Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Christmas Means to Me

Our local light rock station, KOIT, turns over to 24/7 Christmas music the weekend before Thanksgiving. I like it; I love the Paul McCartney song Wonderful Christmas Time and I find Christmas music helps me get into the season.

My whippersnapper and I enjoy listening to many songs together. His favorites are the Beach Boys' Little Saint Nick, Alvin and the Chipmunks' Christmas Song, and of course the Grinch song. But the one we enjoy most is Little Drummer Boy. We like to say different things for "ra pum pum pum" to change it up a little. I nearly split my side laughing when he said, "piece of chicken pum ." I mean, piece of chicken!

So this year I bought him a copy of Ezra Jack Keats's exquisitely illustrated Little Drummer Boy. It's a gorgeous book: simple, loving, rich, pure art. I never knew the words to the song until I read the book. But when I came upon the line,

I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
....I thought, OH. Such humility! Then the lines:

I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

AND TEARS WERE IN MY EYES.

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful friends and followers. May you play your drum, and play your best, for whomever it is you feel deserves the respect of your best talents today, and in 2010.


P.S. My husband and I had quite a good time trying to find a bearable rendition of Little Drummer Boy on You Tube. It turns out that most everyone's tried to sing it, and most of them had to be stopped 10 seconds into the song. Plenty of famous singers couldn't sing it (Jessica Simpson, Grace Jones), and some tried to add stylistic crap to it. Below are the ones I found enjoyable and/or bearable. Note that I am not normally a fan of the performers (certainly not Faith Hill), but I tip my cap to them for doing a heartfelt, talented job on a song that I feel should be sung simply and thoughtfully.

7 comments:

Matt said...

Bob Seeger does a very simple, stripped down version.

Merry Christmas Sierra!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Merry Christmas! Isn't it lovely how a certain song can be so moving? Faith Hill's "Where are you Christmas?" gets me every time. I almost started crying when I heard it in the gift-wrappy section of Wal-Mart yesterday. (I'm a sucker for the modern songs.)

Travener said...

Thanks for the research. Merry Xmas to you and yours. Happy Festivus, too!

Mike Chen said...

David Bowie did a version. And David Bowie is the nearest thing we have to a living deity, so you know it's good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zMhSjDqvRs

Happy Festivus! May you win the Feats of Strength.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great post! I love Ezra Jack Keats.

My husband and daughter both love The Little Drummer Boy best. Even when she was a toddler, that song would always calm her down.

Merry Christmas!

Sierra Godfrey said...

Merry Christma/happy holidays/happy Festivus everyone! I'm glad you guys like other versions of the LIttle Drummer Boy (I couldn't stomach even David Bowie...I'm sorry Mike!).

Meghan Ward said...

I'll have to get the Ezra Jack Keats book. I LOVE The Little Drummer Boy, and we watched the Christmas special this morning and sang the song this evening. I have a version on A Very Special Christmas 5 sung by Wyclef Jean that's good. Merry Christmas, Sierra!

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