Archive for December 2013

Ella Fitzgerald

Hurry, wish her a swinging Christmas back, before she gets her head crushed between those presents!

Ella Fitzgerald’s 1960 Christmas album, Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, is easily one of the greatest Christmas albums of all time. Filled with Ella’s positive vibes and good ol’ Christmas fun (containing a version of just about every great secular Christmas song you could ask for), it’s the perfect accompaniment to all but the most dour of Christmas parties (if there is such a thing). Hearing it is truly a highlight of every holiday season.

But on the 2002 CD reissue, Ella’s 1959 recording of “The Secret of Christmas” was added. A song written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen for Bing Crosby, who released it the same year as Ella’s version, it brings all Christmas merriment to a screeching halt. Not because it’s unpleasant, bad, or sad, but because the song can’t help but make you get introspective for a few moments during and after the few short time that it lasts. “The Secret of Christmas” reveals in the most simply stated lyrics, along with a beautiful melody sung perfectly by Ella, just what it is that lies behind the Christmas spirit:

It’s not the glow you feel
When snow appears
It’s not the Christmas card
You’ve sent for years

Not the joyful sound
When sleigh bells ring
Or the merry songs
Children sing

The little gift you send
On Christmas day
Will not bring back the friend
You’ve turned away

So may I suggest, the secret of Christmas
Is not the things you do
At Christmas time but the Christmas things you do
All year through.

Words to live by in one form or another, no matter which holidays you do or don’t celebrate. Kindness and good will toward all living things is always in season.

Merry Christmas!

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