Have yourself a merry little Christmas | EDITORIAL

And now there is a strange calm in the bustling streets and shops. In many homes, the living room rests ankle-deep in a flow of ribbon and paper and bows, while in the background someone has left the TV on — Alastair Sim for the 55th time on his Bright and Shining World. Opened the window, and asked the boy in the street what day is it?

It’s Christmas morning, sir. And yes, we definitely know the shop on the corner with the big, fat goose still hanging in the window.

Perhaps by the end of the day, when the most expensive new Christmas gadgets and electronic devices have finally become obsolete, there will still be a toddler or two who will still be delighted by this old champion of Christmas cheer, the unsettled, still-unsatisfied. will be playing with exhaustion. : The empty cardboard box in which the gift came.

A fancy high-tech toy has no choice but to remain a fancy high-tech toy, you see, while the cardboard box Frontier Fort, a hot rod with a stick shift, has its own virtual reality in the form of a lonely airplane. can become It’s snowing dangerously as it makes a perilous climb over the Andes…

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Parents of the youngest will be upset that the vacation didn’t go exactly as planned. That’s when the grandparents are allowed to place a sympathetic hand on their shoulder, recounting the Christmas when Grandpa hunted high and low for just the right red Texaco fire truck, only to find that The child in question spends the day enthusiastically constructing a Javanese gamelan. Old pots and pans were systematically looted from the kitchen cupboard.

“Commercialization”? Since Christians did not invent history – simply superimposing their celebration on the winter solstice week, a week of feasting and rejoicing celebrated by the Romans and pagan tribes for a thousand years – it is generous to protest this. Less known are whatever traditions others like. Weather

Even if it involves an animated Santa sledding across the snow on a highly unlikely rotary-blade razor. (For that matter, some of us also pine for the throaty women who used to sing to us about shaving cream and cigars.)

Even to us it seems ancient and modern holidays are not so good: superstitious ancients lit bonfires and took sacred mistletoe and evergreens indoors for fear that the ghosts of the dead might haunt the longest of the year. And go abroad in the dark night. year. Yet they were looking on the bright side, celebrating the fact that each lengthening day from this point promised the important return of spring.

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Here’s a day for friends and family, to re-celebrate our freedoms and the graces they have created.

There is a tendency to think that today’s crises must be more complex and desperate than those of the past. Indeed, much of today’s skepticism disappears when we consider how the dismal Christmases of 1941 and ’42 and ’42 looked like the future for a generation of cold and lonely sailors and GIs and Marines. Balance is maintained. 43.

listening to the radio. When were these songs written? Isn’t it interesting how many people come to us from those desperate days?

Even today, don’t we have a moment of gratitude for the young men and women who stand frozen vigil on some lonely shore this Christmas day, wishing they too could be home sipping cider by the fire.

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It was to them that Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine wrote in the darkest days of 1943:

“Give yourself a little Christmas, your heart will be light. From now on our troubles will be out of sight.

“Have yourselves my little Christmas, make Yuletide gay. From now on our troubles will be miles away.”

“If fate permits, we shall all be together. Hang a twinkling star on the highest branch … and now treat yourself to a little Christmas.”

It was to these people that Kim Gannon and Walter Kent wrote in 1943:

“I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me. Please put snow and mistletoe, and presents on the tree.”

“Christmas Eve will find me, where the light of love shines. I’ll be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams.”

Merry Christmas everyone. May your days be happy and bright. And may all your Christmases be white. (Irving Berlin: 1942)

A version of this editorial first appeared in this space in 1998.


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