“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” I found that quote by Italo Calvino on Goodreads the other day, and it struck me that at no other time of the year is that saying more true. The holiday season brings us so many beloved classics in all art forms, and though we’ve seen or read or heard them dozens of times, we never grow weary.
Paintings by Currier and Ives or Norman Rockwell take us back to times of perceived innocence. The Nutcracker ballet does something similar in celebrating the vibrancy of childish dreams. The classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life, demonstrates that every person matters. Charles Dickens’ story, A Christmas Carol, cautions us to live life with goodness and generosity. So does my personal favorite, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. These are all themes that never grow old.
That’s why some radio stations play only Christmas music for weeks before the holiday. Christmas songs invoke peace, faith, love, kindness, family, and fun. As we close out the year, we long to reconnect with the things that really matter, and Christmas carols do that better than anything.
It’s every artist’s dream to create a classic, to imagine that our work will outlive us and never stop inspiring. Some of us will achieve that, others will delight friends and family with homemade Christmas cards, hand-knitted sweaters, clever holiday letters, or a special recording of a favorite Hanukkah song. We’ll display our art through carefully decorated Christmas cookies or beautiful light displays on our houses. No matter how busy we get, the holidays will always bring out the best of our creative selves.
For the world or just for our families, we artists will create new traditions, new classics. As the incomparable Johnny Mathis once said in song, “These wonderful things are the things we remember all through our lives.”
So don’t hold back. Share some of your favorite holiday memories and create some new ones too.