I find the melody "Carol of the Bells" frightening. This is a relatively un-spooky version of it, and yeah, it is kind of pretty, but in an eerie way:
Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say "Throw cares away; Christmas is here!" That’s what they seem to say, but this song is about running through deserted winter streets alone, because someone is going to break into your house.
Remember "Home Alone"? No? Here’s a sing-along plot summary:
Home Alone, another one of those Christmas movies that really has very little to do with Christmas, came out in 1990. I think I watched it in 1991 or 1992, so I was about five or six. I remember not being able to fall asleep afterwards, because I was so scared. My father suggested I plan out how I was going to injure the bad guys in the movie, since I was awake anyway. (I would later employ similar violent fantasy tactics when I was too angry at people to fall asleep.)
Soon afterwards, a real live bad guy attempted to break into my grandparents’ house. He tried to enter through the porch door, and my grandmother frightened him off by staring at him through the window.
I learned that people like the "Home Alone" burglars were real, and that my grandmother was actually pretty scary too.
The same year, we started learning about stranger danger in school. I accepted that at some point during my childhood, someone would either kidnap me or break into my house. Clearly, it was a fact of life. That didn’t make it any less scary.
Last year, two of my greatest fears were realized:
- I accidentally used nail polish remover where I should have used eye make-up remover (it hurts badly, but it won’t blind you.)
- A burglar climbed through my bedroom window.
After dreading it for a decade and a half, the experience was actually kind of disappointing.
This year, if I watch "Home Alone", it will be for Christmas nostalgia value. If I can’t see the VHS we taped from television – complete with commercials urging me to "come see the softer side of Sears" – I won’t bother.
(When I looked up "the softer side of Sears" on YouTube the only (so far) comment to the video was "I will always associate these commercials with me watching "Home Alone" on television (on NBC, as I recall) during the Winter holidays in the mid-1990s." So I am not alone.)
But Carol of the Bells is still creepy.