“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is a double-sided single on which Russell interprets the holiday classic in both French and English.
Allison Russell on Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
I consider myself a hopeful agnostic, but Christmas has always loomed large in my world. As a child of an abusive, dysfunctional and deeply impoverished family – holidays were always harrowing and fraught. Christmas in particular set all the skeletons in our family’s closet to cavorting. The brightest light of my difficult childhood was my maternal Grandmother, Isobel Roger Robertson. Every year we would watch ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ together and neither of us could get through Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” without crying.
I’ve always felt that this song resonates on a deeper level and speaks to the feelings of grief, loss, melancholy, separation and isolation that many of us carry through the holidays. But it also speaks of hope… Early onset Alzheimer’s took my Grandma Isobel too soon, but I find myself carrying on many of her traditions. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is now a favourite of my daughter’s. During the lockdown days of the pandemic, I started teaching my daughter French. I decided to translate “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” as a challenge for myself and an encouragement for her to keep going with her studies. It’s a timeless melody and I hope I’ve done the poetry some justice. Here’s wishing you and yours love & health & peace & happiness through hard times and good x