We can all agree that 2016 was pretty shitty. All around. For everyone and for countless personal, national, and global reasons. There's nothing you can really say to make it better in the face of larger issues and a piece which sends out goodwill and cheer to all seems like a farcical cry for attention, but we're gonna do it anyways! (We know that the beginning is dense and dark, please read through to the end)
The night of the election I, like every other person I knew and have met since, cried while texting friends before calling my mom who told me, "I don't know how, but we will get through this," and it's a sentiment I'd like to share with you. It seems insurmountable but somehow we will make it through the next four years after one of 2016's last insults to humanity. Small minds have been given strength and validation, but I do believe that our generation, for all the mocking we take of our stance as SJWs and 'lazy Millennials', will be known for our empathy and care for others and I think these next four years will give us more opportunity than ever to exercise our right to love and overcome, through peace or fight, when we're being expected to turn in.
Black and brown lives matter, wearing a hijab is as open to society's discussion as wearing a cross on your neck, gay rights are human rights and the only people who make a mockery out of marriage are those like the president-elect who's cheated his way out of 2 marriages so far, and intersectional feminism needs to have some tough talks about the fact that white feminism has forged ahead without the rest - we have to stop putting one person ahead of another if anything is going to change. This is all without discussing the very real fact that we're about to experience a mass extinction among animal species; that climate change - an absolute fact - is being written off as 'liberal propaganda' for the next 4 years; that white nationalists have been given the nice little misnomer of 'alt-right' as if extreme radicalism in any form is safe; that public education and proper minimum wage are both on the chopping block (because, apparently, literacy is not a right); and that in our lifetime we watched genocide take place and, as fellow human beings on this Earth in 'safe' countries by chance alone, allowed the powers that be do nothing for years.
It's not right - and is certainly unfair to the generation after us - that so many of these Christmas songs from when our parents and grandparents were our age or younger are still relevant. That "Someday At Christmas" is everlasting because every child that has ever grown up knows that "some day at Christmas, men won't be boys, playing with bombs, like kids play with toys" has been but a fantasy you let go with age; that John Lennon would be gutted to see that "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is not only still relevant, but that we continue to regularly enact war upon each other while most media outlets - and people - seemingly grow tired of the coverage; that world peace has never been anything but a notion, a single dove on a non-denominational holiday card sent to co-workers and distant relatives.
The giant, burning, fuckstar of 2016 aside, there are always good parts in life and you can not let the bad of the world dull you and make you think that all people are terrible, not when so many are still fighting and speaking out for the good of us all. Be conscious this time of year because those good moments (with the close friends and family you're actually happy to be with) are worth being present in...
When you're sitting on that creaky piano bench surrounded by the people you love with sweet guitars and a twangy mandolin and a ukulele with a loose C string (and someone who thinks the couch back is a drum) and a whole slew of wonderfully average singing. When your dog or old cat lets you put them in a Santa hat, for a few moments at least. When you find the perfect gift to let your best friend know how much you love them, even though you may be stuck on opposite sides of the country. When your little cousins remind you of the untethered magic of the holidays and the importance of sprinkles, and your older cousins remind you how great gluehwein is when family time becomes too much. When everyone chimes in to your family's favorite holiday movie (every family has theirs), with perfect timing and matching enthusiasm. When you're tapped to taste-test new cookie recipes. When you're driving around looking at Christmas lights and a song everyone knows comes on and there are those few minutes of joint singing and total peace and laughter. When the fire is starting to die down and everyone's drifting off or throwing out the forgotten plates and finding a 'bed'. When you're sitting on the floor, surrounded by sleeping pets and people you love and tossing balls of ripped wrapping paper at each other. When your friends and family and all the people you love are together and under one roof, if only for one night, and you know that you're all safe and happy and together. When the holidays let us know that, no matter the horror we endure and the pain we face, we always have people who will stand by and support us, in years' past and in this future. Those are the moments worth being present in this year.
This playlist is all Christmas songs (because we're self-centered bastards) but we do wish you all the very best and most merry holidays with the people you love most, the ones you consider family and the ones who enrich your life by simply being a part of it. My silly outlet blog during anorexia recovery shouldn't have become a music site that hosted tracks and interviews from so many truly amazing people - it was a rightfully acknowledged 'rag' on Blogger and I still don't deserve whatever's happening - and, because of what you've allowed this to become, I still and always will love you all. Have a beautiful holiday and a wonderful new year, you're deserving of that and more.