Won’t Be the Same, Dear

I’ll have a blue Christmas without you

Some of us lose someone to unrequited love, the subject of this song.

I’ll be so blue just thinking about you

Many of us lose a life partner to death. Most of us lose our parents, and friends.

Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree
Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me

This lament could have been written for 2020. This Christmas we’ve all lost time with loved ones after losing a world we relied on and took for granted. At the very least.

When I went looking for a version of Blue Christmas to include here, I found more than I expected. That’s the internet for you.

I found the original version by Doye O’Dell in 1948.

I found a mellow version by Gentleman Jim Reeves in 1963.

I found the most-famous version by Elvis Aaron Presley. This 1968 recording comes complete with girls screaming.

And I found some magic: a duet by the King and Martina McBride in 2008.

Wait. What? Elvis died in 1977. How could he sing a duet in 2008? And with a singer who was only 11 when Elvis died?

Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke

Well, OK, maybe it isn’t magic, but it is cool technology.

As we tell the kids these days, all feelings are OK. Are you feeling blue this Christmas, even just from time to time? Then own it. Belt it out with the King; sing along with me. Who knows? Maybe we’ll make our own kind of magic.

And when those blue snowflakes start falling
That’s when those blue memories start calling
You’ll be doing all right
With your Christmas of white
But I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas
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6 Responses to Won’t Be the Same, Dear

  1. I love the Elvis version. He does sound mournful.

    On the other hand, I didn’t have time to be blue this year because the three crucial days (Dec 24-26) were buried in movies, Christmas and otherwise. Binge-watching is new to me and quite disorienting. Suited to this year. I was oddly relieved to revert to normal activities today, not that they are spectacular in any way.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – Yes, binges (of any sort, I fancy) mean the rest of the world drops away. I used to get a similar disorientation when coming out of extended proposals. “Oh! There’s a world out here.” And I find it interesting how some voices are so suited to particular songs, as Elvis is to this one. I just learned this year that Johnny Cash recorded The Gambler before Kenny Rogers made it his own. Cash was a good singer, but not for that song.

  2. The Doye O’Dell version takes me back my move to Ottawa at age 3 (1944) and the country music playing on the radio that was such a contrast with my mother’s classical piano playing and formal church singing. Those harmonies and audible lyrics made a deep impression. My early love of country and folk got a huge push when I married a folklorist and moved to his research territory, the Arkansas Ozarks. Recordings by The Blue Mountain Boys and other such groups and the concerts by the genuine folk of the mountains, such as Granny Riddle who knew over 500 folk songs, many of them ancient ballads, provided all my music for several years. I must delve back into those old recordings sometime soon.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – If you haven’t seen Ken Burns’s documentary Country Music, you might enjoy it too – at least the early episodes.

  3. barbara carlson says:

    You’re forgetting all the family members who are relieved not to have to “make nice” — families are tricky. Suspect a sigh of relief washed over a few harried wives in not having to make dinner for 12 this year.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Fair point. I’m usually so relieved not to have to cook the turkey that I am blind (perhaps willfully) to any hostess stress.

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