieces with her merry musical Christmas. 

Favorite Christmas carols with flutes
P I N  ⥣ to your Christmas Boards

What is your favorite Christmas carol?