At the risk of sounding like the Grinch – and not for the first time, I might add – I have to admit that I’ve often had mixed feelings about holiday music.
I didn’t always have a problem with it. While I was growing up, the sound of Christmas music coming from the radio or record player meant that one of my favorite times of the year was approaching, and like most kids I was tickled pink. Never mind that it was for all the wrong reasons — Christmas presents, a long break from school, Christmas presents, tasty goodies everywhere, and of course, Christmas presents.
I think the proverbial worm started to turn (or should I say crawled out of the yule log?) in the early 1960’s when I found myself working as a young DJ on a small radio station. As the holidays approached, we kept programming more and more of the festive tunes into our broadcasts, and I began to hear the music in my sleep — and I don’t mean I was snoozing at the controls.
By the time Christmas arrived we were playing nonstop holiday music, and I was sick of it. It probably didn’t help that I had to work alone on Christmas Day. You know that old saying about misery loving company? I was all alone and completely miserable — especially when I needed a bathroom break and couldn’t seem to find a song to play that lasted longer than three minutes.
As the years passed and memories of those days faded, I gradually began to again enjoy the sounds of holiday music, but probably not as much as most people. And now, as I move deeper into my golden years – OK, my geezer years – I’ve turned into the musical Grinch, and I guess I’m blaming it all on that Christmas at the radio station.
Kitty Wells, who was at that time known as the Queen of Country Music, sang a lot of traditional holiday songs. She also had a few modern classics, such as “Blue Christmas,” but one of her lesser-known tunes would have been a better fit for my mindset that day. It’s a little piece called “Christmas Ain’t Like Christmas Anymore.”