This jovial 1950’s Christmas standard has long been a favorite for me and my friend Nancy Stokes, but “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays” has taken on new shades of meaning in this year of pandemic and sheltering in place.
The title “Home for the Holidays” can still technically fit, if by “home” you mean staying put at the place where you already live and spending time with the same people who have been in your bubble for the past nine months (or at least the past two weeks), but some of the lyrics could use an update to reflect life in 2020. For instance: “From Atlantic to Pacific / Gee, the traffic is terrific!” Not this year, sister! (At least we sure hope it isn’t.)
“The sunshine of a friendly gaze” might still be available for many of us via video chat. But even that phrase is shadowed when you consider that countless people have been permanently deprived of the chance to ever reunite with their loved ones when the fates — and vaccines — finally allow.
While I gladly play and sing along with this vintage sheet music for “Home for the Holidays,” whose arrangement seems close to Perry Como’s original recording, I acknowledge that this year two other Christmas standards speak more poignantly to our moment. I’ve seen recent photographs of store fronts whose windows invoke the lyric, “Someday soon we all will be together / if the fates allow,” from “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” And of course one World War II-era carol puts it plain: “I’ll be home for Christmas / if only in my dreams.”
Where to find it:
"(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays"
Lyrics by Al Stillman, music by Robert Allen
VINTAGE SHEET MUSIC: on eBay, on Amazon, on AbeBooks
Publisher: Roncom Music Company (1954)
Status (2020): Out of Print
DIGITAL SHEET MUSIC: available for purchase as a digital download at Musicnotes.com.