Judy Garland – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Meet Me in St. Louis
Year :
Billie Holiday / Liza Minelli / Rosemary Clooney

Let me start by saying that I have spent most of my life hating Christmas.

That being said, I’m sure it makes little sense to see me writing about what’s likely the quintessential Christmas song, from a musical, sung by Dorothy herself. However, its significance was entirely born out of the only “tradition” that my mother and I had when I was young. We’d sit on the couch pajama-clad with a rental copy of Meet Me in St. Louis and live vicariously through the extended, loving Smith family as they enjoyed an idyllic life of togetherness thoroughout all four seasons. My mom would laugh at all their silly hijinx and non-problems and once we reached the iconic Christmas Eve scene, I’d watch her silently fall apart as she wished she could be as young, as ethereal as Esther (Judy Garland) in her sparkling scarf. It was both incredibly beautiful and sad.

For me, Christmas has always been exactly that. Distant, glittering, and lonely.

The truth is I don’t have many fond memories of Christmas from my childhood to reflect upon. Most of them have been pretty terrible if I’m being completely honest. As an adult I haven’t spent a Christmas with my mom and brother in over a decade because we’re usually thousands of miles apart and it’s just not financially feasible. To add insult to injury, I’ve spent most Christmas Eves alone after working late for one of the many companies that doesn’t believe in time off, whether you have family close by or not. I grew to hate Christmas movies, music, decorations, and seeing everyone else so incredibly happy when I wasn’t. It can make a person bitter and terrible to be around. I know I’ve been both.

This year has been a blur but things have been okay, yet as the holidays neared, I worried that I’d fall right back into that incredibly negative person that focused on the whole season being over. I was wrong.

At some point this weekend, as I listened to bottles clinking in cheers and birthday toasts, as I saw smiling faces rosy with laughter and maybe a little booziness, and the soft light of a Christmas tree, I realized that the familiar grip of sad isolation that takes hold every December was gone, as if it had never existed. It had let me go and left me amidst my own extended, loving family, not so unlike the one my mother wished for every time she watched that film.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, realizing that some aspects of life can actually get better, when they seem like they’ll always be bad. I understand now that watching Esther sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” will no longer bring about the feeling that I’m missing something, because I’m not missing anything.

So this post isn’t for me. It’s for them. For J.T, Tori, Brian, Phil, Cassandra, Alex, Kerri, Emily, Derek, and for everyone else who has come through my little apartment and decided to stay. You fixed a broken kid. And I can’t say thank you enough.

Welcome to the Island of Misfit Toys, where there is always room for one more.

Today is Christmas Eve.

I am lucky. I am happy. And I hope you are too. Merry Christmas.

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Terri Rodriguez (@northeastshorty) is a self-proclaimed internettie, writer, artist, music and politics junkie, and craft beer lover interested in exploring the food/beer industry. If you see her around Providence she's likely clinking glasses, making jokes, singing songs, and/or causing trouble... the good kind only. Promise... Find her at TerriRodriguez.com.

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