Elizabeth Chan may be very clear on this point: Christmas shouldn’t be a contest.
“You can love anything you would like, as much as you would like” Mrs. Chan, 42, he said. “It’s how much it fills you with joy, and everybody has a special level of joy of their heart. But that doesn’t suggest a technique of being is healthier than one other.”
These are all very reasonable points. Very gracious too. But you may’t change the indisputable fact that Mrs. Chan wins Christmas. Hands down. Game, set and match.
Not because she named her daughters Noelle and Eva (for Christmas Eve). Or since the color palette of her Lower Manhattan apartment leans toward deep dark reds and aquamarine greens. Or because he has half a dozen advent calendars in high rotation. Or even since the smell of liquid soap in her kitchen and loo is usually limited to gingerbread, peppermint, fir pine and the like. (Mrs. Chan stocks up when the vacations are over and everybody else has gone spicy plum and blueberry.)
Elizabeth Chan, 42
Profession: Composer and performer of Christmas carols
New Perspective: “When I became a mum, my music immediately modified because suddenly the story of Jesus’ birth and the story of finding a spot for a baby became very close.”
That’s because she left her job as a marketing executive ten years ago to pursue what on the time gave the impression of a quixotic job, Chan wrote over 1,000 Christmas songs (she stopped counting at 1,200) in a wide range of genres – pop, jazz, disco , electronics and recorded 12 albums with Christmas-themed compositions. Some have charted on Billboard’s adult contemporary and holiday charts. He also writes Christmas songs for performers who need Santa’s helper.
Like her predecessors, her latest collection, 12 Months of Christmas, released in October, is on display across the country in malls and stores comparable to Walmart, Ikea, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma, providing Ms Chan with a yearly income she says her is within the high six figures – there isn’t a business just like the Ho-Ho-Ho business – and has led some within the industry to call her the Queen of Christmas. (Last 12 months, when Mariah Carey, she of All I Want for Christmas Is You, applied through her company to trademark the phrase “Queen of Christmas” for future use on products comparable to music, perfume, sunglasses, and even coconut milk, Ms. Chan opposed the registration, believing that nobody must have exclusive and everlasting rights to the title. She ultimately prevailed.)
Creatively and financially, Ms. Chan has come a good distance. Geographically, it’s a special story. She grew up in Battery Park City and stayed there even after 9/11 caused many, including her traumatized parents, to relocate.
“I could not consider anywhere else to go,” said Ms. Chan, who found a one-room apartment to rent just a few blocks from her childhood apartment. “I believed it will be temporary. I believe I stayed because every Christmas song I wrote was written here.”
When Ms. Chan married 13 years ago, her husband, Andy Fraley, who designed her website and likewise designs her album covers, joined her within the apartment. And when she decided to go away corporate life and turn into a struggling artist, the couple stayed put, though that meant making room for six keyboards, three guitars, a ukulele, a Chinese stringed instrument called the gu zheng, speakers, and at last their first child, Noelle , now 5 years old, and accompanying baby accessories. Oh, did we mention the dog?
Four years ago, through an area moms’ group, Ms. Chan learned that the family living within the constructing was moving to New Jersey and hoped to search out someone to take over their two-bedroom apartment.
“My husband went to see it and it was crazy,” recalls Mrs. Chan. “There were traces of crayons and magic markers on every wall, and he said, ‘We’ll take it.’ He knew I might never leave the neighborhood—that I might never leave the constructing—because that is my home.”
Mrs. Chan puts a variety of emphasis and importance on the house. Many of her songs have the word “home” within the title or within the lyrics. Dom often comes up in conversations together with her. Expanding on the topic, she becomes mercilessly tearful.
Even though the family has fully settled into the more spacious apartment – now two-year-old Eva is amongst them – Ms Chan sticks to a special space because additionally it is her home. It will be easily recognized by its Christmas wreath studded with sleigh bells.
“The way you walk into your own home and it smells familiar – that is the place for me,” she said.
There, she wraps and hides Christmas presents for her children, writes songs, conducts business calls via Zoom, and shoots commercials for radio stations that play her music. Ms. Chan takes inspiration from a completely decorated artificial Christmas tree, which, like a wreath, stays in place all 12 months round; from decorative Christmas pillows, of which there are a lot of; and a photograph of her maternal grandmother presiding over a Christmas pageant in her village within the Philippines. “She taught me what matters,” said Ms. Chan.
On a Friday morning in early December, the festive atmosphere was within the family quarters two floors up. Bookshelves were put aside for displays of scenes from the Lego Christmas Village and a Fisher-Price Little People nativity scene. Red stockings hung rigorously from a red-painted wood console. The Christmas tree topper that read “Santa Stop Here” was able to be arrange, and the marble dining table where Mrs. Chan sat ten years ago to plan her business had been cleared away to make room for a gingerbread house or two.
“This is what Christmas looks wish to me,” she said, looking across the front room. “I would not feel comfortable living anywhere else. Since my songs are centered on love, family and residential, being uprooted would affect my music.”
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