When was the golden era of Christmas songs?


A very long time ago you might think as you hurry away from I wish it would be Christmas Every Day and So Here It Is Merry Christmas, currently blasting out of every shopping mall in the western world.

In fact less than thirty years before Roy Wood and Noddy Holder were doing their worst, Christmas was the catalyst for some magnificent songwriting. Sleigh Ride, White Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting) and many other standards were written during the mid 1940s and early 1950s.

Many have identified the trauma of the Second World War as the inspiration - an idea made explicit in Hugh Martin's wistful Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Make the Yule-tide gay.
From now on our troubles
Will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more.
Someday soon we all will be together
If the Fates allow.
Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

In the film Meet Me in St Louis (1944) Judy Garland is singing about a family move to New York (don't do it, Dad!) Her anguish resonated with an audience experiencing the loss, separation and dislocation of war