It's the most wonderful time of the year ...

No, really.  As a professional musician, I've had to start working on my Christmas repertoire, brushing off songs that I haven't played for nine months.  Many of these tunes have been part of my annual set for years, so they quickly come back to my fingers and brain, but with fifty-plus pieces to revive and an instrument that doesn't lend itself to sightreading, I always start before Halloween ... and often when it's still far too warm to think about Christmas.

Is it any wonder I rarely listen to Christmas radio or CDs?  I start even earlier than the malls do.

By and large, my selections are Christmas tunes that I enjoy.  There are some I can't stand, and I try to avoid playing them.  For instance, I have an irrational dislike of "Silent Night," and will only include it upon request.  There's certainly no lack of beautiful tunes to play instead.

At this point, I have largely plumbed the depths of Christmas music that a) I like; b) is recognizable; and c) is playable upon the harp.  I would love to play the Charlie Brown Christmas song ("Christmastime Is Here"), but it isn't harp friendly.  Still, I'm always keeping my eye out for something new I want to add.