Did You Know This Iconic Christmas Song Isn’t the Original Version?
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is one of the most iconic holiday songs out there. It brings the warm and cozy feelings of winter with Judy Garland’s smooth voice and the smooth instrumental backing.
Although it brings this happy feeling now, it wasn’t originally written that way. The song was written during World War II when many people were concerned about falling into a nuclear war, so Judy Garland was presented with a song that reflected that for her role in the film "Meet Me in St. Louis".
The song had the same title and was still asking for listeners to have a merry Christmas, but it was meant to be a plea to enjoy your last Christmas before inevitably being killed once the nuclear war broke out. With lyrics like, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas. It may be your last. Next year we may all be living in the past,” compared to the version we know, “Let your heart be light. From now on, our troubles will be out of sight.”
The lyrics continue as a nod to the atomic age, “Faithful friends who were dear to us will be near to us no more,” verses, “Faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more.” These sad lyrics lead Judy Garland to decline the song, believing that she would receive backlash for making Christmas sound so sad.
Her declining this version made Hugh Martin, the original writer of the song, change the lyrics to the ones we are familiar with today.
I was aware that the version of "Have Yourself a Merry Litte Christmas" we are familiar with wasn’t the original version, but I had never heard someone sing the original until coming across this TikTok of singer Suzi Bloom performing it.
Although the original lyrics are sadder than most Christmas songs, I think it is a beautiful reflection of how many people were feeling during that time.
After the TikTok Bloom made went viral, she announced that she will be releasing a full version of the original song to Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube on November 28th. So, now you'll be able to enjoy the original and the revised versions of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" this holiday season.