I love Christmas music. I start listening on November 1 and truth be told, I have a few favourites that stay on my phone all year long. Those Grinches who purport that November 1 is “way too early” to hark the heralds (or deck the halls) can bite me. We live in a free country. You don’t have to. I want to.
However … there are a few things I don’t want. I don’t ever want to hear “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” ever again. The dumbest of the dumb.
I don’t ever want to hear “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” updated to be politically correct. Grow up.
I can totally live without Mariah Carey screaming “All I Want For Christmas”. Apparently it is the most downloaded holiday song of all time. Don’t care. I like the little girl who sings it in “Love, Actually”. Just don’t like screaming and showing off.
And I have a real hard time (see above) with artists who decide they know better than the original songwriter and change lyrics to Christmas classics. Why? Why do you think it’s necessary to mess with Irving Berlin or Mel Torme? Do you think it makes you clever or unique? Seriously, if you’re that clever just leave the standard alone and go write your own timeless classic.
Which brings me to this. Another one of my least favourite (and horribly overdone) festive ditties is “Last Christmas”. Followed closely by the also hopelessly (haplessly) overdone “This Christmas”.
Last Christmas I gave you me heart, the very next day you gave it away … Hang all the mistletoe, I’m gonna get to know you better … this Christmas …
Last Christmas. This Christmas. Whatever.
How about this: last Christmas we all took this special holiday for granted. We fretted about shopping and decorating and wrapping and baking and gaining weight and dressing fancy for the office party and spending too much (or not enough) money and fitting everything (and everyone) in and not losing our minds doing it. We never thought in a million years the only thing we would be fretting about 365 days later is that THIS Christmas we don’t get to see our loved ones. We don’t get to host (or attend) a family dinner. We don’t get to hug our grown children and we get to kiss very few (if we are lucky!) people under the mistletoe. THIS Christmas we will (or at least should) be grateful for our own health and the health of our loved ones. Period. Full stop.
What a difference a year makes, right?
Well, I would like to challenge all my songwriter friends to write a new song. A new song called “Next Christmas”. A new song about what we have learned, what we still will learn and how we will bring all this newly-gleaned wisdom into all Christmases henceforth. How NEXT Christmas we will all be smarter, kinder, more generous, more grateful, more loving and more … present. Present in the true spirit of the season. Taking nothing and no one for granted and embracing the season with joy. Joy unimpeded by expectations and stress. Joy that we can hug and sing and shake hands and be together and yes … kiss under the mistletoe.
“Next Christmas” will be my new favourite song. I feel it.
Have at it, my musical friends!
I know you can do it.
For all of us.