I’m not a big fan of Clay Aiken’s rendition of this song, but my selection of YouTube videos was severely limited. I first ran into “Merry Christmas with Love” back in the ninth grade (that’s be the 1988-1989 school year, for those of you who might be wondering) when our chorus teacher announced it as one of the songs we would be singing it as part of our Christmas concert. I was deeply touched and moved by the central story and message of the song.
In a small, not-exactly-the-same sort of way, I can also understand the sentiment on a personal level. Since my mother began working at a hospital several years ago, Christmas has often been a bit strange in our home, and Christmas day itself often doesn’t seem like Christmas day. Take this year as a good example of what I’m talking about. My mother has to head to work at around 1pm. Because of this, my parents and I celebrated our Christmas yesterday, exchanging gifts and having our big dinner. As such, this morning feels like most other days, with my mother getting ready for work and me thinking about my impending drive back to Rochester after lunch. When I used to live at home, such years were even odder, as my father and I would look at each other after Mom left for work and wonder “what do we do with the rest of our day.”
I can only imagine how much stranger it is for those people who don’t have loved ones around them at all during this season. It must be difficult. I actually admire some friends who discovered that a mutual friend had no Christmas plans and invited him to their house. We should all have that sense of compassion for others.
So, dear readers, may you have a Merry Christmas. If you find yourself surrounded by loved ones, hold them a little closer in appreciation. And if you find yourself alone, drop me a line. It’s not much, but at least you’ll know someone cares enough to talk.
 This is actually why don’t like Aiken’s rendition of it. I felt he tried to “dress it up” way too much with his vocal talent. Yeah, he’s a pretty good singer, but sometimes, the song itself is more important than how amazingly one can belt it out. When the latter starts to detract from the former, there’s a problem.