There’s nothing like “harp” for the holidays.
That’s not quite how the song goes, but it is certainly true that no instrument seems more suited to Christmas celebrations than the harp. Choirs sing of the ”angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold,” and carolers remind us to “strike the harp, and join the chorus.” Whether your mood is peaceful contemplation or joyful merriment, the harp simply is Christmas.
If you’re a harpist, your calendar is likely bursting for the next few weeks with engagements from choir concerts to church services to office parties. You and your harp will be a part of more Christmas celebrations than you can count. Chances are good, however, that you have left out the most important holiday celebration of all - yours. Putting self-care on the back burner is never a good idea, but can be particularly damaging at this time of year.
Here is my cautionary tale:
I remember all too clearly a holiday season when my inner Grinch surfaced. I had been working what felt like non-stop, my toddler had an ear infection which meant I was sleep-deprived, and I was fighting horrible traffic to get to a party where I was going to play for three hours. I arrived at the party and found it was going to be more difficult than I expected to move the harp indoors.
The party was in a private home, and I hadn’t realized that the hosts had invited their guests to come an hour before they wanted me to start. So even though I was early for my start time, the guests were already milling about, and trying to move the harp through the crowd without running anyone over took more patience than I had. I didn’t realize at the time that my grumpy “bah, humbug” spirit was showing, but the hosts let me know later that they were put off by it. They didn’t know I had only had three hours of sleep the past two nights. All they saw was my bad mood.
It’s critical for yourself, and for anyone you plan to play for this season, that you maintain your holiday sparkle. Your first strategy should always be to ensure proper sleep, diet and exercise. But going one step further, I would like to suggest 5 ways to add some holiday harp happiness to your personal time, quick tips to make your own holidays special while you’re busy adding musical magic to everyone else’s.
Don’t forget to take these moments for yourself. There’s nothing like your harp to help you celebrate the holidays.