“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is, unsurprisingly, my favorite Christmas song. The original “muddle through” lyrics only, please. We have Frank Sinatra and his album A Jolly Christmas to thank for the bastardized “hang a shining star upon the highest bough” lyrics. There’s something about the image of already contemplating muddling through the next year until Christmas comes once more that knocks you in the gut, right?
Those were not the original lyrics, however. When Hugh Martin presented the song to Judy Garland, it went something like this:
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, pop that champagne cork
Next year we may all be living in New York
No good times like the olden days, happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us will be near to us no more
But at least we all will be together, if the Lord allows
From now on, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now
Perhaps unsurprisingly, since she was to sing the song to child actress Margaret O’Brien, Judy requested some changes.