The late great Charles Brown wrote in his classic "Please Come Home For Christmas," "Bells will be ringing the glad glad news/Oh what a Christmas to have the blues/My baby's gone, I have no friends/To wish me greetings once again. Choirs will be singing Silent Night/Oh Christmas carols by candle light/Please come home for Christmas/Please come home for Christmas/If not for Christmas then New Year's night."

It's my favorite Christmas song of all time because it's real. Sure, we'd all love to have one of those old Andy Williams "it's the most wonderful time of the year" . . . everybody loves everybody and the world is perfect deals, but reality is, well, reality. There's no need for me to run down all the world's problems here. I'm sure you read the news today (oh boy!)

The thing is, if you find yourself a little blue around all the green and red, get yourself a copy of "Please Come Home For Christmas." The original by Charles is great. There's a doo wop version by Dion DiMucci that I love. Jon Bon Jovi does a good job on his version, but he gets bonus points because he's got a video featuring Cindy Crawford as the woman he's begging to come back. (Usually VH1 shows the clip around this time of year. It was made 10 years ago, so Cindy is still Cindy, if you know what I mean.) Avoid the version by The Eagles, because, well, it's by The Eagles and like I said above, reality is reality.

But I digress, you get the tune, pour your favorite adult beverage into a giant glass, and listen to it a few times while consuming the beverage. I promise you a very spiritual holiday enlightenment will wash over your soul. (Provided of course that you fight off the urge to kill yourself. Once you get by that and really let the essence of the tune to sink in, you'll enjoy the rest of the holiday season.) What it will make you realize is that you are not alone, it's not all "It's a Wonderful Life" and Fa la la la, la la la la, but never the less, that shouldn't stop you from having a little fun.

After practicing this holiday meditation a few years ago I did a little thing with a few folks down at the pub. In fact, it has become a holiday tradition. What we do may sound a little corny, but on Christmas morning we go out and sing Christmas carols . . . to the deaf. You know, we have to sing real loud, and as a result everyone gets a little hoarse, but it's just our way of giving something back, you know, for all the great stuff the deaf do for us all year. We get out to their homes real early, and the funny thing is a lot of them sleep right through the whole deal, but what can you do, we try.

Last year we tried something new. We brought along one of those signers, you know, with the sign language. Unfortunately during the one that goes "fall on your knees" the signer got a little too enthusiastic, threw her arms up, and hit my deaf neighbor in the eye with her thumb. We brought him down to the emergency room. He had a detached retina. In the spirit of the holiday we took up a collection and bought him a pinball machine.

Hey, if any of that offends you, remember it's all a joke. You know ha ha ha, fa la la.

Ray D'Ariano, staff

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Happy Holidays to one and all!


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