So This is Christmas

Christmas always puts me into a myriad of emotions and thoughts. Memories of celebrations from decades past, a reflection on how many things have changed or have not changed enough, the familiar but possibly uncomfortable dynamics that are unearthed by seeing certain family members.

No matter how you’re feeling at any given moment during the holidays, chances are there is a Christmas themed song that matches your mood perfectly.

There are songs that are tinged with sadness or regret, songs about missing your lover, the chaos of the holiday, the joy, the wonder, um, songs about crossdressing…

Perhaps I am cynical but I think most traditional Christmas music is really bad. Songs like ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ are played again and again and again because they are “classics”. Contemporary Christmas music… well, it tries. I think it would be tricky to write a modern song about Christmas. A lot of “classic” holiday music talks about things that are, well, from a bygone era. Figgy pudding? Caroling? These are things that are stuck in a Dickensian period.

That is not inherently bad, mind you. Sometimes a lyric can bring you back to a less complicated, happier mood even if you’ve never had figgy pudding or went caroling.

I suppose a modern Christmas song, a Christmas song that people in the 21st century could relate would be about praying your flight doesn’t get delayed or wondering if the iPad you ordered from Amazon will arrive on time.

I do like Christmas music, if I am being honest. I know it sounds like I am over critical of it but that’s not necessarily true. There’s a feeling, a sense of peace that comes with finding the perfect song that captures whatever I am thinking during this complicated holiday. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” can really pull at my heartstrings if it hits me right.

A modern Christmas song doesn’t have to be about being stuck at airports or maxing out your credit card. A song like “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” is a beautiful Christmas wish. “Wonderful Christmastime” not so much. How is that two members of the Beatles each wrote a Christmas song that couldn’t be further from each other in terms of quality?

Joni Mitchell’s “River” is beautiful too.

I suppose my favorite contemporary holiday song is “Wintersong” by Sarah McLachlan.

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, I hope they are filled with peace and amazing food.

Love, Hannah

6 thoughts on “So This is Christmas

  1. I was an abused child Hannah and when Christmas came I always got depressed because I had very little. We were on a farm and I remember getting underwear and my brothers hand me downs for Christmas. Everyone else in the family got good stuff for Christmas. Later on as a child my family started locking me outside at night in the cold as I beat on the doors and windows for them to let me in but they didn’t. What was I to do living out in the middle of no where? I wish you well Hannah

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  2. Hi Hannah,
    Your blog posts (for these many years now!) always provide me with a good moment to reflect, ponder, the topics you address. Christmas certainly stands as a big societal element, a longstanding human construction, that causes much activity in the world.
    As a lifelong non-religious person Christmas is for me just another frantic holiday that is dominated by buying lots of stuff with a big complex meal or two.
    The experiences that any one person has around Christmas often are amplifications of what their life is about: the holidays can cause a burst of reflection on what our lives are about. People with great sadness in their life often find the Christmas season terribly sad. People with happiness and fulfillment may find Christmas to be a time of confirmation of their successes or contentment.
    I encourage people I know to enjoy every day as much as possible. Every day, a holiday, or a regular work day Tuesday, has the potential to bring some form of good to you in spite of the irritants and even disasters that lurk in so many places.
    On this unusually cold (at least in the mid-west of the U.S.) Christmas day, have something good to eat and maybe take a nice nap!
    Best to you and yours,
    Marissa in Ohio

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  3. Enjoying climate change in MN – BRRR! LOL Anyway, Lennon vs McCartney – Lennon wins hands down with his great songs. Mariah Carey and George Michael songs are my two best ever. Andy Williams and The Carpenters had a few great Xmas songs too. I find it ironic that Christmas buying of lots of presents would be totally opposite of what Jesus would have supposedly wanted people in the synagogues to do since he preached against being materialistic.

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  4. I’ve always seen Paul as the more “commercial” minded and John more of the protester. Although Paul did pen Give Ireland Back to the Irish, but these kind of songs are exceptions.

    I found myself humming the opening lyrics of this song but not getting past it. Not because I don’t know the lyrics… I think this has been the worst Christmas of my life.

    Things are getting better but I’m only in the eye, the other side of the hurricane 🌀 is coming.

    Anyway, Happy Holidays however anyone celebrates ❤️.
    Buzzkill? Sorry 😜

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