Tell me the truth. Is any holiday song just too much for you? And, to let you know, right up front, I’m not a Grinch. Okay?
Since holiday music has been playing nonstop in stores and restaurants since Thanksgiving, I am feeling crazy. It’s not only stores and restaurants. White Christmas, Winter Wonderland and Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas dominate TV and radio commercials. STOP!
Think! What song makes you wince? Is it Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Jingle Bell Rock or Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer?
I’m not personally against any of these songs. I hate that they are played too often and too early. What I really hate is that they’re being played not for fun, holiday spirit, but to get people ready to buy, buy, buy. It wasn’t like that in the days of yore when I was a little girl.
When I attended John S. Read Elementary School in the days when dinosaurs ruled the world, the fifties, there was no Common Core. Maybe the teachers had a curriculum, but they seemed to be able to have flexibility in what they did. It seemed to me that we sang Christmas songs in the classroom all December.
The Camden Courier-Post distributed newsprint booklets of Christmas carols and holiday songs to the schools and these booklets provided us with hours of singing. My school was a public school and I look back and wonder why we sang religious songs when everyone’s family was not from a Christian background. It was great for me, though.
I loved all the songs and I loved the beautiful language of the traditional Christmas songs.. O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie, Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, The silent stars go by… Gorgeous, right? Whenever the Camden skies were especially dark and starry, I’d think of those words and how we shared the skies and the stars with Bethlehem where Jesus was born.
Each Courier-Post subscriber got that booklet with a December newspaper. I sat at our kitchen white enamel table, memorizing all the verses of all the songs. What gifts they were to myself–I still have all those songs, even the most obscure verses, in my head and in my heart.
I did learn, too, all the holidays songs that have become almost awful because they are played too much. They were fun, then. Hey, Jingle Bells was a great song, even though I’d never seen a one-horse open sleigh, except on TV.
However, as I was doing the breakfast dishes this morning, I caught myself singing–Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas!
Marguerite Ferra, Camden