Christmas is less than two weeks away. It’s time for the disc jockeys to pull out the old ‘standard’ Christmas songs and check out a few new ones.
When I first considered writing about Christmas music, I naively thought that during the early years of my childhood all Christmas music was of the sacred variety. As they say in football, however, “Upon further review… ”
While I can remember visiting my sister Gertrude’s home and singing Christmas carols such as “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” as my mother played the piano, I can also remember a little boy on the radio singing “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”.
By the same token, while Brenda Lee’s rendition of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” may have seemed a bit sacrilegious, the same could probably be said about an older song – “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”.
Let’s consider Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas”. Originally recorded by Ernest Tubb in 1948, the song could well have been written about a soldier in a foreign land missing his loved ones back home. But somehow it lost its meaning when it was recorded by Seymour Swine and the Squealers.
To a certain extent, I enjoy the novelty songs. However, there are times during the season when I prefer to listen to Handel’s “Messiah”, or any of the traditional carols such as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Joy to the World.” At those time, if I turn on the radio and hear “Grandma got run over by a reindeer”, I’m tempted to turn to a different sort of Christmas spirit.
“I’ll be Home for Christmas” was definitely a war time song that has become a heartfelt theme for anyone who feels lonesome during the holidays. It’s rather interesting that song writers are able to take a season of joy and find a reason to sing the blues. This is not to say the sadness expressed is not real, I recognize that Christmas is not just a time for joyful expressions of love – it’s also a time of year that results in higher rates of depression and suicide.
Perhaps listening to “The Christmas Song” and “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” can trigger sadness in people who never experienced the childhood joys of Christmas. Folks who had a wonderful childhood, but have experienced less than a wonderful adulthood, could also find such songs depressing.
Personally, I have wonderful childhood memories. My parents and older siblings made sure that my closest brother and I experienced truly magical Christmas mornings. Yet, the deaths of my parents created a hole in my heart that seems to grow larger during this time of the year.
My mother passed away in 1966 during my senior year of college. My father joined her in 1974. He was around long enough for my two oldest sons to get to know him, but there are so many times I’d love for mom and dad to get to know all of my children and grandchildren. I’d love for them to see what I’ve done with my life… at least the good parts.
I guess most of us can have mixed emotions at this time of the year. That’s why it’s important to spend time with friends and loved ones and listen to the songs that are uplifting.
I’ll leave you with my absolute favorite Christmas song. It was recorded by ‘Boney M’, a group from Germany and has a Caribbean beat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
By the way, sometime today the number of visits to my blog will top FIVE THOUSAND! I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to see what I have to say.