Song-Black & Blue Christmas
For today’s Christmas Soundtrack I thought I would choose something lighthearted. Way back in the fourth installment of this blog I wrote about Chris Trapper, whom I consider to be one of the finest wordsmiths in music today. His songs are beautifully crafted, and have the ability to move you to tears, or howling with laughter. This song falls in the latter category, but of course as a Christmas song still has a little bit of sentiment to it. At the time I wrote the blog about Chris I was just about to go see him in concert again (lost track of how many times I have seen him now). After the show I bought his current album, and also a Christmas album from a few years ago, It’s Christmas Time. Digging it out again and thinking about what song to use here, this song, Black And Blue Christmas immediately became the choice. Being a wordsmith there are some beautiful and touching songs on the album, but this song speaks of a different sort of Christmas truth-the nightmare of chaotic shopping, traffic, and stress that happens this time of year. Have a listen-
I certainly am not immune to feeling stressed and ready to scream as the pressure of the Christmas season begins to rise every day it gets closer. Long lines in stores or the post office, fighting crowds, trying to hail a cab while laden down with bags, the onset of winter and bad weather, balancing time to wrap presents and write cards at the same time you try to manage your social calendar (since everyone wants to ‘get together’ at Christmas) is not easy, and leads to short tempers. Realizing that those pressures are all self-induced and that there are ways of counteracting them is the key. One way that I found helps is by going to the open air Christmas markets scattered throughout the city. In Manhattan there are ones in Bryant Park, Union Square, and my favorite (and also closest) is at Columbus Circle, right near an entrance to Central Park. They have a very European feel to them, with craft vendors and yummy food set up every day from now until Christmas. When you are at any of them, a great deal of that negative and stressful pressure seems to go away. People seem happy to be outside, they chat with one another, they chat with the vendors. They grab a hot chocolate and stroll throughout the market looking for unique, non dot.com types of gifts. It feels pleasant and civilized. It feels like what Christmas should be. It helps me counter that “shopping mall hell” as Chris Trapper calls it that can overwhelm you. Plus being in that environment makes the song even funnier when I stop and think about the people who are stuck in the world Chris sings about!
Black and Blue Christmas-Written by Chris Trapper
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