You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Why I really need to hear Wham! sing ‘Last Christmas’ this Christmas

The foil-covered Thanksgiving leftovers had barely hit the refrigerator when I heard it - the vaguely Yuletide-like opening of Wham!’s inexplicably evergreen 1984 hit “Last Christmas.” Here we go again.

Any other year, I would have immediately groaned or changed the channel, or launched into my usual rant about how it’s not actually a Christmas song, but just a whiny song about getting your heart broken that has the word “Christmas” in it. Aack! Why do they play it so much? I’d rather stick my head in the freezer along with the rest of the leftovers than have to deal with it One. More. Time.


But not this year. Nope, when George Michael started in about how last Christmas he gave his heart to some hussy who gave it away the very next day, I didn’t turn it off. I cranked it up. And my previously cranky, fake Christmas song-averse heart grew three sizes each day, just like The Grinch. At least two.

Turns out that during this new holiday season, the uneasy exclamation point on an uneasy year for so many people, I’ve found that, as Auntie Mame once sang, I need a little Christmas right this very minute. And I’ll take it every way I can get it, even in the form of the world’s most annoying earworm-y not-really-a-Christmas song.

I can’t be the only one out there who feels especially in need of what is popularly known, in a non-denominational sense, as the Holiday Spirit. The mood in so many places has been…off. Unfriendly. Angry. Combative. Decidedly not about peace on Earth and goodwill toward men, or women, or puppies, or gerbils or anyone at all. Whether you’re optimistic or fatalistic about the changes coming next year for our country, you have to have noticed this thick cloud of divisive ickiness.

I’ve felt it too, as thick and impenetrable as pea soup, and I didn’t realize how deep I was stuck in there until I heard the familiar vexing strains of that song and it made me smile, broadly. I think I was hungry for some whimsy, some cheesiness, a solidly earnest and non-ironic hug of twinkly lights, unnatural-colored aluminum trees and cookies shaped like snowflakes, even if I’m not supposed to be eating any sort of cookies, no matter how they’re shaped.

I wanted to float on a wave of something unapologetically pretty and sweet, past all the gloom and doom, even if it’s temporary. It’s my happy place, and even though I’m usually a realist, I’m gonna live here for the next several weeks, OK?

Although I am a traditional celebrator of Christmas who married into a family that celebrates Hanukkah (and is seriously considering doing Kwanzaa this year, too), I do not mean to be non-inclusive in this holiday happiness. Like I said, the meaning of that feel-good Holiday Spirit is an all-around call to joy.

It’s about craving that joy so much that you’ll wear ugly sweaters and sing goofy songs, and pause to think about your fellow humans for at least the amount of time it takes you to hum “Winter Wonderland.” It is happy, in a real and non-hipster authentically curated and locally-sourced way. It probably has carbs in it.

I needed it so badly that I almost didn’t mind when the odd red-and-green item started popping up in random stores at the end of the summer when South Florida is more sweaty smells than “Jingle Bells.” It’s part of the phenomenon called “Christmas Creep,” where the holiday retail push pops up earlier and earlier. Most of the time, it feels gross, because it’s all about trying to extend the season for consumer purposes. It’s all very Scrooge-like.

But this year, instead of rolling my eyes when the Streeter Family DVR was suddenly 54 percent full of Christmas movies my mom recorded off the Hallmark Channel, I’ve made some popcorn and nestled into the couch alongside her. Who cares if they all seem to be about a plucky career gal who learns how to love by the inhabitants of a quaint snowy town, one of whom often turns out to be Santa Claus, an elf or some sort of angel? They’re sweet. They’re painless. They smell like eggnog and cookies.

And I’m in. This Christmas, next Christmas. Heck, even “Last Christmas.” I don’t mind.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community

Inauguration: King’s Academy races to make Trump inaugural concert
Inauguration: King’s Academy races to make Trump inaugural concert

Back in 1989 during presidential inauguration ceremonies for George H.W. Bush, two South Florida boys, Tim Popadic and David Loveland, were lucky enough to be part of a King’s Academy group chosen to perform. Twenty-eight years later, their children, Graham Popadic and Abby Loveland, also King's Academy students, earned the same honor, performing...
'NCIS: Los Angeles,' 'Crossing Jordan' actor Miguel Ferrer dead at 61
'NCIS: Los Angeles,' 'Crossing Jordan' actor Miguel Ferrer dead at 61

Actor Miguel Ferrer, who starred in the TV shows "NCIS: Los Angeles” and "Crossing Jordan," in addition to the film "RoboCop" and doing voiceover work in "Mulan," has died at age 61 Thursday, Variety reported. Ferrer had been battling cancer. "Today, 'NCIS: Los Angeles' lost a beloved family member...
Queen of country Dolly Parton turns 71, still moving and shaking
Queen of country Dolly Parton turns 71, still moving and shaking

Country music star and actor Dolly Parton is celebrating her 71st  birthday. Parton was born on January 19, 1946 in Sevier County in eastern Tennessee and has 11 brothers and sisters. Fans have been tweeting out birthday messages to the legendary singer and Parton responded with a tweet of her own. “Thank you for all the birthday love!&rdquo...
Ryan Lochte, fiancee announce baby's sex, wedding plans
Ryan Lochte, fiancee announce baby's sex, wedding plans

Ryan Lochte and fiancee Kayla Rae Reid will welcome a baby boy later this year.  >> Read more trending stories   The couple, who are expecting their family's new addition in June, announced the baby's sex in an interview with Us Weekly on Wednesday. "It's a boy," Lochte, 32, told the magazine. "(Reid) is doing amazing...
Trump celebrates wedding anniversary two days after becoming president
Trump celebrates wedding anniversary two days after becoming president

Whatever else you say about our soon-to-be inaugurated president, one thing’s for sure: Donald Trump knows how to give anniversary gifts. For the tenth anniversary of his Palm Beach wedding to his wife, Melania, he presented her with a blinding 25-carat diamond ring, far blingier than her huge 12-carat engagement ring. For their...
More Stories