Every year at this time I break out my favorite Christmas CD–the diamond anniversary edition of Holiday Inn and White Christmas with songs by the great Irving Berlin. Warm memories of watching those movies annually with my parents on the old black and white through the ’50s and ’60s, remembering their enthusiasm for the vision of life and Christmas presented by those two classics. The big band sounds of another era–the ’40s and ’50s–and the best and happiest of what they remembered of their times–all come back with each song.
Listening to the CD, I remember my Dad singing along with Bing Crosby, the feeling I had while watching each song or dance number. Exquisite and exceedingly sweet or precious–all of it. It all comes back–those times, those memories, those deep bonds, the feelings of those times–the ’40s and ”50s, magically communicated 71 years later (Holiday Inn, 1942) and 59 years later (White Christmas, 1954), the memories of war camaraderie in the latter movie, and the sorts of extremes one would go to, to honour those who had once been part of one’s (war) life. So special, remarkable, and now-thoroughly, but charmingly passé.
I appreciate the places and memories I return to each year thanks to the following songs:
I’ll Capture Your Heart
You’re Easy to Dance With
Be Careful It’s My Heart
I Can’t Tell a Lie
Song of Freedom
I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For
Let’s Start the New Year Right
Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep
What Can You Do with a General?
The Old Man/Gee I Wish I Was Back in the Army
Once one gets past the tragic darkness in/of It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, there are these two wonderful movie takes on Christmas, and if one ever needs more of a lift, one needs look no further than an old New Year’s tv favorite–the effervescent Singin’ in the Rain with the ever-sunniful Gene Kelly.
Romance, comedy, history, and making-your-own-fun-and dreams-come-true. All such large and wonderful seasonal worlds that lift any sagging year-end spirits–movies and music that have delightfully transcended time and our oh-so-limited/limiting, diminishing modern era.