You probably hear them everyday now. Christmas songs are played most everywhere and if you turn the radio on, you will probably hear them being played even more. In some countries, Christmas songs are played as early as September. More often than not, though, the really successful songs are those that were created eons ago – the classics, as we call them.
Over the decades, though, year in and year out, artists attempt to come up with their own Christmas songs. I am not talking about remakes of the oldies but modern originals. Yet I still have to find one that can hold its own amongst Christmas songs of old. It seems that the experts are thinking the same way. Pete Paphides of The Times Online tried his hand at defining what a great Christmas song is:
An uphill struggle? “Yes, that’s one way of looking at it.” Displaying the laconic realism that was once the hallmark of his old band Squeeze, Chris Difford is contemplating the task that he set himself when the BBC asked him single-handedly to revive the pan-generational irony-swerving Christmas classic. Has he pulled it off?
When his choir-festooned, bells-blazing cockle-warmer Let’s Not Fight This Christmas airs on The One Show on BBC One tonight — all proceeds to Children in Need — you’ll get to judge for yourself. You would have to be “optimistic to the point of madness”, Difford acknowledges, to go into such an enterprise thinking that you might emulate deathless seasonal classics by Slade, Wizzard and the Pogues. “Not only are you fighting against the quality of those songs,” he adds, “but you’re fighting against the nostalgia people feel for those songs, not to mention The X Factor.”
He goes on to say that it seems that Christmas songs coming from the working class are more successful. I honestly do not know – I actually walked away from his article a bit confused. All I know is that a good Christmas song makes me feel nostalgic and giddily happy at the same time.
What makes a good Christmas song for you?
Who has not heard of the Christmas card? Just like many things associated with Christmas, most people all over the world know about it. I actually do not know anyone – from Europe, the Americas, and Asia – who has not received or given at least one Christmas card in his lifetime. Have you?
For many, though, Christmas cards are merely part of the celebrations. They do not really know the origins of this tradition. Let’s take a step back in time and see where this humble – but powerful – piece of paper came from
The year was 1843. The protagonists men named John Calcott Horsley and Henry Cole. These two men came up with the idea of what we now know as the Christmas card. Yet was this really the root of the card? Historians actually say that even as far back as the ancient Roman times, a form of the Christmas card was already in practice. It is said that the emperors in those times received tablets with engravings as gifts for the New Year. The practice was for the people to send these tablets to their leader. In a sense, those tablets were the first Christmas cards.
Obviously, as time passed by, modifications were made and the Christmas card as we know it today could be traced back to Horsley and Cole’s creation. It was in 1846 that the first commercial printing of the Christmas card was done. The design was simple – a family drinking a toast and the caption “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.” A thousand copies were made but they didn’t really sell.
From those humble origins, Christmas cards have gone a long way. Have you gotten and sent your Christmas yet?