The best secular Christmas song ever written is Winter Wonderland, and the most brilliant version of this song is performed by Eurythmics. It had to be said. And the first time I remember hearing it, it came from a giant, silver boom box that was being carried down the hallway of a retirement home in the very early 1990s. From the ages of 10 to about 13, I would go with my aunt and cousin every year to sing Christmas carols to elderly folks.
My aunt’s aerobics class would arrange it, and they let my cousin and me join them. One of the ladies in the group would put together a mix tape of festive ditties for us to sing along, and we would walk the halls with hopes of spreading cheer around the retirement home. My cousin and I would wear our most rad and obnoxious holiday sweaters, of course with jewelry that jingled. As a kid, I thought of it more as a fun thing to do with my cousin [and some of the other ladies would have their cute sons come with us, too, heeeeeeey], but we were also there paying attention to people who might not otherwise get a visit during the season.
Some of the residents of the home would get up and go down the halls with us to sing and be part of the excitement, and we would help those in wheel chairs that wanted to join us, too. Every time I hear this particular version of the song, it reminds me of walking those halls and seeing faces light up as we would come in singing with candy and hugs to share.