The Christmas Gift I Give Myself

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About five years ago my husband surprised me with a piano for Christmas (big surprises are kind of his thing). We had talked about wanting one for our family, and I had visions of listening to our children sit down to play and sing for us. Of course, our son was only two at the time and I was very pregnant with my daughter, so no one really had much time or ability to play it. The piano mostly collected dust that first year.

The following year I got the idea to host a holiday party, basically as an excuse to hire a "real" piano player to come over and take the piano out for a spin. I called it my Christmas gift to myself, and boy was it was worth it! It felt like such a weird, extravagant, grown-up thing to do, to hire a musician for an event, but it felt really special and I loved every minute of it! Now my kids are old enough that they like to sit down and play, and they're old enough that my husband and I can find some time to play, too. But since none of us sound particularly professional, the tradition has continued and I look forward to our party all year long. 

In preparation for this year's event we had the piano tuned up and a chipped key replaced, and in the process I got a good look at our instrument's interior. It's gorgeous in there! String instruments, by comparison, leave little to the imagination, but all the fun inner workings of the piano were quite a sight to see. Here are a few photos, in case you're curious . . . 

the keys, uncovered

the keys, uncovered

taking out the chipped "A" key

taking out the chipped "A" key

I was surprised to learn that a key is just white stuff (plastic?) glued onto a piece of wood.

I was surprised to learn that a key is just white stuff (plastic?) glued onto a piece of wood.

placing the new and improved "A" key

placing the new and improved "A" key

Trying to capture the chain of events that occur once a key is pressed

Trying to capture the chain of events that occur once a key is pressed

felt, and wood, and springs, oh my!

felt, and wood, and springs, oh my!

How do you incorporate music into your holidays? Do you love blasting Christmas songs, or go caroling around the neighborhood? Would you ever hire a musician for a Christmas party? I'd love to hear about it. :)