Why is the Song, “Blue Christmas”, So Popular?

I hear this song several times a day during this time of year.  Why would a song with that theme be popular now when we are supposed to feel so happy?

We know a downer song does not necessarily reflect downer feelings.  The genre of music called “bluegrass” is filled with happy sounding instrumentation, banjos and such, but has lyrics about death, murder and lost love. But, its fans seem like a happy bunch.

Statistics about this time of year, however, do indicate something is going on with peoples’ states of mind.  Requests for mental health services goes way up.  We have to wonder why?

I suppose one possibilty is winter solstice, the many hours of darkness, might be taking its toll, but, we attribute it to the holidays.  Darkness of mood in some people during the short days of sunlight has a long history.

But, I’m attracted to what, I suppose, is conventional wisdom about the source of Christmas blues.  Today on the car radio I heard, “I hope this finds you surrounded by family and friends.”

This implies there is a “standard” for happy holiday circumstances.  If you do not meet these standards, do not have the circumstances of family and friends, you must be miserable.

I’m happy for all those who can spend some of the day with those, “family and friends”. To those who cannot, I wish for you a good day, not a blue one.

Remember, the standard is just in effect for tomorrow, then it expires.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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23 Responses to Why is the Song, “Blue Christmas”, So Popular?

  1. Bob says:

    Actually, its because I”m not with you that I’m so blue, Jon.

  2. Bob says:

    Seriously though, I agree. The religious/culture expectation do seem to be a bit damaging.

  3. Try vitamin D and some aerobic excersize. You’ll be amazed at the results.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 1:10 Vit. D and aerobic are good, I’m sure. Back home when I was a boy on the farm, I overheard some men say a little whiskey in the Winter got them through. That, and I think they cussed a lot, too, and that may have helped. : )

  4. Brad Campbell says:

    Hope everyone has a great Christmas season. Yes, exercise does help with “winter blues”.

    Actually, following the Bison FB team has also been an “uplift” this Nov/Dec. Going to Frisco, TX to watch them bring back a 1AA championship….hopefully.

  5. Bob says:

    Knowing its all a fairy story, one of many helps too. Because you laugh a lot. The baby Jesus story, the nativity, is a fairy story. Like Lord of the Rings and so on. Only no one has made a really great Lord of the Rings type of production about it. But then you couldn’t could you, because the story of the Nativity, is different in the book of Mathew than it is in Luke. Which Jesus birth story would Hollywood choose? Which religious factions would they piss off? That’s why its better to treat it like he fairy story it is.

  6. Bob says:

    Forgive me Jon for posting this, its a bit of a tangeant, but I feel it is so important as crony capitalists using our standing evangelical U.S. standing empirical military Jefferson warned us about, seems gearing up to war and scare monger against Iran and China.
    “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

    What will it take to wake up the US? The whole truth, from a historical perspective, that places ‘blame’ appropriately on the shoulders of many leaders, many groups. You may categorize me as a “blame America firster” because I am critical of the US role in the Persian Gulf War, United Nations Economic Sanctions, and the Iraq War. If so, then so be it. The US played key roles in all of these events and the consequence is shocking:

    In 15 Years (1991-2006), the US has caused/contributed to 1,405,000 Iraqi deaths

    Persian Gulf War: 150,000
    Gulf War Aftermath: Many thousands
    UN Sanctions: Primary cause of 600,000 deaths
    Iraq War: 655,000

    Important: Whether or not you believe that US foreign policy caused all of these deaths – the death toll is a valid, conservative estimate of Iraqi deaths in the past 15 years in excess of what would have been expected if there had been peace. PLEASE TELL PEOPLE THIS NUMBER — maybe it is big enough to shock the American public awake and cause them to realize the true devastation in Iraq: 1,405,000

    The Persian Gulf War did not have to happen: Hussein did not invade Kuwait until after he had received an assurance from April Gillespie that the “US had no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts.” Even if he had invaded, alternatives to war were available.

    Ron Paul is not perfect by a long shot, but he is the ONLY candidae, democrat or Republican, because he’s a Libertarian, who is talking about bringing ALL the soldiers from all the U.S. military empire’s places in the world, the only presidential candidate talking about not war mongering anymore. Obama is just another crony capitalist war mongering with the best of them.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Bog 2:44 Can’t argue with those facts about stupid wars– and the candidates for President who seemingly want to invade Iran.

      I saw an interesting clip–an interview with the political editor of the Wall St. Journal. He said the significance of Ron Paul is this. He is the only candidate bringing in new people to the electoral process. The significance of this is that if he wins in Iowa, it puts him in the strongest of positions, not to win the Republican nomination, Romney will do that, but to eventaully run as a third party guy. This would mean certain defeat for Romney. So, if Paul wins in IA, Romney will have to immediately pander to the Paul supporters to try and head off the third party. Interesting, then, to speculate what those changes in postion might be.

      The disclaimer, of course, is that we all like to think we know what’s coming next, and, we really don’t. But, it fun to do it, nevertheless.

