‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 24, 2010

I admit, I’ve been a bit of a grinch this holiday season.  (Whoa, WordPress spellcheck doesn’t understand “grinch”  — what’s up with that?)  Please believe me, it has absolutely nothing to do with my Jewishness and everything to do with my hatred of winter.  This year, my Scrooge quotient has been unusually high, which I realized when I walked into Mimi’s Attic last week and involuntarily uttered a groan upon hearing Christmas music playing.

“What’s your problem?” asked darling Theresa, Mimi’s staffer extraordinaire (affectionately, of course.  Theresa and I share the love.)

I don’t really have a problem, Theresa, I promise.  I don’t even hate all Christmas music, like some people we know.  To prove it to you, here are a couple of Christmas songs I adore, and the reasons why.

#1:  Little Drummer Boy

Let me specify that my love is specific to this version and only this version.  A certain very important person in our extended family cannot stand this particular carol as a general rule, and I respect that.  But I first heard this version on the radio as a little girl, driving home from a huge Christmas Eve party to which we were invited every year.  We’d get dressed up and drive to the side of town with all the big houses and the prettiest Christmas lights, and I’d spend a couple of hours watching all the other kids run around, flitting in and out of the grown-up room to peek at the humongous tree, barely able to contain their excitement about the next day.  On the drive home, my annual melancholy would set in, and I’d succumb to the loneliness that comes when the entire world shuts down for something that doesn’t belong to you.  (Side note:  I totally had a version of this feeling this evening,when I irrationally panicked about the closing of Wegman’s for a day.  Despite a conversation with my husband in which we decided we did not need anything, I rushed to the store and spent $30 on groceries, JUST IN CASE.  This may not have anything to do with Christmas, actually — it might just be straight-up Wegman’s addiction.)  Upon reflection, I suppose it’s odd to embrace a musical memory that’s not exactly happy, but I like to connect with the little girl I used to be, and this song facilitates that.  Plus, this version was used in what is possibly the best episode of television ever, so that’s something.

#2: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings

Come on, how cute are the Barenaked Ladies?  Cute, and Christmasy, and Canadian  — who knew they even had Christmas in Canada?  (That’s a joke.  I know they have Christmas in Canada.  It’s just that making fun of  Canada is funny.)  Plus, they do that cute little shout out to Sarah McLachlan, who was featured on the album version of that song?  Seriously. Cute.

#3:  River

So, this isn’t exactly your typical Christmas carol, and under normal circumstances, I would reference the original Joni Mitchell version over a cover any day, but James Taylor’s take on this classic song makes it seem holiday-esque to me.  I love that it evokes a kind of holiday spirit that is emotional, rather than festive, yet Christmasy nonetheless.

I’ve also loved “I Wonder as I Wander” since I first read Jacob Have I Loved as a preteen, and my mom dug out the Barbra Streisand Christmas album on vinyl for me to play over and over.  I’d probably prefer a more minimalist rendition of the song, but as a fellow member of the tribe, my loyalty is always to Barbra.  Plus, this video is pretty hilarious.

Last but not least, there’s the Dave Matthews song featured in the video at the top of the post.  This is actually one of my favorite songs all year round.  “Why in all this hatred do you fill me up with love?”  Sigh.

I wish you a merry Christmas Eve.  If you need to take a break from the wassailing at any point, I encourage you to do so by leaving your favorite Christmas songs in the comments below.

-Meryl at the Goose

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4 Responses to “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”

  1. carole rubin Says:

    Meryl,
    I must admit that I love the Xmas songs……..I was
    at the Jewish Home today visiting my two special people. I was saddened by the fact that there were no Xmas songs being played for all of those non-Jewish patrons residing there. Why not? I thought we were respectful of all peoples…….even in the Jewish Home.
    Best,
    Carole

  2. Kristina Says:

    Can I just get Dave Matthew for x-mas? Oh happy day that would be!

    Love your Wegmans break down, I experienced it today as well and retrieved superfluous items to a tune of $40 *just in case* girlfriend. How can they close? How could they do this to us? LOL

  3. Diana Says:

    We’re loving the 12 Days of Christmas here, our 6 year old’s favorite by far. Her sweet voice singing it makes me smile each time.

    She also wondered out load though, why the true didn’t just give his “true love,” why all that stuff? That’s my girl!


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