Emili Recommends: “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole

Growing up, Christmas truly was the happiest time of the year. I still love the holiday, but working part-time in a hotel restaurant while I finish my credential means Christmas is not my own anymore. While I may not have the same childlike glee and anxiousness as December 25th approaches as I once did, Christmas and its soundtrack never fail to bring back warm memories and a nostalgia that is impossible not to indulge; Christmas decorations go up promptly Thanksgiving night.

Decorating a Christmas tree alongside Bing Crosby, Eartha Kitt, and Judy Garland has been an annual tradition in my life. In the days leading up to Christmas, I can remember waking up to these classic Christmas melodies. My mom made it our home’s holiday wake-up call, and I loved it every morning. Waking up to the harmonies of The Drifters a la Home Alone made it impossible not to get into the holiday spirit. I began a new tradition at some point. I’d have to ask my parents at what age this evolved, but every morning as Christmas music filled our home, I would collect my holiday breakfast —  donut holes and milk —  and lay my head beneath the Christmas tree as I consumed my treat. Looking up into a myriad of colorful lights and dangling ornaments I had intricately placed that year soon became just another legendary weird thing my family reminds me that I would do as a child. I have no shame. I may or may not still do this when no one is watching.

Though I love all Christmas music, I have one companion in particular when indulging in my holiday quirk. Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” transports me to a Christmas dreamland the moment the piano and violins begin. Cole’s velvety voice and charming tone sweep in smoothly as he narrates beautiful Christmas images of roasting chestnuts, carolers, mistletoe and sleepless, curious children anxiously awaiting Santa Claus. While we never had a functioning fireplace at my house, Cole’s voice would warm the room as soon as his track would play on our Holiday Hits album, blanketing me in his comforting chorus. Drifting into his musical invitation and simple phrase, Cole lures even a Scrooge into the holiday spirit as he gifts us with his soothing “Merry Christmas.” The most beautiful record of the season, “The Christmas Song” is a holiday must, at least for kids from “one to ninety-two,” that brings me a beautiful nostalgia and comfort as I relive my childhood memories and create new keepsakes. Even if your December is scarce of merry opportunities, let “The Christmas Song” be your holiday haven, even if just for three minutes.

(Song recommendation by Emili Lamph)

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