By Amanda Rogers
The Christmas that I was 16, my best friend Donna and I were flat broke. So we parked my Firebird at the gast station beside the only stoplight in town and watched people drive by. (This passes for fun in a small town.)
Everybody in our little town would eventually drive by, some would stop to say hello, everyone would wave.
The best part was listening to “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” over and over on the car radio. We kept scanning and heard it at least a dozen times, singing along at the top of our lungs.
I can’t hear “Grandma Got Run Over” without thinking of that night, Donna and how much fun we had.
People seem to fall into two categories: those that love Christmas music and those that don’t. You can guess which group I fall into. Every Christmas season, it’s like getting to see old friends that you haven’t seen for a year and all the memories come rushing back of family gatherings, holiday movies and our kids’ Christmas productions.
I’m not completely obsessed, I do listen to other music during the holidays, but I love having the option to turn on the car radio and dial up a memory.
And I totally understand people who work in retail and food service who hear the same Christmas songs on repeat until they’re ready to punch Mariah Carey in the nose if she even starts to hum “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
Turns out psychologists are split on the mental health value of Christmas music too, with some saying that the memories and expectations the songs bring can lead to depression or anxiety. Others say that Christmas songs make people happy and improve their mental health. Probably, both are right.
If someone has recently lost a job or a loved one, the holidays are not going to be fun and the sound of Karen Carpenter belting out “The Christmas Song” isn’t going to help, and Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” could even make it worse.
The year that we were getting ready to move across the country, Judy Garland’s wistful “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” made me cry every time I heard it. My husband was starting a new job and we had to already sold the home that we loved. Our children were saying good-by to their school friends, while our large network of work and church friends kept coming by to give us an extra hug. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” still makes me cry.
Because of the memories and the nostalgia associated with Christmas songs, people can have a strong reaction to it. So like with all prescriptions, the amount needed differs from one person to another.
As Burl Ives would say, have a holly jolly Christmas with just the correct dose of holiday cheer.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.