Two and a half years ago I had a close encounter of the third kind: I was in Tel Aviv, maneuvering a rented car through a narrow parking garage. On the top parking deck, where I was supposed to leave the car, there was not a single square centimeter of shade. The August sun was blazing down mercilessly, the temperature was 40°C which caused even more sweating than the many turns of the steering wheel necessary to get there. Just as the sweat dropped down my forehead, the DJ of the local radio station decided to play one very special song: “Last Christmas.” From time to time we have similarly bizarre situations here in southwestern Germany, where our local radio station sometimes has a “Crazy Day,” during which it plays listeners’ requests for very strange selections. Some pranksters enjoy requesting the Christmas classic I just mentioned specifically on days when the weather is mild. Ha ha, very funny.
Fortunately, these weird song requests are real exceptions. I’d like to note here with appreciation that when it comes to Christmas songs, people are significantly more disciplined than they are with Christmas cookies and gingerbread. Christmas goodies are already decking supermarket shelves in late August, which means that by the end of October at the latest we no longer have any appetite for them. Christmas music, however, is really limited to a few weeks in December (at least that’s my gut, or more precisely, ear feeling). That makes it easier to put up with the whole thing. And that’s why I have quite a friendly relationship with most Christmas songs — I even like some of them very much. One of these songs is “Driving Home for Christmas” by Chris Rea.