Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas 2020


I have a friend who listens to Christmas music all year round, or so he claims. I do love Christmas music, though I prefer the emotions it would stir up when I was a kid, a time when all I really had to do was tear open gifts. The older I got, the less I appreciated Christmas for the "It's A Wonderful Life" or even the Kramden/Norton moments of the holiday season, and instead focused more on the undue pressures and disappointments that seemed to accompany holidays. The carols only made it worse.

I have vivid memories of visiting friends and family on Christmas Eve, on what seemed like an endless night of happiness that always had fluffy white snow and colored lights as we either walked or drove from house to house. I swear I saw carolers, too. Even as late as my teenage years and early 20's, I'd be bustling around in a mall with friends, looking for last minute gifts and not minding any of it. We'd always stop for a beer with our baggage and bulky winter coats, scrunching up as close to the bar as possible, all while being soundtracked by an endless supply of Christmas hits that seemed to be magically piped in to each of us individually. No one minded. Just add sleigh bells and we were hooked.

There was also a brief period in the late 70's and early 80's, when I'd attend a midnight mass. The church organ and pageantry of it all was as warm and wonderful as anything associated with Christmas, even if I awoke a day later, as Mr. Non-Believer once more. For that hour though, it was hard not to believe.

I don't feel that too much anymore, though I'd like to. Even the most absurd, non-traditional Christmas songs, like Spiraling's mash-up of "Do You Hear What I Hear" with The Who's "Baba O'Riley" can bring a sudden rush of melancholy instead of joy. And this year? Forget about it! A pine-scented Christmas tree air freshener dangling from a rear view mirror can do me in emotionally, so forget about Christmas music all year round. I'd just as soon slap down some Motorhead and be done with it.

The next week is going to be tough for many of us, for one reason or another. It comes with the territory, even pre-pandemic. But we will make it. We always do, don't we? I won't be doing my annual Polar Bear swim in Coney Island on New Year's Day. It's one more event, canceled for good reason. But that also means I won't have a symbolic cleansing. A washing away of the old. An ice cold rebirth. And this is one year I need it most. Maybe I'll just sit in a bathtub of cold gin on New Year's Day instead.

I hope Christmas of 2021 will be a time we can look back and wonder how we ever thought the yuletide season was anything but the best time of the year. Maybe next year, I won't fight back the melancholy with a Deep Purple record, and just allow "Silver Bells" and "O Holy Night" to do their thing.

Whatever your perfect Christmas is, I hope it finds you.

Merry Christmas.



And to you Sal!

A weird / messed up Christmas is kinda fitting for our weird / messed up 2020.

Always remember how much Burning Wood means to so many of us. Thanks for everything.

Here's to a 2021 filled with music and joy.

Ho Ho Ho

paulinca said...

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you! Thank you for this site; it's a part of my daily morning ritual.


Anonymous said...

Really nice post, Sal.

Thank you again for adding a little something to my day, everyday.

Merry Christmas, my friend.


cmealha said...

Merry Christmas and thanks for all the music!

Ken D said...

Thanks for keeping the turntables spinning and not giving up in general. Joyeux, sir.

Christine said...

This post, along with the mashup and lovely little reminder from Ralph Kramden, certainly gave me a warm and wonderful Christmas feeling today. Christmas music is a special kind of music. My wish for you is that the emotions felt in childhood come back to you someday while listening. I will make sure I play my own classics from childhood, as corny as they may seem today. (I won't even go there! We all do what we gotta do!) Merry Christmas to you and yours! Thank you for the music.

ozoned said...

You make a difference Sal...Thank You

Anonymous said...

Well, I like Xmas music, and not even for the childhood memories. As a lifelong non-believer raised in a non-believer family, I connect anyway with the depth of feeling of the most religious and haunting of Xmas music, and there is that in spades in Silent Night (one of my favorite songs), O Holy Night and Carol of the Bells, as just a few examples. It's like when I visited Notre Dame (the Parisian one) as a teen and saw how spectacular it was in person; I imagined how magical the windows, architecture and vocals (Latin echoing off the stone walls) would have been to some poor slob whose life was mucking about in the mire 500 years ago, and I could see how effective such a place would be as marketing something to reach for. Didn't matter to me what kooky ideas were marketed there, I just appreciated the place on its own, objective terms. Same with Xmas music.
Aside from all that, the holidays are a time when I see all my family, and they are a kick-ass bunch o' folks, so that's never had a negative connotation. Two-thirds of 'em are gone now, but I've got a pair o' 11-year-olds and nieces and nephews along with the remaining sis and bro to keep it joyous for the foreseeable future.
Thanks, Sal, for keeping the door open. I swear you post more now than last year, and that ain't nothing but fine, fine, fine.
C in California

OldRockr1 said...

Here's to a better 2021!

I don't comment enough but I stop by here most every day and have for years. What you've made here is important to so many and I thank you for that. And for the records too...

Merry Christmas!


Joe said...

Between your blog and your records for sale, you have added a great amount of musical pleasure to my life. Merry Christmas Sal. Joe

FD13NYC said...

I know exactly how you feel. As we get older Christmas is washed in different ways, it can be a little uplifting and very depressing in one wave. Hope you and Melissa are doing well. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you both from me and Ginny.
Hopefully we'll get together in the New Year. Never give in and keep up the great work.

heartsofstone said...

Thanks you. For all you do for all of us. Hopefully 2021 will be a better year for all of us.

David Handelman said...

Saddest about your Coney Island diplessness. So no Silver Balls.
We do always make it, but these next 28 days are gonna be worse than icy water.

Keith35 said...

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year Sal. Stay Safe

hpunch said...

Spot on summing up, as usual

May it be the closet thing to merry.l

pmac said...

Thanks for all that you do here, Sal. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Gene Oberto said...

Merry Christmas, all, and a Happier New Year (if possible.)

dogbreath said...

What a long strange year it's been. Thank goodness for your blog to help keep us on the right side of sanity, so keep on keeping on with that, please. Have a great Christmastime. Don't forget to give The Lamia another spin. Cheers!