Wishing You Soulful Holiday Longings by Lois Bolin, Ph.D., Old Naples Historian

Bing Crosby made the first live radio performance of a new song called “White Christmas” seventeen days after the Japanese December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor. Irving Berlin’s song about a nostalgic view of an ideal snowy northeastern Christmas became an instant classic and one of the most patriotic songs of World War II the following November 1942.

The song’s reflection about a single holiday and the longing it induced, struck a chord that exemplified the national mood at the time – the desire to be home for Christmas which was amplified by the war. This common thread of nostalgia and longing bound the millions who listened to Bing’s crooning; sadly, far too many of our Greatest Generation’s last white Christmas fell between the years 1941 to 1945.

Nostalgia and Longing
This common thread of nostalgia and longing permeates the air in Naples around the Monday before Thanksgiving when Third Street South launches its 46th Annual Christmas on Third.

Two weeks after Third Street’s tree lighting, comes the City of Naples Christmas Parade on Tuesday, December 5 from 6-8 pm commencing from Broad Street to 5th Avenue South, and finishing on 8th Street South. If you can’t make it downtown, turn on Channel 98 to watch it on the City Channel.

To really drive home your nostalgia, you can drive through Victoria Park all December long.

To keep those feels alive and well, come to 5th Avenue South for their Christmas tree lighting and Christmas Walk on December 8 5-10 pm (6 pm tree lighting Sugden Plaza) and December 9 10 am-10 pm.

The Christmas Boat Parade on Naples Bay may or may not tweak your longing vibe, but it will for sure tickle your fancy on December 9 beginning at 6:15 pm. Get there early for a good view.

All the aforementioned are free for you and your family and offer a way to let your mind wander from the happenings in the world today.

Wistful Reverie
It’s natural to feel a longing for times gone by during the holidays. According to the 2016 study from Scientific American, these bittersweet feelings of nostalgia serve a positive function, …” finding that this sepia-toned sentiment does not cement us in the past but actually raises our spirit and vitality.”

They went on to say that when subjects were induced to experience wistful reverie via sentimental song, movies, or memories, they reported greater self-continuity by increasing a sense of social connectedness.

Here are a few of my favorite movies to enhance our wistful reverie: The Family Stone; The Holiday; Scrooge; Elf; Love Actually; A Christmas Story; Christmas With the Kranks; National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; Die Hard (I can hear the moans now); You’ve Got Mail; The Man Who Invented Christmas; Bridget Jones’s Diary; The Last Holiday; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Auld Lang Syne
At the stroke of midnight on December 31, the world will once again be joined in a universal commonality when we all begin toasting “Auld Lang Syne,” the poem by Robert Burns that is widely regarded as “one of the world’s most popular songs that no one knows the lyrics to.”

The tune can stop (well, you never really stop a Scotsman) even the wildest of ye’ Highlanders for a moment of reflection to honor a time long gone. More idiomatically, “auld lang syne” translates to “old long ago” or “days gone by”— or simply, “the good old days.”

While most Scotsmen believe they invented most things —and according to the book, How Scots Invented the Modern World, they did; but they did not create the tradition of singing (miming is more like it) “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Bandleader Guy Lombardo gets the credit for this. So, you don’t have to mime the words this year, here is your cheat sheet: Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, For auld lang syne!

And there’s a hand my trusty fiere, And gie’s a hand o thine, And we’ll take a right guid-willie waught, For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, For auld lang syne!

Remember these words and sing them loudly – loud enough to stop a longing Scotsman in his tracks.

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