It's Friday night and Carole and I are unwinding from a difficult week. She's on her laptop and I'm on mine. Dish Network has a holiday channel playing nothing but Christmas music and the carols are playing softly in the background. Which leads me to a treatise on those carols.
Don't we all have some that instantly transport us back to our youth? You know, back when it was normal to say and use the word "Christmas" on commercials and advertisements. Whenever I hear "Come let us adore Him", I'm instantly zipped back to the 5th grade, where I'm standing in the front hallway of Mt. Auburn Elementary, singing that carol with classmates as students are escorted past us to start the Christmas break.
But when I hear two particular songs, I get the spirit...the Christmas spirit. These make me smell fir trees, see colored lights, and think of presents. One is "The Christmas Song". You know, the one with chestnuts roasting on an open fire. I heard on a local radio station that this song was written on one of the hottest summer days ever in California. Whoever wrote it, seems like it was Mel Torme, was jotting down things that reminded him of cold weather and the holidays. Nat King Cole recorded it and the rest is history.
The other is the ubiquitous "Silent Night". That one gets me in the mood to give and receive. Of course, when we were all younger, the thrill was receiving. Now it's giving. That's one of the great things about having grandkids. You can again relive your childhood excitement as you watch their faces explode in joy as they rip away the wrapping paper. At least, it better happen that way.
On the flip side, one cannot discuss the worst carols without shoving "The Twelve Days of Christmas" to the forefront. What a beating! All that repetition and nonsense! And the very slow, incongruous "five golden rings" right in the middle. Anyone who can listen to this thing all the way through, if they are still alive, needs immediate psychological evaluation. The song is a bucket of ice water thrown on the Christmas spirit. And close behind is one about the little drummer boy. Please. Deliver me.