I love this season. Milkshake is always so busy. In early November, I pull out the big box of holiday gear: Santa hats, sleigh bells, garland, reindeer antlers and bags and bags of white confetti to snow down on our audiences. The band comes together to go over all those songs we only do at this time of year, including our own “Christmas In Baltimore.” We add and subtract songs depending on our mood. This year,”Jingle Bells” was out and “Blue Christmas” (the Elvis version) was in, complete with high-pitched Oooo’s. Lovely. The Festival of Trees is an annual event we play every Black Friday – that day after Thanksgiving when people lose their minds and go power shopping. I’m much happier testing my endurance by getting to the Cow Palace at Timonium Fairgrounds at 7 AM and playing three shows until 5 PM. This year, I was asked to also read a holiday book after our last performance. I chose a little story I used to read to my daughter around this time of year. Snow Family is by Daniel Kirk, and simply presents the idea and the importance of caring for each other. In this case, the mother and father care for a child, who in turn, makes snow parents for all the snow children he has built. I loved sitting by my cardboard fire, surrounded by kids listening intently. I loved even more chatting about the story afterwards with the kids, and hearing how they “got it” – they understood the importance of caring for each other, and how much better life is when we do.
Milkshake has been playing the Festival of Trees for the past eight years, not just because it’s a great time and signals the start of the holiday season, but because much of the money raised from the Festival goes to helping kids with special needs through the Kennedy Krieger Foundation. All proceeds from Ticket sales, Designer Item sales (trees, wreaths & gingerbreads), Raffle Tickets, Silent Auction, and Children activities directly benefit the Institute. All donations made to the wishing well and online to the Happy Holidays Fund are fully tax deductible.
The Happy Holidays Fund is still open through the end of the year. This fund provides support to Kennedy Krieger children and families with special needs during the holiday season. Kennedy Krieger cares for kids all the time. Please consider helping them at this time of year – caring by giving.
Here’s a video clip by friend Heidi Sheppard, taken with her cell phone during “Bottle of Sunshine” – thanks Heidi!
And my mom took this with her cell phone – thanks mom! The Festival of Trees is a family and friend affair I’m happy to be part of.
Hoping your holidays are merry and bright.