The music of the season makes it work
A reminder of family members no longer here (in some cases blessedly, if truth be known); a reminder of lost loves and marriages and those families; a reminder of long-ago Christmases at my grandparents’ home that to me was blissful, mainly because I was too young to appreciate the stresses of family drunks and philanderers, or how bloody poor my grandparents were; a reminder of a season in which my parents invariably disappointed their kids and likely each other.
It is also a reminder of the profligate greed of a society that deems it proper to encourage people to send themselves into the poorhouse in order to buy gifts they absolutely cannot afford; and it is a reminder of those who literally can afford nothing and a guilt-racked society that deems it proper to lay a turkey-dinner on them and buy a few cheapskate gifts for their sad kids – and then forgets about them for the rest of the year.
Do not misconstrue my words about the season, however, because there are aspects about Christmas I cherish, I truly enjoy and always look forward to:
The 1950 version of A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim as Scrooge. That’s the only version I want to watch, and always do on Christmas Eve.
Listening to my ancient recording of Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales.
Watching the Christmas Story if only to hear the Chinese Waiters sing Happy Holiday and to listen to Dad cussing at the furnace.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. I mean, I don’t actually do that, but the idea is warm and homey.
Wendy’s Spanish Cream dessert after Christmas dinner.
Christmas brekkie, in which I make my killer eggs benedict and serve them on the lox that Wendy prepared during the summer.
Christmas Eve carol service at church.
And most of all, the music.
The music indeed. I have exceptions in this regard, but Christmas music, like all other forms of music, I find highly evocative, nostalgic, sometimes spiritual, and serenity inducing. Some pieces can fill the soul, and others will take one back to earlier times in life. Oh, and there are some pieces I have come to loathe because they are so overdone. I would be very, very happy if I were to never hear The Little Drummer-boy again in this lifetime. A fellow can only stand so many rumpa-pum-pums. The Twelve Days of Christmas I would also happily relegate to the trashcan of unwanted seasonal offerings. But, there are others that range from the sublime to the sweet to the silly.
Here are mine, in absolutely no order, with the artists. Would be delighted to read about yours:
Hark the Herald Angels: Kings College Choir, Cambridge
Adeste Fideles: Same as above, or Bing Crosby
White Christmas: Has to be Bing
Blue Christmas: Elvis Presley
Jingle Bell Rock: Bobby Helms
Fairy Tale of New York: Shane MacGowan/Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Judy Garland
The Christmas Song: Nat King Cole
Happy Christmas/War is Over: John Lennnon/Yoko Ono
Merry Christmas Everybody: Slade
I’ll Be Home for Christmas: Judy Collins and assorted other people
O Holy Night: Any really good choir and also Bing
Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Gene Autry
Santa Baby: Eartha Kitt
And last, but assuredly not least – I Yoost Go Nuts at Christmas: Yorgi Yorgeson
Please share your faves and blessings of the season on you all. Or, as Yorgi would say: "Merry Christmas, effryvun."