Christmas Repost: Good Grief

A repost from 2006.

I’m not a Grinch.

The Grinch didn’t like Christmas, not one bit.And there is plenty about Christmas that I do like.

I even have my radio tuned to the “All Christmas Music All Month Long” station.

(Of course, it is easier to appreciate carols in December in the years that I do not write a Christmas play.Writing a yuletide play means doing the initial drafts in the spring, rewrites in the summer, and rehearsing in the fall.By December, one can get quite Christmased out.)

No, I am not a Grinch.But I do have mixed feelings about the holidays.I feel a sense of melancholy mixed in with my joy.

Entertainment Weekly recently ran an article on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas;”
(Issue 912, “There’s Something About Merry”) a melancholy song that is a perennial favorite – perhaps because of the sorrow mixed with the hope in it.

The song was written for “Meet Me in St. Louis,” and comes at a down moment in the flick – as the family is facing a move away from home.Judy Garland sings it to her sister.

There are three versions of the song.The first is fully depressing, with older sister Judy telling the little one that there is no reason in life for joy.“Faithful friends who were dear to us, will be near to us no more.”

Judy Garland begged for lyrics that were a tad more optimistic.

The second version is in the movie, and basically has Judy telling little sis that although things may look bad now, there is hope – “someday soon we all will be together,” and “until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.”

The third was a rewrite for Frank Sinatra, putting the good times in the present tense, and eliminates the sense of dread in the lyrics.“Through the years we all will be together,” and “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.”

Version two is the one that resonates with me – is this my inner moderate voting for Christmas?—the one that acknowledges that there are hard times.

And yet…

Just my thoughts,

Sean

Version from “Meet Me in St. Louis” (music and lyrics by Hugh Martin):

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away
Once again, as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

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One response to “Christmas Repost: Good Grief”

  1. Steven Broyles says :

    I can not tolerate I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS for the same reasons. It was years of listening to the warm sense of family and unity this song so poetically articulates until I matured enough to really listen to the final words, “if only in my dreams.” These song lyrics, for a Bing Crosby soldier character, sitting an ocean away from his family, tore at me during times when I, myself, was thousands of miles away from my family. Melancholia is an easily manipulated emotion during Christmas.

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