Up on the Housetop, a song repurposed, remastered, and upgraded by Lacey Brown
Musings by Jeanette Olson
Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn’t go…up on the housetop with Good Saint Nick? When I was a kid, this was a kiddy jingle that would be played incessantly on the radio along with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, All I Want for Christmas was My Two Front Teeth, and Jingle Bells. Silly 1950’s! My favorite was Jingle Bells. The other songs I was philosophically opposed to as they were nonsense songs. The other reindeer were mean to Rudolph. Two front teeth are not a present to wish for when there were so many wonderful toys one could ask Santa to bring! As for Up on the Housetop, what does it mean? Why is the song a question? No one would go up on the housetop with Saint Nick because he would never come to your house if you were sitting there bold as Shirley Temple up on the housetop! No question! And ho, ho, ho, who wouldn’t know? Everyone would know if you went up on the housetop! There are no secrets in my neighborhood! It is possible that I may have misheard the song lyrics and the question of who wouldn’t go was the only question in the song. And there is the fact that I thought Silent Night included round, virgin olives tender and bright which was a special favorite of mine. (I would put those glistening black olives on each of my five fingers and gently pull them off with my teeth and eat 10 at a go.)
Lacey Brown’s version of this song makes it clear that the question is who wouldn’t go. And that got me thinking. Would I go up on the housetop? Would children go up? Who was inviting us to go up? Santa Claus, or some other omniscient being? Could I be way up high on a rooftop with a magical person who delivers toys to children? What would hold me back? Fear? Disdain and lack of belief? I think about the people I know. I think they are the type that would go up on the housetop with St. Nick. The people I know are curious, hopeful, and ready to test theories on whether or not Santa Claus is real. Even their cynic wants to be proved wrong. I would be up on the housetop.
People who wouldn’t go up on the housetop lack imagination and are not grounded in reality. Like Trumpers and Q-Anons. St. Francis for sure would go up on the housetop. Jesus would go up on the housetop. My son Isaac might not because he is afraid of heights. But he is not afraid of magic so I think he too, would be up on the housetop. My mother, what would she do? For sure she would strongly suggest that I come down from up top. But, I think she could be persuaded to throw aside her fear and come on up. My dad would definitely be up on the housetop.
My family is not a family of risk takers. Yet every one of them would go up on the rooftop for the magic of St. Nick. Except for Ned, or so he says. I know differently.