#MusicMonday – December 18, 2017

Wow, are we really one week away from Christmas?


I swear, you spend the week after Thanksgiving on a much-needed vacation, and you wind up losing a week of the holiday season.

Still worth it.

So, I’m sitting here eight days before Christmas (because I’m actually writing this on Sunday), watching the Giants get slaughtered AGAIN (running theme), while wearing #10 in a sort of proud but sad dignity.

(Game break, :30 left)

And the Giants lost.

No surprise.

Anyway, back to happier moments…with music!

Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, buon Natale, Frohliche Weihnachten, Merikurisumasu, and Mele Kalikimaka.

Whatever the language, there’s a translation for Merry Christmas.  As a native English speaker, I know it in my language, as well as that of Spanish (because four years of class), French (because at Christmastime in 7th grade, I was learning French), and Italian (because I am, and I better know it!).  But I also know the greeting in Hawaiian, because I watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation alot as a kid.

I’ve forever associated this song with Clark Griswold’s poolside dream.

But in reality, this song had actually been said for many Not-So-Hawaiian Christmases prior to time Clark Griswold’s fantasy played it for him.  It was written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson, and one of the earliest recordings came from Bing Crosby (he of “White Christmas” and that awesomely odd “Little Drummer Boy” duet with David Bowie) and The Andrews Sisters (they of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”).  That happened all the way back in 1950.

The song has been covered by many artists over many years, including The Beach Boys (no surprise!), Jimmy Buffett (again, no surprise!), Don Ho (overkill, but…no surprise!), Bette Midler (she grew up in Hawaii, so no surprise!), and 311 (….surprise?), among many others.  I have the classic Bing Crosby version, but also the Seth MacFarlane version.  I’d love to see Michael Buble cover this, but it would be a bit much to expect Chicago to do the same (they don’t have that sound, but they’re not above making it their own).

Let’s just say I’m not expecting the horns of the Windy City to conquer Hawaii.

Whatever version you’ve heard, however many times you’ve tried to hula to it (don’t judge…I’ve done it), and wherever you heard it first (I’m 35 years old, of course I wasn’t going to have heard it any sooner than I did!), the song is timeless in its wishes of a beautiful Christmas.

Whether you spend it in the frozen icy tundra of some ridiculously winter-laden state that I have no intention on ever visiting in December (seriously, I love visiting Chicagoland, but you’ll never see me there during the winter), on some sandy beach in a much more livable place, or as I did last Christmas, in the mountains of Southern California (also quite capable of sustaining my life), this song will always remind us of Christmas in another language.

And Hawaii.

A merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas to you!

One week (and counting!) to go!

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