‘Twas Christmas Eve, babe...
I went out for a meal the other night with friends. The conversation turned to Christmas songs, and I said that there was only one that mattered as far as I was concerned.
They looked at me, waiting for my choice – ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.
Several nodded sagely, agreeing with me that it was a true classic.
My husband, however, disagreed. “But it’s not jolly.” he said. “You can’t have a Christmas song that’s not jolly!”
“But that’s the point.” I countered. I believe that a Christmas song doesn’t need to be happy and, in fact, is all the better for not being.
Before you put me in the Grinch category, let me explain. I think that this song serves as a reminder that not everybody will be having a happy yuletide. Personally, it’s at this time of year when I particularly think of homeless people, struggling to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures. Or elderly people with no family to visit, lonely and alone. Or the bereaved, where Christmas highlights their loss. Or the depressed, who think that everybody else is having a great time but them.
Not everyone will be having a ‘Perry Como’ Christmas, and that’s what this song is saying.
So whilst I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, I ask you to spare a thought for those less fortunate while you listen to the dulcet tones of Shane McGowan and co singing the best Christmas song ever. Altogether now:
“And the boys of the NYPD choir were singing
, Galway Bay
And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day.”