I'm a Christmas music junkie. I will not lie to you, when Al came in the house the day after Halloween with a scowl on his face and said, "Can you BELIEVE those nutty radio people are doing the 24/7 Christmas music ALREADY? Gotta sell those advertising spots! Grrrrr...." I had to bite the insides of my cheeks to keep from grinning. I do love me some holiday tunes - mostly the traditional ones, but there are a few I love that are more contemporary, too.
I DO restrain myself and NOT listen to any Christmas songs until Thanksgiving Day. That's my own little rule. It's hard for me to keep to that rule! I don't want those songs around so long I get tired of them, but I do want a nice long month to fa-la-la along before I have to give them all up again the day after Christmas. Because on the day after Christmas, it all just starts to be depressing. I don't need to be reminded of the joy of Christmas because it's over now, blah, and I have a whole 'nother year to wait before it gets here again.
Christmas music, to me, is happy, joyful, sometimes funny, sometimes sincere, sometimes bouncy and rollicking, sometimes sweet and melodic. But Christmas music should never make you want to rend your garments and cry out in anguish. Y'know? Give me some Burl Ives singin' about the Holly Jolliness or Bing Crosby belting out instructions to Deck the Halls or - sigh - Nat King Cole, y'all. Oh, my man Nat, roasting those chestnuts on that open fire. Yes! Those songs - they capture the mood, they set the stage, they make me want to whip up a fruitcake and string cranberry and popcorn garlands. Build me a snowman and pretend he's Parson Brown. Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum on my little toy drum for my new baby Savior.
But lemme tell ya what ain't doin' it for me. And it's a new phenomenon.
The addition of "Another Auld Lang Syne" by otherwise fine musician Dan Fogleberg to the holiday play list. Because, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Check out the lyrics, people, in case you aren't familiar with them, or have blocked them out as a measure of self preservation because you, like I, inevitably end up weeping into a head of cabbage in the produce department every time this song gets played at your local supermarket:
Met my old lover in a grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
Stole behind her in the frozen foods
and I touched her on the sleeve
She didn't recognize the face at first
but then her eyes flew open wide
Tried to hug me and she spilled her purse
and we laughed until we cried
Took her groceries to the checkout stand
The food was totaled up and bagged
stood there lost in our embarrassment
as the conversation dragged
Went to have ourselves a drink or two
but couldn't find an open bar
Bought a six-pack at the liquor store
and we drank it in her car
We drank a toast to innocence, we drank a toast to now
Tried to reach beyond the emptiness
but neither one knew how
She said she'd married her an architect
Kept her warm and safe and dry
She said she'd like to say she loved the man
but she didn't like to lie
I said the years had been a friend to her
and that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasn't sure if
I saw doubt or gratitude
She said she saw me in the record store
and that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
but the traveling was hell
We drank a toast to innocence we drank a toast to time
We're living in our eloquence, another old lang syne
The beers were empty and our tongues grew tired
and running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
and I watched her drive away
Just for a moment I was back in school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
the snow turned into rain.
- Dan Fogleberg "Same Auld Lang Syne"
And if thoughts like snow turning into rain, old familiar pain, loveless marriages and sitting in a parked car drinking canned grocery store beer with your old lover on Christmas Eve (SHUD-DER!) weren't depressing enough, throw in the dirge-like tempo and the sad, whining sax solo of the REAL Auld Lang Syne at the end, and what you have is a recipe for total emotional disaster. Stay away from the knives people, Dan Fogleberg's warming up at the mike and he's wearing his Santa hat and carrying a six pack.
As Charlie Brown (and my mother) would say, "Goooooood grief."
Oh, and that "Christmas Shoes" song?
DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED.