Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas   

Photo by Julia Larson on Pexels.com
Published 23rd December 2022

Here’s the thing…

It’s Christmas again. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. But let’s be honest for a moment. Isn’t it all a bit much? Be jolly. Be merry. Be bright. Erm… no. It’s hectic, it’s stressful, and after two years where Covid has been hanging over us like Scrooge, 2022 feels like a pressure cooker. And the Christmas pudding is set to explode…

Someone who says it better…

“Someday soon we all will be together, if the fates allow. Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.” – Judy Garland – ‘Meet Me in St Louis’

Here we go then…

Yes, thank you Judy, those are the correct lyrics to ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. I’ll be having none of this “hang a shining star” nonsense. Listen to Judy people. Why? Because she knows that this festive favourite is not a merry song at all. It’s sad – a song about loss and longing. You may think that sounds far too depressing. You might prefer to shove “shining stars” down our throats. But remember that scene in Disney Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ where Joy tries to get Bing Bong motivated with toxic positivity and it doesn’t work? Yep. That’s what you’re doing. Sometimes we need Sadness to motivate us, as she acknowledges our pain with a knowing smile, before guiding us gently by the hand. 

Let’s be honest for a bit then, shall we? Christmas is not always the merry, happy time we’re told it should be. If Covid has played the part of Scrooge these last few years, then it’s fair to say that the ghosts of Christmas get to play their role in haunting us every single year. 

For some of us the ghost of Christmas Past seems to wave a hand towards the empty spaces at the dinner table, where precious loved ones are no longer there. 

Whilst for others, the ghost of Christmas Present likes to pull us in all directions like one of those toys with the stretchy arms. It doesn’t matter how many times you remind yourself that you can’t be all things to all people, you still manage to feel guilty when you inevitably can’t do it all. 

(Oh no you can’t.) 

Finally, we come to the ghost of Christmas Future. As the new year beckons, so too do those terrible uncertainties. For many, the Cost of Living Crisis brings a dreaded January, whilst for others all of those niggling hopes and dreams just remind us that yet another year has passed by without success. 

And there we have it – the three ghosts of Christmas. Merry little Christmas indeed. Sorry, not what you had in mind, as you sip on your prosecco and enjoy your mince pie? I apologise. Truly. But haven’t you read enough meaningless saccharine nonsense? There’s a reason we all love Emma Thompson’s performance in ‘Love Actually’, as her heart is broken, and she allows herself a mere five minutes of pain before she slaps on a smile and carries on – and that’s where I take my inspiration for this month… 

Let’s get creative…

I started this blog to embrace my creative writing, so I’m trying to challenge myself to write a poem, short story or flash fiction to accompany every post. (Makes another coffee. Procrastinates. More coffee.) Right, here goes… 

“Slap on a Smile

A piece of verse by Chrissy Kett

You’re tired. You’re burnt out – a hollow shell, running on nothing but adrenaline. 

But slap on a smile – it’s Christmas. 

You’ve already said goodbye. Still you see them everywhere. They should be here. 

But slap on a smile – it’s Christmas. 

You’ve filled the tank. You’ve done the shop. Overdrawn limit looming. 

But slap on a smile ­– it’s Christmas. 

A subtle dig here. Another one there. You should be here, there, and everywhere. 

But slap on a smile – it’s Christmas. 

Slap, slap, slap – your cheek’s smarting. But you’re still smiling. Why? 

Because it’s Christmas. 

Time to remove that slapped on smile and step into a theatre… 

Shed a tear – it’s ballet. 

Furrow your brow – it’s drama. 

Laugh like mad – it’s stand-up. 

Tap your toes ­– it’s music. 

Adjust your glasses – it’s art. 

Wink, giggle, cry, and clap 

For here, there is no need to slap

That smile onto your face. 

No need to force it back in place. 

Because it’s theatre. All emotions welcome. 

And it will always be viable. 

Because it’s Christmas? 


Because without it…

there is no Christmas. 

Enough creativity. I’m a ‘Type A’ personality–give me a list!

Five ways to get your dose of theatre this festive season… 

  • Pantomime – It’s panto time. Oh yes it is. It’s been a few years for many of us since we last went, so pop down to your local theatre, and enjoy this traditional riot. 
  • The Nutcracker – Is there anything more festive, than Clara dancing through the snow? Let your heart sing to some Tchaikovsky. 
  • Carol Concert – Pop along to a carol concert for all the festive classics. 
  • Musicals – Catch yourself a musical and tap your troubles away. 
  • Ticket Free – On a budget this year? There are still lots of ways to catch your dose of creativity. Check out the Royal Ballet’s rehearsal videos for free on YouTube, or set yourself some uninterrupted time to watch a DVD, listen to your favourite tunes or read a book. And if you fancy a stagey start to the New Year, Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Old Friends’ concert is airing on BBC 2 on New Year’s Eve. 

Let’s cut to the last eight bars shall we?

I confess I’ve stolen this from my mother-in-law, but it’s one of her many sayings that I just love. 

Okay, so let’s get this blog wrapped up, and ready shall we? Let’s be clear, I haven’t written this blog because I dislike Christmas. I actually love it. It can be magical – a special time of year to prioritise time with our loved ones. But I don’t like the toxic positivity that surrounds it. I don’t like the pressure that gets placed on one single day, and the impact that places on our mental health. So this Christmas, let’s own up and share with our family if we’re finding it all a bit much. Let’s try not to slap on smiles at a cost to our wellbeing. (She says whilst getting ready to pop on a nice red lip for the festivities, and play the part of stress-free angelic host) After all, it’s a part I play very well. But that’s the problem isn’t it? Too many of us do…

Well, there we go, that’s the end of our Viable blog series for 2022. And don’t feel bad if you’re not “hanging shining stars”, I promise you we’ll “muddle through somehow”.  So… 

Have yourself a merry little Christmas now. 

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About Me

Hi, I’m Chrissy! I’ve started this blog to celebrate the Arts. I’m a performer who’s taking a little break from being a ‘talking prop’, and am enjoying the teaching and writing side of things. If you want to know a little bit more about me and my writing journey check out my About page.

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