|Image "borrowed" from Epicurious|
No, Christmas is NOT over, not by a longshot. Are you confused? See? That's what you get when start Christmas the day after Labor Day. Today is just the last day of Christmas DAY. Sunday is Epiphany, just as big as Christmas itself. Then another week till the Baptism. I am in the CENTER of Christmas here. Too bad you are missing out!
So, after a busy morning, I have been reading and listening to Christmas music. A channel called "Rockin' Christmas" on Pandora, with stuff like the Ronettes, Michael Buble, Elvis, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and whatever else Pandora's box spits out. If it goes off focus, I down-vote it. Works pretty well, and free! (To me.)
After a few hours of this, I hopped in the shower. Ever notice how a shower works both ways? I mean, if I shower before bed, I go right to sleep. But if I feel like a wrung out rag, a shower can perk me up. Now I am well perked. This motivated me to prepare a little antipasto and a perfect Martini.
What IS a perfect Martini (actually, I should say near-perfect, because I believe the perfect Martini is impossible. I don't know if I will get around to explaining that in this post), I hear you longingly inquire? Well, as it IS Christmas, I will tell you. Here is my recipe, never published anywhere before:*
Five parts vodka (use something cheap like Smirnoff, not expensive stuff that you barely know is there), 1 part gin (I like good stuff like Tanqueray). Booze must be chilled at least. I keep mine in the freezer. Shake vigorously on ice, but not too long. Since the liquor is already really cold, the purpose of shaking it is some dilution, and those nice little chips of ice. If the hootch is warm, it will get too diluted. I like my drink to taste like a drink, not water. Then take a fully chilled Martini glass and swirl a little dry Vermouth in it. Pour out excess. You want -- that is, I want -- just a little Vermouth. Strain drink carefully into glass and garnish with two olives, stuffed with bleu cheese. Stuff them yourself, the store-bought kind are worthless. Now, if only I had a Martini glass that stayed frosty cold for an hour, then I would really have something! But, probably not perfect even then, as that is likely impossible.
So, I am enjoying my Christmas music, and I was thinking earlier about sad Christmas songs. There are so many of them! Why is that? Obviously, lots of people are sad at Christmas. I have been, too. I wonder, though, if there is more to it than that?
For Christians, Christmas is JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY, right? (The answer is yes, trust me, I am a certified expert.) So why so much sadness? Beyond the ordinary sadnesses of life, felt so much more acutely at this time of year, there is the sadness of unbelief. It always strikes me, when I read what passes for literature, especially in the last 100 years, how many authors are wistful about their loss of faith. Thats how Updike and and that bore from Mississippi -- Faulkner, it just came to me -- and others like them struck me. How can you not be sad at Christmas if you don't believe in Jesus, yet you celebrate? The only really happy part of Christmas comes from believing in Him!
Still, even for Christians, there is sadness: we know Jesus is born to die, we know Mary will suffer, the martyrs will suffer, beginning with the Holy Innocents. Right during the Christmas Octave, we have three martyrs' days. And then, we are sad because the Messianic Age Jesus promises to bring is obviously not here, amd we, ourselves, are not who wish to be.
Oh well, these are usually not what sad Christmas songs are about. They are about wrecked romance, or being unable to come home, or people being poor, hungry or lonely, or family members treating each other badly, or people dying...
Oh, hell, now I am depressed!
Haha! No, I am not! I feel great! But anyway, what do you think about sad Christmas songs? I think even "I saw mama kissing Santa Claus" is sad, don't you? What about "White Christmas," do you find it a little melancholy? What Christmas songs do you find sad? And, if you prefer, what "sad" songs do you actually not find sad?
If you want to hear about my Martini theory, you will have to ask in the comments. Mine is getting warm.
* This may not actually be true, but I don't care.