12 Days of Seasonal Songs to Soothe Your Soul (Day 12)

And here we are, at the end of this series for another year. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that I’ve shared this song before. (I suspect at some point it will become as much a tradition as “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses.)

Not only do I love this song, but I also love this week. It’s about as low-pressure as my life gets. There’s still work to do and the house to clean, but everyone’s home and more relaxed than usual. The bustle of getting ready for Christmas in my large extended family has ended, and while I miss those traditions now that they’re over for another year, I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve, and celebrating the new beginning that a new year naturally engenders.

When I was a child, the week between made me a little sad. My father used to tell me I had the “Christmas blues,” a melancholy kind of sorrow for the end of the holiday. (That was before I wised up and began insisting that my family actually do something fun every year for New Year’s Eve.)

Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick tell a funny story about this song, and in fact, about the album it’s on. They wanted to make a lucrative record and decided the way to do was to make a holiday collection in time for Christmas. But Coulton didn’t want to make any covers of established Christmas songs (especially the tired ones I started this series on my blog almost a decade ago to rebel against). He didn’t want to use the words “merry,” “cheer,” “joy,” etc. So they were left with the “darker” and more morose side of Christmas.

Except this album of all original songs isn’t “dark” or morose at all. (Well, unless you count a couple of songs that have a twistedly funny sense of humor.) One Christmas at a Time is actually one of my favorite holiday albums of all time, and the song I’m including today, one of my favorite tracks on it.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is completely aspirational for me. I have a moment to rest, a moment to do whatever the heck I want, and a moment to imagine the possibilities I will make of the coming new year. It’s lovely. Just like this song.

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