Jingle Bells Sounding Tired?

What happens when the most wonderful time of the year comes after the most devastating year in recent history for so many?

Many of us have gotten into the holiday mood and decorated our tree a little early, hoping to wrap up the rest of this stressful year on a positive note. That is actually pretty awesome. If you were lucky enough to survive 2020 with everyone in your family still being safe and cared for, that is absolutely a win worth rejoicing. Many were not so lucky this year.

If you’ve ever experienced grief during the holidays, you know just how jarring it can be when your pain is juxtaposed to a ubiquitous festive mood. With hundreds of thousands of deaths from COVID-19 around the world, it seems inevitable that the holiday cheer might feel a bit hollow for a significant number of people. I know because I’ve been there.

When we were writing “Christmas Feels Lost Without You”, it took me back to being 14 years old. It was a few days before Christmas when we got the news. A close relative, who was on his first family vacation abroad, had died unexpectedly. He was young and seemingly healthy. No one saw the heart attack coming. It sent my close-knit family into shock, grief and depression. Christmas was never the same after that. It always brought a heavy cloud of painful memories: getting that call, the chaos, the funeral, and all the non-joyful events that unfolded that fateful year. No one felt like putting up a tree or decorations for years.

It felt wrong and impossible to be jolly, but the holiday cheer was inescapable on the radio, on TV, in restaurants, and stores. I remember being so drained by the dissonance. I imagine this is what many are going through right now and I feel for them.

If you know someone who is having a tough holiday season, and you think this might help them feel like they’re not alone, please forward it to them. Music is what got me through it all.

If this is you, I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope this song and post helps you feel a little less alone. Although it may seem impossible now, I promise things do get better with time. For now, it’s OK to not be OK.

You can stream it for free (no signup required) on https://23rdhr.com/track/1894116/christmas-feels-lost-without-you

I see the tinsel, I see the lights
Everything's in place, but something's not right
They tell me that Christmas is just days away
But your'e not here, what's to celebrate?

When did jingle bells ever sound so tired?
Never used to be so cold by a crackling fire
This holiday season is dreary as January
Christmas feels lost without you

I can't find the cheer, I lost the joy
I might as well be in some kind of play
Going through the motions like an old machine gear
What would it take to bring you here?

When did jingle bells ever sound so tired?
Never used to be so cold by a crackling fire
This holiday season is dreary as January
Christmas feels lost
No matter what I do
Christmas feels lost without you

Written, composed, arranged, produced & mixed by 23rd Hour
More info: 23rdhr.com/christmas

Playlist for a sad xmas season

Spotify | Apple Music

I’ve also created a playlist on both Spotify and Apple Music with songs that might help get through a rough holiday season. Feel free to share with someone who needs it </3

Final thoughts

It’s been interesting to see how brands, TV networks, film studios and record labels have reacted to the pandemic in their end-of-year programming. Many chose denial and escapism over reality. Maybe they thought it would all be over by now when they were shooting/recording. I wonder what the reception has been like, and whether escapism has been a good business decision for them? To me, it seems like a missed opportunity to connect with people who are hurting and comfort them when they need it most. But at the same time, I can see how the rest of us might not have the energy to deal with anything but feel-good content at the moment. Either way, I hope 2021 brings hope and healing to all.

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