Christmas Can Be Cool: “Blue Christmas”

1 Dec

In an attempt to get myself more in the habit of updating this blog, I’m going to put aside some time every day until December 25th to write a few words about my favorite Christmas entertainments.

Elvis Presley’s rendition of “Blue Christmas” inadvertently illustrates both what people love and hate about Christmas. It’s somehow schmaltzy and tender at the same time. It’s dated and timeless. We acknowledge it as a calculated effort to tug at our heartstrings, but then it goes ahead and tugs those heartstrings all the same. How does it do it? It simply recognizes a universal truth: Christmas is a sad time for a lot of people. It doesn’t try to moralize that truth; it just recognizes it. It’s hard to say where, but underneath all the goofy background singing and Elvis-doing-what-Elvis-does obviousness of “Blue Christmas,” there lies a genuine yearning, lonely heart.

(I especially love Low’s “Blue Christmas,” but I’m saving their Christmas album for another day.)

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