I just made EW's list of "100 Great Christmas Bummers" with my song "Xmas is the Saddest Day of the Year"! Not only that, but I was number…10! Right below Prince's "Another Lonely Christmas," but above William S. Burroughs', a "Junky's Christmas". I'm so excited… I never make lists.
Christmas was not always sad. I grew up a mostly secular Jewish girl, but I loved Christmas so much more than that boring old Hanukkah. Christmas had "Silver Bells," "White Christmas" (both written by Jews, by the way!) and we had that friggin annoying Dreidle song. Christmas is always on the 25th-- predictable and comforting -- while you never really knew when Hanukkah began. Christmas signified the birth of the Lord, while Hanukkah was about oil burning for a longer time than expected. The birth of the son of God wins hands down in the miracle department if you ask me.
Plus, there were the great Christmas TV shows: The Grinch, Charlie Brown, that old movie with Natalie Wood… There were trees, stockings, advent calendars, and of course gifts. Our family would light the candles for Hanukkah, but I would get to open up the gifts that were hidden (not so well) in my parent's closet Christmas morning.
Also, Christmas day was when all the relatives came over. My mom would make the turkey and Uncle Nat would separate the white and dark meat with his own fancy electric carving knife.
There was old Aunt Esther, who was a WAC in WWII and a bad dentist (everyone said so). There was Bubu, my grandmother, who had the largest selection of polyester pantsuits in history. Zaidie, my sweet grandfather, smoked cheap cigars (which I loved the smell of) and was always very old world. My other grandmother, Nanny, was more elegant than Bubu -- she wore the grandest clip-on gold earrings. The family was rounded out by my dad, my older brother and Pinky and Poochie (the mutts).
After dinner, we would engage in that grand old traditional Christmas activity: five-card stud. We played for pennies, and on one magical Christmas I ended up 65 cents richer. Oh, how I loved the 25th of December!
It's been over 20 years since my dad died. The aunts and grandparents are long gone. It's now just my brother, my mom and me. I am close to them, but we live in separate towns and have pretty much given up on our Christmas gathering. Now, as an adult, I have a great life with great friends and a loved one, but it's not the same: No poker, no electric carving knives, and no funny sweet old women in pantsuits.
Side note: I do love Manhattan this time of year. I think I will go on Jetblue.com, book a flight, and play ping-pong at Fat Cats. It's a new Christmas tradition.
On another side note: the song was co-written by James Maistro. I recorded it on an 8-track cassette recorder. I put it on a Christmas CD that I only sold on my website. I am surprised that the guy at EW heard it.