They say that more people commit suicide in December than any other month, due to "holiday blues". Apparently the increased suicide rate is "about as real as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Christmas can be stressful (gift-buying, seeing relatives you avoid with good reason for the rest of the year, eating and drinking more than you probably should etc.), but – at least statistically – this is all balanced out by joy to the world. Fa-la-la-la-la-la.
So on average, we’re all doing well. But if you’re not, the fact that everyone else’s increased happiness is keeping the world’s average joy up, isn’t really all that helpful. For those who are not so merry – for whatever reason – the idea that this is "the most wonderful time of the year" can seem a little bit forced.
And that’s why "Have yourself a merry, little Christmas" is one of my favorite Christmas songs. I’ve been told that I like depressing music, but that’s not true. I like sad lyrics, but they don’t make me depressed. I find "Have yourself a merry, little Christmas" comforting. Especially this part:
Someday soon, we all will be together, if the fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
That’s the part of the lyrics they changed, because muddling through wasn’t jolly enough for Frank Sinatra.
Plenty of newer Christmas songs are about being sad at Christmas, but this is one of the classics, first recorded in 1944 for the movie "Meet me in St. Louis". It isn’t some whining emo rant either; in the original scene, Judy Garland’s character is trying to cheer up her little sister.
This song is about acknowledging that things are not exactly as they should be, but you’re going to be ok, and Christmas will still be merry. Just in a smaller, quieter way.
I think Aimee Mann’s Christmas album has some of the same feeling to it. No fa-la-la-la-la, just quiet promises to try to be home for Christmas, a wish that it were whiter and of course reassurance that all your troubles will be miles away, eventually. Oh, and she covers Mr. Grinch.
- Judy Garland – Have yourself a merry little Christmas (the original) YouTube
- Aimee Mann – Have yourself a merry little Christmas YouTube
- Aimee Mann’s Christmas album "One More Drifter in the Snow" Spotify
Muddle through, everyone.