Finding genuine warmth amongst the plastic consumerist charade that the season of goodwill has become is a tough challenge these days. Christmas in the headlines revolves around our obsession with the department store and supermarket Christmas TV ads. The glittering starting gun to a season of wish lists, competitive christmas lights, plastic Santas, inflatable snowmen, positive affirmations and the chance to catch up with friends and family we ignore for the other eleven months of the year. For the JAM (Just About Managing) households the end of December is a black hole in the finances, credit cards get hammered to keep up appearances with gift giving and hoarding more food than we really need.
Yeah, OK, I’m a cynic, and it takes something really special to break through that. Emily Smith has done it with her Songs For Christmas album.
Smith has sidestepped the swamp of sentimental over indulgence that can burden many a Christmas Album by coming up with some deliciously light arrangements. She takes those hoary old classics of the season like Silent Night and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, pulls off their duffle coats and blows the dusting of fake snow away to reveal something altogether more lightfooted and uplifting. It goes down like a crisp white wine rather than a cloying glass of port.
So once again Christmas day will dawn, kids everywhere holding onto their faith in Santa Claus coming to reward them for being good, or bad. Parents perform culinary sleights of hand and feed fifteen from one oven and a microwave, simultaneously updating their Facebook feeds with public displays of affection for their kids, spouse, BFF or the next gin. Somewhere in that whirlwind of tradition and consumption, we all find the time to ‘…pray I have a life that’s good’.
Hey Santa, pass us that bottle will you…