There are times lately where this very lovely and slightly wistful holiday tune could easily be the poster child for Christmas 2020.

Kept in a proper 1971 context and set at face value, it speaks of a season of a separation far more than social distancing. There is an unwanted wide chasm splitting kindred hearts and agreeable souls. The amount of miles between is immaterial, whether tangible or in theory.

As the holidays of 2005 approached, I was newly grieving a very painful loss, one so fresh and raw that it engulfed my whole being. A most emotional song, “Someone Is Missing at Christmas” made it’s way to my ears, and my heart. Though not Elvis, it’s a beautiful song, and like this Elvis song we’re discussing, it also examines the pain of holiday loss. This song brought me to tears every time I heard it and the truth is it still elicits a painful reminder of sorrowful emotions. Do you know this song?

Over time, it eventually became a cathartic and healthy cry, both a release and a remembrance. Time does heal most wounds and things do change through life’s seasons. The hurtful circumstances don’t adapt but rather we emotional creatures have to learn to adjust with the realities we cannot control. Make no mistake, it is still both hard and harsh.

The holidays are marketed as a season of joy and happiness, an agreeable family togetherness intertwined with peace on earth, good will to man. Like oil and water and daylight and dark, the intention and the truth don’t mix. For many the holidays become a reminder of loss and a season of sadness, one which can be swept aside with busyness and routine most of the year and not dwelled upon. Then December’s glory shines bright and magnifies all of life’s unfilled nooks and crannies.

Commercially aimed at all we should be doing and feeling to have the appropriate holiday experience, loss becomes larger and solitude becomes lonelier, both real or imaginary – it matters not. The social media aspect seems to only compound the negatives.

The truth is this. Sometimes it may not seem like Christmas. Someone is missing. There are many miles between. Snowy and cold weather isolate. Memories become stronger and have a tight icy grip. Surely Elvis Presley had those same thoughts. He didn’t face our circumstances of 2020, but he too had loss and unasked for changes.

Familiarity of sounds and voices bring comfort. There are twenty Christmas songs in the Elvis catalog in assorted themes of loss, rejoicing, reverence and silliness. The 70’s voice, like this one, is a true healing balm of music to my ears. Non traditional and well known songs are all carried with the same sincerity. “Merry Christmas Baby” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” are riding over the hills and far away in the same sleigh.

Whichever the tune, it’s the singer and his tonal nuances that soothe and reassure me of a beautiful constant of the season.

Enjoy some Elvis over the holidays. While everything twirls and whirls around us, many changes much larger than others, this wonderful man’s voice thankfully remains constant as an honest and true love gift to help carry us forward. Always.

—————————————————————-

It Won’t Seem Like Christmas

(Words & Music by J.A. Balthrop)


Oh, it won’t seem like Christmas, oh, without you

Far too many miles are between

But if I get the one thing I’m wishing for

Then I’ll see you tonight in my dreams


Seems a long time since we’ve been together

It was just about this time of year

Looks like it’s gonna be snowy weather

How I wish that you could be here


But it won’t seem like Christmas, oh, without you

Far too many miles are between

But if I get the one thing that I’m wishing for

Then I’ll see you tonight in my dreams


In the distance I hear sleigh bells ringing

The holly is so pretty this year

And the carol that somebody’s singing

Reminds me of our Christmas last year


Oh, but it won’t seem like Christmas without you

Far too many miles are between

Oh but if I get the one thing I’m wishing for

Then I’ll see you tonight in my dreams

Yes I’ll see you tonight in my dreams.


Recorded 5/15/71, released on Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas