Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Xmas: "It Feels Like Christmas"

SamuraiFrog's Essential Christmas Songs #19.

I have a deep personal relationship with The Muppet Christmas Carol.

I saw this for the first time just about a week before Christmas at Carl's house in 1994. That year, I had graduated from high school, turned 18, and had a genuine religious experience in Atlanta. Just a day or two earlier, I had broken up with my first serious girlfriend. Here's the thing: even though she was emotionally and psychologically abusive, I felt absolutely terrible about breaking up with her. She had cried; I had hurt her so badly, and it took me a few days to get over making someone feel like that. I would just cry sometimes, even after all of the pain and mind games.

Earlier that day, I had told Becca--who I knew from work--that I wanted to be with her. She said she wanted that, too. We had spent three days of a weekend on the phone with one another, just talking. Not in a romantic way, but in a friend way. We talked all night, until the morning sun, for three nights in a row--Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And we both fell in love. For me, it was just finding someone who could be my friend as well as a girlfriend. We were just right on each others' wavelength. And we had so many interests--comic books, Star Trek, mythology--that I had put aside in order to be with my previous girlfriend. And we both loved Muppets.

I had never seen The Muppet Christmas Carol. I missed in the theater and had trepidations because Jim Henson had died and I wasn't sure anything could recapture that amazing feeling. But this movie sure did. Carl showed me exactly the movie I needed to see that day. I cried several times through it--I know he doesn't care for that--but it was so cathartic. A Christmas Carol is already one of my favorite stories, and the Muppet version is surprisingly thankful and just the right amount of dark.

This is my favorite song in the movie, and one of my favorite songs ever. This always stands out as my favorite scene in the movie, when the Ghost of Christmas Present--played by the late Jerry Nelson, as wonderful as ever--sings this fantastic Paul Williams-penned song that says everything I love about and believe in about Christmas. Because I can't do much for anyone, but as the song says, even doing a little is enough: it's all the ways that we show love that feel like Christmas.

This movie, and this song, still bring tears to my eyes. It makes me feel all of the important feelings of my life. And it reminds me that in one day, I had the best best friend I could ever have, and that I had met my soul mate, and that there's love in the world and, sometimes, I can actually make myself feel like I deserve it. And that's why I treasure this song.

Thank you, Paul Williams. Thank you, Jerry Nelson. Thank you, Muppets. Thank you, Charles Dickens. Thank you, Carl. Thank you, Becca. Thank you, universe.

I'm alone tonight and I'm anxious and I'm freezing, but damn, it feels like Christmas.


Carl said...

Maybe I wouldn't have understood the emotional catharsis you had back then, but I understand it better than ever as I'm older.

I feel similarly about this movie--it gets Christmas right.

I've wanted this to be a staple of the Christmas Carol... armada? Armory? But it just never seemed to get the traction it rightly deserves.

i plan on watching it this weekend--it ain't Christmas until i have my Muppets.

Merry Christmas, my friends. You and Becca both.

Roger Owen Green said...

This is SUCH a sweet story!

SamuraiFrog said...

Carl: It's interesting, I was talking to my therapist the other day: I think the reason I love movies that make me cry so much is that it feels like a more socially acceptable emotional release than laughing. Which is weird, because crying makes people uncomfortable more often than not, whereas everyone laughs. I figure it's because when I was a kid and I laughed too loud my Mom would get at me for being obnoxious. I've been getting over that, but of course I still cry in freaking everything.

Whenever I make me Christmas playlists, this song is ALWAYS on there, and usually a few others from this movie. I got the Blu-Ray for Christmas last year, so I'll be watching that soon.

Merry Christmas to you and Kate!

Roger: Thanks! This song just pours enough emotion into me that some of it spills out!