"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is one my all-time favorite Christmas songs and, as far as I’m concerned, this is the only acceptable version. The original. Judy Garland in "Meet Me In St. Louis," 1944.
It’s bittersweet (at best), but believe it or not, this is actually a cheered-up version of the song. The original version was penned by Hugh Martin and included holiday bummers like “Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last/ Next year we may all be living in the past.”
Lemme take a second to put my hands on my knees and recover from that shot to the solar plexus.
Thankfully those were rejected.
Frank Sinatra wanted to include the song on his “A Jolly Christmas” album and felt the line “Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow” didn’t fit that whole “jolly” theme. It was changed to “Hang a shining star upon the highest bow” making it an inferior version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”!!!!!!!!
See, I like my Christmas songs with a twinge of sadness. Ask anyone who battles anxiety and/or depression and they will likely tell you that the holidays are a very difficult time. There are expectations that are never met by any holiday, especially if you’ve lost loved ones through death, divorce or other circumstances. No holiday season could ever live up to the Hallmark commercials so many of us feel like we’re supposed to be living.
The reality for so many people in those situations is that we do muddle through the holidays, our brave smile plastered over the emotions bubbling underneath.
This will be my second divorced dad Christmas. It will be totally different from last year, because the holiday schedule is flipped. I will have my girls on Christmas Eve for the first time, but they leave for a long time at noon Christmas Day. In between all the cheerful celebrations and new traditions I’ll be starting with Ursa Major and Ursa Minor will be periods of blueness as their absence looms on the horizon and then becomes a reality during “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
And I’ve got it easy. I’m a joint-custody dad. My heart breaks for those who want to see more of their kids, but don’t have that right secured. (If you could see more of your kids and don’t want to, this doesn’t apply to you.)
Hug a single parent this holiday season. Hug a divorced person. Hug a single person. Hug a depressed and/or anxious person. Make some time to see them. Don’t force an "Isn’t this ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’?!?!?!?" moment. If they’re sad, let them be sad. If they need to vent, be an ear. If they need to be a little festive, do that, too.
That might be just the thing to help them have a merry little Christmas.
I had a conversation with a Tumblr friend - a brother in the struggle - about that phrase. “The one that got away.”As far as appellations go, it’s a pretty lame one.
It doesn’t really make things feel better. Neither do “I wish I would’ve worked harder on us…” or “I feel like I missed out…” or anything like that.
Those regrets, or second thoughts, don’t really heal. I think they make things more difficult, especially if said by someone who walked away. That means you’ve gone though the heartache of being cut loose only to find out that maybe you weren’t really the problem in the first place. You’ve been dropped so someone else could go find happiness - which, clearly, you couldn’t bring them. But guess what? They didn’t find that happiness.
There’s regret on the other side, too. To know that you mishandled something valuable and worthwhile. It heals nothing. All have still gone through the pain.
Here’s to no more ones that got away. Here’s to those who choose to stay.
"…We may not live up in the sky,
Where the air gets scared when the planes go by,
But you can hop up on my shell
When we crawl across the highway.
‘Cause we might get flattened today,
But at least we lived here long enough to say
‘Hey hey, you’re the one for me’…”
The question, then, is what one word? I think I have the answer finally.
ˌpərsəˈvi(ə)r/ verb 1. continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.
I think it fits me. Or at least I’d like to think it does.