It’s often hard to get in the Christmas spirit in Florida. Holly doesn’t grow on palm trees, and the scent of cinnamon spice doesn’t quite mix with SPF. But most people have that one event that brings them into the season whether it's a holiday football rivalry game, attendance at The Nutcracker (more on that in a moment) or some good, old fashioned caroling. For me, it is the latter.
During the first week of each December, Canterbury School of Florida hosts a “Lessons & Carols” reception and service at St. Thomas Church, adjacent to the Hough Campus. This is always the kickoff event of the season for me. White lights pepper the Curry Garden, where sparkling punch and Christmas cookies are served to little girls and boys in their holiday dresses and ties.
The service is full of singing from students of all divisions (elementary, middle and high school singing groups) as well as by a faculty ensemble, which always wows me. This year one of our freshmen played the harp, and I sat in rapt attention by her music (see photos). All the stresses and frustrations of the world melted away and I inevitably left filled with spirit.
For those who like a larger performance, I must mention this season’s Nutcracker at the Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa, with three shows on Dec. 22 and 23. Canterbury School freshman Gabrielle Beach has been cast in the highest Principle Student Soloist Roles of "Snow Queen” and “Dew Drop.” Guest Professionals from the Boston Ballet and New York City Ballet will be in these performances as well, so it should be an excellent show.
Sparkly punch, little girls in poofy dresses and Christmas music are what get me going in December. What sparks your holiday spirit?