      • Bob says:

        To Jon 3:54 I agree of course, we don’t know what’s coming next. But I can see in the main stream media how we are being manipulated to believe certain countries are our foes.
        I just happen to like the Libertarian stance of leave well enough alone. I can’ help but think, what makes us think, 300 million people, many of which are under the age of 18, and many who are vulnerable disabled, or the vulneralbe elderly, that we know what’s best for the remaining 9 Billion.
        Many like to say Ron Paul is an isolationist, but he’s rather a non-inerventionist, which means,

        “An isolationist is a protectionist that builds walls around their country, they don’t like the trade, they don’t like to travel about the world, and they like to put sanctions on different countries. So some of the people who call me that, are actually much more in favor of sanctions and limited trade, they’re the ones who don’t want to trade with Cuba and they want to put sanctions on anybody who blinks their eye at them. And yet, the opposite is what we believe in, we believe Nixon did the right thing by opening up trade doors with China, because that is when we quit killing each other and we are more at peace, which we better be, because they have become our banker. So non-intervention is quite a bit different since what the founders advised was to get along with people, trade with people, and to practice diplomacy, rather than having this militancy of telling people what to do and how to run the world and building walls around our own country. That is isolationism, it’s a far cry from what we believe in.” Ron Paul

        To me it won’t make any difference if Obama or Mitt Romney get into the presidential office, because I find them to be he same war mongerers and scare mongerers who will both keep up the status quo of crony capitalism and screwing over everyone.
        With all Paul’s faults, he’s still a Libertarian, and to me, that’s better for everyone if he can get even half of what Libertarians want in the government.

    • Henry says:

      “Ron Paul is not perfect by a long shot, but he is the ONLY candidae”

      I am not interested in having more fungus running our country. :)

      Seriously though, Ron Paul won’t get the Republican nomination, then he’ll run as an independent thwarting the purpose of the primary process. He is just the type.

      • If you want Constitutional and economic illiterates then vote for Santorum, Bachmann, Romney and all the rest. If you want a man of truth and understanding you have only one choice. Voting for Ron Paul IS NOT wasting you vote. Voting any of the other establishment candidate IS. This video says it all:
        http://www.ronpaul.com/2011-06-12/the-amazingly-accurate-predictions-of-ron-paul/

        • Henry says:

          Sure, Paul has some attributes that are appealing.

          My previous point was that I suspect he will get two “tries” this election cycle. The first try will be the Republican primary. The second try will be when he runs as an independent when he doesn’t make the cut in the primary. We’ll see if he has the integrity to not “party shop” when he doesn’t get the result he wants.

          I am afraid Ron Paul’s “integrity” will split the vote and give us the vacationer Obamba for four more years. At that point, voting for him is a wasted vote.

          If Paul wins the primary, we won’t need to worry about that scenario, and I will vote for him. I guess it is up to him to succeed in the primary.

          • Bob says:

            There will never be a “we” between the likes of you and me, Henry.
            Not ever.

          • Henry says:

            Bobby, Bobby, Bobby….what are “we” ever going to do with you?

            It is well within your character to bat down any possible agreement on any given point. Rather, you clearly base your agreement soley on personage.

            I do understand your plight. When the going gets tough, and argument becomes a little heavy, Bobby usually bails out and leaves his argument for others to carry his water for him. I can’t fault you for not having the ability, but it is just a tad bit irritating your bark is harder than your bite.

  7. Bob says:

    I forgot to add, Peace and Happiness to all in a non-war and scare mongering world.

  8. Bob says:

    To Jon 3:54 Jon, you are worried that if Ron Paul wins, someone like Romney or Newt will get the presidential candacy, but Libertarians are worried if Ron Paul wins he will get the blame when the economy tanks after being run by democrates like Obama and Clinton and republicans like Bush despite that Libertarians had nothing to do with it.
    Some Libertarians don’t even want Ron Paul to win because they are afraid Libertarians will get the blame for the inevitable economic crash they think is coming because of the way the dems and repubs ran the government for so long.

  9. Jon do you know what “Julotta” is?

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      buffalogal 3:19 “Julotta”?

      I certainly do. Went many times, maybe 6 AM? I understand it was held later and later in the morning after I left the farm. Tell me what you know about it?

  10. I have a friend in Sioux Falls whose Swedish Covenant church still has a Julotta at 7 a.m. on Christmas morning. They also have a really wonderful breakfast after the service, with a menu of Swedish foods…..lots and lots of them!
    I first read about it in a book I read by Agnes Olson Mangney who was raised by Swedish pioneer parents in a small community that was about a mile from where I live. It is “The town that disappeared” (Winnipeg Junction, MN) after the railroad changed the junction to Winnipeg and the town built around the first Winnipeg Junction died slow death. Agnes wrote about getting up at 4 a.m. and going to the church with her father to light candles, build a fire in the heating stove and practice playing the organ for the service. I wrote a long article for the local newspaper about Winnipeg Junction which was populated mostly by Swedish settlers in the 1880′s. The town “died” about 1906 when the railroad changed the junction but many old foundations and other relics still exist at the site. People still live in the houses at WJ also and they have a Mayor whom I interviewed for another followup article. The local history was so fascinating I cannot stand to let go of it. The old Swedish graveyard is also there with msot of the Swedish pioneer names on the old stones. There are also “unknowns” buried there…given decent burials by the people of WJ when transients died in the town during the height of its railroad days.

  11. P.S. An amusing story by Agnes Mangney about the Julotta was that the Christmas tree was lit by burning candles and a Mr Westberg was at the back of the church with a wet mop to rush forward if a candle started a fire!!! Agnes had candle wax dripping on her neck while she played the organ!

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      buffalogal 4:14 Thanks for those great stories about Julotta. I recall stories from my Father’s generation that young people, all staying in relative’s homes overnight, would try to stay up all night until the early Julotta service. I can imagine the children thinking they were gettting away with something not allowed at home, and the parents happy to endulge with such a thing once a year. My memory of getting up early and the service is that it was all quite exciting–a “project” as it were that eveyone in that tiny circle of people had a hand in.

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