Back in the late 60s/early 70s, Zellers sold A Very Merry Christmas: Volume 3. It was an album with a lot of big name stars (at the time) and other talent belting out seasonal songs.
Mom bought it, and every Christmas growing up, she pulled this one out to play it. It’s actually quite a good album, with the music arranged mid-20th Century orchestral style only slightly veering into elevator music (more on that in a moment). As we got older and left home we heard this less and less, depending on whether or not we could get home for the holidays.
Of course, with the advent of the Internet and streaming music, it was only a matter of time for it to appear on YouTube and other streaming services. So for the last 10 years, every Christmas when I called up my sister Kathie to talk about Christmas plans, or when I was staying with her family in Edmonton, I would do my version of a “Rickroll”:
The Real Meaning of Christmas by the Ray Conniff Singers
This was the one “Elevator Muzak” type track on the album. Not to put down the skill of Ray Conniff or his choral group. At the time this style was popular. But now….yeesh. And the weird “Live as the Master may say” bit. I get that it’s referencing God/Christ/Magical Sky fairy but every time I hear that line, my twisted sense of humor immediately goes to some kind of the S&M/Master and slave kink play. Authoritarian mindsets and religion relies on that dominant/subservient relationship which is why I’m an atheist, but yeah…that’s a YIKES from me.
Kathie, long suffering from any teasing from her baby brother, would always respond with “Okay, I’m gonna hang up the phone now” or “Okay, I’m leaving the roooOOOoom”. Well, this year she left the room forever (#fuckcancer ).
I miss you, sis. Now this song – besides being schmaltzy – will always be a bittersweet symphony for me.