The Best and Worst Christmas Songs

The scene at Clifton Mill last week, all aglow for Christmas.

The scene at Clifton Mill last week, all aglow for Christmas.

It’s that time of year when you listen to so much Christmas music that by December 26th you’ll be begging for it to stop, wondering how you ever became so foolish. Then when Thanksgiving rolls around next year, you’ll be begging to break out those tunes again. It must be stated that there are some Christmas songs infinitely better than others, and all manner of authorities have attempted to rank both the best and worst in the hope of creating click bait that will boost their sites. I, however, would never stoop to such a level – would I?

Well, what the heck, it’s Christmas! You’ll forgive me for posting just one holiday related article. Therefore, I have ranked for you my five most favorite and least favorite Christmas songs (in no particular order) and will explain the rationale behind my decisions. The general criteria include tune, lyrical content, and a certain emotional factor (i.e. warm fuzzies vs. extreme annoyance). Here goes nothing… Continue reading

The Worst Christmas Ever

"The Mystic Nativity" by Sandro Botticelli, circa 1500-01

“The Mystic Nativity” by Sandro Botticelli, circa 1500-01

Henry was having a terrible Christmas – possibly the worst Christmas ever.

One might almost say he was experiencing hell on earth, and not just because he was in the midst of producing a translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, famous for its fanciful depictions of hell in all its ghoulish glory. He didn’t need Dante to tell him the meaning of suffering and despair. He was all too familiar with both.

Two years earlier, his beloved wife, Frances, accidentally set her dress on fire. He heard her cries from a nearby room and ran to her aid, throwing himself on top of her in an attempt to extinguish the flames. He sustained serious burns in the process, but none so bad as his wife’s. She died the following morning. Henry’s grief was absolute. He stated that he was “inwardly bleeding to death” and resorted to taking drugs in an attempt to dull the pain.

But that was only the beginning of Henry’s troubles. Indeed, his wife’s fate served as an apt metaphor for the world around him, which was in its own way going up in flames. Continue reading