Another Festive Ramble, Some Seasonal Globetrotting and ‘A Very Merry Christmas to You’

Well, it’s now or never, and I don’t mean Elvis’s version of O Sole Mio. In my seven years of blogging I’ve always written a few festive posts ahead of the big day, but none have so far been forthcoming this year. Life in the UK is a tad… challenging at the moment. Makes the writing of jolly upbeat posts harder than usual, but no reason not to try. As I’ve just mentioned Elvis, I think I’ll start the ball rolling with something from him, Blue Christmas, this performance from the ’68 Comeback Special. Was it his finest hour? Perhaps not, but it must have come close, and even sweeter as it came on the back of him being written off as an artist, after all those years holed up in Hollywood.


Quite an apt song to kick off with I think. For the past two years the festive season has been severely curtailed by the pandemic. The advice was always to keep all the doors and windows open if you were having the family round, which made things a bit cold and miserable. This year no-one can afford to both turn up the thermostat and celebrate Christmas, so again we’ll all turn blue with the cold. I’m jesting of course, or am I? It’s certainly going to be a tough time for many families. (At this point I have to share concern for my blogging buddies in the US, who if the forecasts are correct, are about to experience sub-zero temperatures of biblical proportions – please keep yourselves safe and warm.)

A Blue Christmas

Talking of families going through tough times, we still have a war, sorry Special Military Operation, being waged in Eastern Europe, causing so many families to be displaced. Several hotels in our town are hosting Ukrainians at the moment, and I noticed a few local charities had organised parties and presents for the children. Hopefully it cheered them up, but there is absolutely no doubt they would rather be at home in their own country with their dads. Let’s hope by this time next year that can happen. Like me you’ve probably heard this beautiful song being played many times in the run to Christmas this year, Carol of the Bells, written by Ukrainian composer Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych. He apparently used a four note motif as an ostinato (musical phrase) which was taken from an ancient pagan Ukrainian New Year’s chant. Here is a choir in full national dress, and a music clip from the very seasonal film Home Alone. Aw, Kevin McCallister, a one-boy army.

Carol of the Bells from Home Alone by John Williams:


Although I had no qualms about sharing that piece of music from another part of the world, this one I am in two minds about, but it has become a bit of an earworm this year. It keeps popping up on the radio and I couldn’t understand why, but Mr WIAA tells me it features in an advert, which always revives interest. Is it ok that I’m enjoying listening to a middle-aged white bloke sing a Hawaiian Christmas song? Not sure, but I think so. Mele Kalikimaka (‘Merry Christmas’ in Hawaiian, a language that doesn’t use the letters R, Y, C, S or T, thus the substitutes), was written back in 1949 by R. Alex Anderson who was a golfing chum of Bing Crosby’s. Bing enjoyed the song so much he recorded it with The Andrews Sisters in 1950. (Chevy Chase also seemed to enjoy the song in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation!)

Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters:


As often happens with these spontaneous festive rambles, things turn full circle. Elvis, as we know, made many films in Hawaii and also staged the Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite event in 1973 watched by millions all over the world. He’s not looking quite as healthy as he did in the Comeback Special (a Christmas Special when first aired in the US), but his voice was still as strong as ever. Let’s listen to a bit of Blue Hawaii to take our minds off how cold it is both inside and out this year. Still hard to believe he was found dead only four years later at the age of 42.


This might seem like I’m veering way off tangent now, but bear with me. I’ve kind of missed the boat now, but I really wanted to host a Fifty Year Retrospective this year, as 1972 was when I really started to get into music, big time. It didn’t happen, obviously, but I still thought I’d have a look back at the UK Singles Chart from this week in 1972. The usual suspects, T. Rex, Slade, Elton and Michael, were present and correct, but back in 1972 those Osmond Brothers were sweeping the board with three singles in the Top Ten.


We’ll ignore the one at the top spot but when I watch the rest of them perform Crazy Horses (they were way ahead of their time as it’s a song about ecology and the environment), the Osmonds remind me of little Elvises in their bejewelled jumpsuits (starts at 0:17). Watching them now, not so cool, but back then I was definitely the right demographic for Osmondmania and had their posters all over my bedroom wall. In my defence I was only 12. In their defence, they must have taken fashion tips from Elvis.


So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I do enjoy a festive ramble and how bizarre to end up with the Osmonds but all because I started off with the line, ‘It’s now or never’. We’ve watched Elvis in his Christmas Special, visited the Ukraine and Hawaii, returned to a jumpsuited Elvis, before finally revisiting the UK Singles Chart of Christmas 1972.

This year we’re going to DD’s for Christmas Dinner after teasing them it was their turn. She’s seen me do it often enough, so I’m sure it will go well. My little mum will be in her care home, with those who have become her new family, the staff and residents. It’s sad that she no longer recognises us but just how these things go. I’ll leave her presents for her to open on the day.

Merry Christmas to everyone who visits this place. I hope those of you who celebrate it, have a lovely time (and please…, keep warm).

