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“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is, of course, the saddest Christmas song ever. Which is why it’s one of the best. The lyrics promise that our troubles will be out of sight, but the melody tells the truth: our troubles are here to stay, next year and forever after.
The song was originally sung by Judy Garland and nobody can conjure false optimism better. Frank Sinatra recorded his version in a state of near suicidal depression in the midst of his breakup with Ava Gardner, but the lyrics were still too sad for him. He asked the songwriters to change the line “until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow” and they came up with “hang a shining star upon the highest bough.”
Sixty years later the Beths have recorded a version that perfectly captures this doomed attempt at jolliness. And their video nails it as well. Puppet videos rarely evoke this much emotional connection. I’m not going to spoil the ending but you should watch it.