“The lights on my tree, I wish you could see, I wish it everyday.”
I grew up with very traditional Christmas music. The 1960’s were when you could purchase an LP for $1.98 at the supermarket full of all the classic songs like “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” and “A Few of My Favorite Things” by various artists including Johnny Mathis or The Ray Conniff Singers. Occasionally you’d buy an album by a stand-out like Bing Crosby. I still treasure the 2 Christmas records I have by him.
“Merry Christmas, Darling,” by the Carpenters was my first sort of non-traditional Christmas pop-song. I’d hold my dad’s little transistor radio (which I’d snuck from his second dresser drawer) to my ear, and, at barely 11, sing along with Karen, trying with all my heart to understand her longing.
Through the years more and more Christmas music has been added to the songs I love. Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers have produced some great stuff. Lee Greenwood sings a couple that always pierce my heart. The Partridge Family album still makes me laugh and I even enjoy a Motown Christmas. Harry Connick Jr. is great for seasonal cheery tunes as well as some sacred and I do love the 90’s Mariah Carey album. And let’s not forget that Amy Grant, is a Christmas-music genius.
But this year, I am feeling very traditional again. I am reaching back to music I grew up with, the songs my mom played on the Hi-Fi during my early days. I am less about the pop side of Christmas and anything that has been produced since 1970 and on, and sort of loving melodies that have been recorded so many times no one even remembers who did them first (like “Winter Wonderland”) and some that have been recorded a lot but the first recording is all that matters (like “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby).
The cool thing now is, of course, that “Merry Christmas, Darling” is a classic. It IS one of the old tried and true songs of the season. And now I understand the deep sentimentality. For I wish, if I might “have the wish that I wish for tonight,” to gather everyone I love from near and far together during these long, dark winter nights to laugh and remember, to sing and make merry, to be close and bask in the 6-7000 lights on my tree. And we could play Karen and sing…
That I wish you a Merry Christmas
Happy New Year, too
I’ve just one wish on this Christmas Eve
I wish I were with you, I wish I were with you.
Bed space is limited here. So if you are going to come and see me and make my wishes come true, please call in advance.
pictured: The Moslander family Christmas card, 1968. Jeanie, Joey, Timmy, Tammy and Danny (Love love love to my siblings! Please note: I was reading from The Children’s Book of Knowledge – which is why you are all so successful and smart. You may thank me with a very nice Christmas gift.)