One of the baubles made by my mum, many years ago

Until next time…


Mele Kalikimaka Lyrics
(Song by R Alex Anderson)

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that they send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here, they know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

I’m a lonesome traveller from so far away
And I won’t be home on Christmas day
But I’ve got some friends to help me celebrate
In the land where hula maidens sway

Here, where life is easy going, I have come
To mingle with the fishes in the Hawaiian sun
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

(Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say)
(On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day)
(That’s the island greeting that we send to you)
(From the land where palm trees sway)

Here, they know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas
Mele Kalikimaka
A very Merry Christmas to you

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

26 thoughts on “Another Festive Ramble, Some Seasonal Globetrotting and ‘A Very Merry Christmas to You’”

    1. To be fair I haven’t been a fan for 50 years and I was a pre-teen at the time but thanks! They did like having a party in their colour-coded suits.

      Merry Christmas to you too.

      Like

  1. Merry Christmas from cold and snowy Ontario, Canada. Hunkered down for Christmas with our daughter and family. Our ‘music’ consists of Christmas songs from Apple music as the grandparents get humiliated by the grandkids in board games I didn’t even know existed. Nobody wants to play Monopoly anymore!
    Alyson, your memories of Elvis and the Osmonds bring back memories of my first exposure to many recording artists via black and white TV often hosted by Ed Sullivan. Today we have too many channels, multiple devices and Ladbaby manufacturing a #1 @ Christmas almost on demand.
    Here’s to more music and memories in 2023.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keep warm Damian and family – the pictures we are seeing on telly of the cold weather look desperate. Hope you avoid the worst of it.

      Nobody wants to play Monopoly! We still have all these games but they can take a fair amount of time to play. Wonder what the new ones are.

      Yes, it seems the Ed Sullivan show was where you North Americans first discovered lots of new artists. For us it was probably Top of the Pops. Very different landscape now – Yes the charity single raising money for food banks has again hit the top spot, and the rest of the Top 30 seems to be stuff from the last 60 years – even Brenda Lee is in the Top 10 at Christmas this year. It used to be really exciting finding out who would get the Christmas No. 1 but those days are long gone.

      Have a lovely Christmas.

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    1. Merry Christmas to you too. Hope you have a good one.

      (The licensing deadline has been pushed back by six months so who knows, the holiday hideaway may still have legs!)

      Like

    1. With a ramble you just never know where it’s going to go, and I stayed up far too late last night working on this one. Didn’t feel right not posting anything Christmassy though.

      Yes, hope you both have a lovely relaxing Christmas. Enjoy a well-earned day off!

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    1. I think you’ve mentioned that before Neil – that is one marathon session but he no doubt has plenty of material to work with. So many Christmas Songs.

      Keep warm and hope you’re not affected by the freakily low temperatures.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Christmas to you and your family too. Hope you have a good one.

      As I’ve been saying to the other North Americans, hope you avoid the worst of the sub-zero temperatures. Stay warm.

      Yes, everything about the ‘68 Special was fantastic and a very apt song it being a Christmas Special to boot.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the whistle stop world tour, Alyson!

    Mele Kalikimaka has been popping up a fair bit on my playlist this year, albeit a relatively more recent cover by KT Tunstall. Scotland seems even further from Hawaii but sounds lovely!

    Thanks for your support and kind words over at my blog this year and your own excellent posts here on WIAA. I always enjoy discovering a new entry from you and the comments from others. I struggle to respond to every post but I do read and value each one.

    Have a very happy Christmas, look forward to what comes next!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Khayem – Yes, the KT Tunstell version has been popping up most on the radio but because of the advert Bing’s version has been played too, so I stuck with the original.

      To be quite honest I still suffer from ‘imposter syndrome’ even after seven years of blogging (as I’m not really a music blogger but rather a rambler who includes songs), but people have been kind enough to drop by so I’ve kept going. As you say, sometimes the best bit is reading the comments that come after and I often learn so much more. Thanks for joining in when you can. I’m in awe of your daily output and would only dare to leave a comment at your place if I knew the artist quite well – that said I sometimes have a different memory of them and their music so although I often feel I’ve made a fool of myself with my silly comments I will no doubt continue into 2023!

      Merry Christmas to you and your family too – hope you have a good one.

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  3. Your so-called ramble sure was chock full of food for thought. Thinking about those guests you have at hotels around town this Christmas. Times are tough for sure, but then you think of them and realize even with grocery and heating bills out of control we still have a lot to be thankful for. On a lighter note, I love the ‘68 Comeback Special. I’m going to pull out that show at some point over the holidays. It’s been too long. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Alyson. Hope you have a good visit with your mom. – Brian

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    1. Merry Christmas to you too Brian and family – Nearly over here now but your day will still be in full swing. Hope it’s been a good one so far.

      It does give you food for thought doesn’t it. Things are hard for many people at the moment with all the economic crises going on, but in comparison to those who have lost everything, and are displaced in a strange country, we still have an awful lot to be grateful for.

      I haven’t watched the Comeback Special for a few years (probably for a blog post about Elvis) but it did feature heavily in the Elvis biopic that I went see earlier in the year so I can remember most of it. If you do manage to rewatch it soon, I hope you really enjoy it. The final song, If I Can Dream, gets me every time.

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  4. An enjoyable festive ramble, Alyson. Just what I needed while everyone else in the house is watching the Strictly Christmas Special. Hope you had a good day.

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    1. What with the World Cup and now Strictly Come Dancing you are being tested at the moment. Hope you find things in common to watch over the rest of the hols.

      We did have a very good day and hope you did too. Merry Christmas.

      Like

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