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12 Songs of Christmas: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Metaphors Are Lies

12 Songs of Christmas: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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Each day until Christmas, I am going to write briefly about a Christmas song I enjoy. Because I can, that’s why. And I an unabashed corny dork.

This song single-handedly made a mediocre movie (Meet Me in St. Louis) a classic. It, and Judy Garland’s performance of it, are that good. I suspect that the timing — 1940, as the world war is dragging on uncertainly — added to the poignancy and impact of this song when it first premiered, but the message, like all great art, is universal.

This is not a happy song, but it is an honest one. At least the original version is — don’t fall for the saccharine whitewashing that Sinatra insisted on — It does not pretend that everything will be all right for all time — “Someday soon we all will be together/if the fates allow”. It does not pretend that happiness is guaranteed or simple — “Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow”. But it never gives up hope that it can be achieved. Very few things are more in the spirit of Christmas than that.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were near to us
Will be dear to us once more

Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So, have yourself a merry little Christmas now

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