This year has been different in so many ways. But lately I've been feeling that difference in a very specific way: I have had no holiday gigs. For many years, I've performed holiday music throughout December. This year, my only gigs have been virtual. Meanwhile, my Facebook memories are filled with past gigs. It’s pretty depressing to scroll through reminders of what you can no longer do. Performing during the holidays is so satisfying—you bring seasonal joy to so many. I especially miss performing at senior residences and care centers.
Holiday performances often mean special holiday outfits. This Christmas Tree Fascinator I bought specifically for performing. Because I exempted performance hats from my "I will wear every hat" rule, I didn't feature it in The Hat Project last year. But this year, as the ghost of Christmas gigs past kept appearing, I decided to blog about it.
It is not my first Christmas performance hat. When the Fabulous JewelTones added fun holiday headgear to our usual outfits, people with surplus holiday hats brought them to rehearsal for those of us without hats. I immediately laid claim to a tinsel halo, though honestly, I’m not sure anyone else was interested in it. It reminded me of church children's Christmas plays of my youth, where the angels--my usual part--wore tinsel halos. (I never got chosen to play Mary. Not that I’m bitter!)
I loved wearing the tinsel halo, but alas, it did not belong to me. Before moving, I returned the halo to the group. In my new location, I joined a trio. When we booked a holiday gig, I needed a new hat, and ordered this Christmas tree fascinator online. Here I am wearing it at our first gig, where we got paid in syrah wine from local vineyards.
For the past few years, I've performed holiday gigs with my ukulele group. Here's a photo from a performance in an assisted living center last year.
This year, I thought I would go the whole season without wearing this fascinator. However, my church's singing group decided to do a virtual recording of "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" for Christmas Eve. When the leader specified holiday attire, such as Santa hats, for the video , I jumped at the chance to wear the Christmas Tree Fascinator and make a festive performance for Christmas.
Like most of us, I am looking forward to a brighter 2021. I hope that by next year, I will be back to singing and playing "Feliz Navidad" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on my ukulele, wearing the Christmas Tree Fascinator and spreading good cheer.
Thanks for reading my blog this year, and I hope you have a happy holiday, whatever form it takes. And if you have a holiday hat, wear it!
Ann Hillesland writes fiction and nonfiction and collects hats. In this blog she vows to wear (not just model, but wear out of the house) every one of her hats, blogging about their histories and their meanings for her.