I’m not really a Grinch, I just play one on Facebook. There’s a lot about this season I really dig, though most of it revolves around eating, drinking and occasionally making merry with loved ones in true pagan fashion. In fact, I even have a favorite Christmas song: Hard Candy Christmas, written by Carol Hall and sung by Dolly Parton in the 1982 musical comedy Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.
To me that song truly epitomizes the season. More so than such standards as Santa Baby and Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time, both of which make me gag and roll my eyes peevishly. Maybe if I was part of the 1% I would feel differently, but as things stand on my end of the scale, all that forced jubilation and consumerist anxiety is embodied in just about every radio-friendly Christmas playlist out there.
Whereas most seasonal songs are happy, upbeat and blissfully out of touch with the real world around us, Hard Candy Christmas is about as down-to-earth as you can get and still be considered festive. For those of us who view this time of the year as one of quiet reflection and a preparation to start another year of ups and downs, it’s the only song to which we can truly relate.
So don’t judge me too harshly if I’m not exactly ecstatic about December 25th and would rather punch that jolly fat man in the chops than welcome him into my home. The world around us is falling into dereliction and barbarity, it’s the 21st century and we’re still judging one another based on culture, religious beliefs and the color of our skin. Glossing over the ills of the world in favor of Madison Avenue fantasy and fleeting false hope seems wholly impractical.
Rather than feeling compelled to rack up debt and become a rosy-cheeked, glassy-eyed, pumpkin-spice-willing, frivolity zombie, I just want to curl up next to a warm fire with a glass of coquito and contemplate the coming year. Is that so bad? I’ve got a lot to think about. Fighting cancer ain’t cheap and my time seems just a little more precious than it has in past years. That’s what having a Hard Candy Christmas is all about,
I really hope I’ll be “fine and dandy,” but I harbor an awful lot of anxiety about that formless future looming ahead of me. As the song goes, “I’m barely getting through tomorrow, but I won’t let sorrow bring me way down.” Life goes on and so will I. Just as I have done for every Hard Candy Christmas that has preceded this one. The only real difference is, this time the stakes are a little higher…