Ghost of Christmas Past, part 8 of n

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Pop that champagne cork
Next year we may all be living in New York
No good times like the olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us no more
But at least we all will be together
If the Lord allows
From now on, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

I don’t know whether his experience at my undergrad alma mater informed Hugh Martin’s writing on Meet Me In St Louis, but the famously bleak original lyrics do reflect a lot of what I felt those four years at Christmas – even at home with the immediate family, I missed my friends and missed being younger. At some point in your life, everyone has to accept that Christmas will always be at least a little melancholy and you’ll always miss the bits you can’t go back for.

But you have to make your own way going forward. For some folks that means kids of their own, for some it means a good roaring drunk with your friends on Festivus night before facing the guns, for some it leads to crowded airports and crowded freeways. And thanks to an accident of history and calendars, it meant we were working right up to the Friday before Christmas Eve, and in my case, a two-week vacation that starts on the 24th. Twelve Days of Christmas indeed.

But it also means Christmas Tree Lane, and cable cars in the city, and live music at Symphony Hall, and lots of white peppermint mocha wherever I can get it, and a roaring holiday party with people flying in to attend and folks spilling out the doors, and presents under the tree waiting for the morning and the nephews and nieces. And that great gift of two weeks to just relax and get my head right, with friends and the family I chose myself.

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough, let the past take care of itself, forget about worrying about the future, and for once, have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

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