I have a confession to make. A deep, dark confession: I don’t like Christmas.
I don’t like that it goes on for months, that the normal satisfaction of giving things to the people you love is soured by obligation/time-constraints/commercialism/OHDEARGODTHESTORESARECROWDED.
And more than anything else, I hate Christmas music. I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it. It’s all forced frivolity and saccharine sentiment and anachronistic references that no one really understands anymore. Some of the songs are creepy and not in a good way. The morals are ambiguous. The guy singing Baby, It’s Cold Outside is not taking no for an answer, and what is up with Rudolf? Everybody hates a misfit until he’s suddenly useful to them? Thanks but no thanks
But really it’s the merriment. Ugh, merriment.
In the iconic Doctor Who episode, Blink, Sally Sparrow memorably mentions loving old things because they make her feel sad. Her companion asks what’s so good about sad, and she answers that it’s, “happy for deep people.”
While I’m not necessarily calling myself deep, I’m with Sally. Sad things make my heart clench and my eyes damp, and everything hurts in a way that makes me feel alive. I’m a feelings junkie.
And while there’s plenty to be depressed about this time of year, there’s precious little to sing along to that really gets the ribs aching.
So in that spirit, here’s a list of my favorite sad songs for the season. Enjoy!
River by Joni Mitchell
I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
Oh, I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
Things We Don’t Need Anymore by Jenny Owen Youngs
The stars shine bright
Left my heart underneath the tree
You won’t be home to open it so I’ll put it back inside me
Winter Song by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles
This is my winter song
December never felt so wrong
Cause you’re not where you belong
Inside my arms
A Long December by Counting Crows
A long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember the last thing that you said as you were leaving
Oh the days go by so fast
Okay, okay. Yes, I am an emo bastard. But still, I’ll be keeping these songs on rotation the next few days as I try to fight off the merriment.
May your holidays be full of candy canes, eggnog, and people you actually like.
Until next year…