04 December 2009

Have yourself a depressing little Christmas.

It is a great American tradition to try to make things seem better than they are.  Eternal optimism.  Can do attitude.  Looking on the bright side.  Take the nostalgic old tune, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  The best version has got to be John Denver and Rowlf the Dog from A Christmas Together.  Found the YouTube video here!
Here's the words:

have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light
from now on our troubles will be out of sight
have yourself a merry little Christmas, make the yule tide gay
from now on our troubles will be out of sight...

It's all polished wood and families in pretty sweaters and glasses of warm brandy and candles in the window on a dark snowy night.

Of course the original song, from the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis, was closely tied to the plot of the movie, and taken out of context, it is depressing as hell.  Put it in the terrifying waning days of world war 2 (we only know it was waning in hindsight, remember!) and man, is it a downer!

have yourself a merry little Christmas,  it may be our last
next year we all may be living in the past...

no good times like in olden days, happy golden days of yore

faithful friends who were dear to us, will be near to us no more

Who could bear to listen to that at Christmas!  In fact it was sung by the original artist, Judy Garland, at the Hollywood Canteen in 1944 and it brought the soldiers in attendance to tears.  It was Frank Sinatra who asked that the song be cheered up for his recording of it.  God forbid we should face what the legend and expectations of the perfect family Christmas means for those who can't have it.  Perish the thought of pausing in Nordstrom when the piano plays a melancholy tune.  We have shopping to do!