Posted by: Chelsea Novak | November 29, 2006

Strange holiday memory

I’m at the Eaton Centre today getting another step closer to having all the Christmas shopping done (booya!) and every store is just oozing Christmas music. I don’t deny it’s holiday spirit raising power. Ever since I left music retail, I have been able to enjoy holiday music again, since I wasn’t forced to listen to it to the point where I had hysterical deafness.

Anyway, I’m in Sears and the song All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth comes on, no doubt sung by a performer who is humorously adept at sounding toothless. For a moment I was amused by it and then suddenly I was overcome by a memory.

I was five, maybe six or seven years old and it was Christmastime. As was usual then in my life, I was in a choir and we were preparing a holiday revue of some kind. It was definitely the primary grades. I know this because it was that time when everyone was loosing their baby teeth. Everyone but me, who is dentally retarded.

When I was younger I had a pretty nice singing voice. I was always in the choir, always just shy of the solos (sigh), always in music. I had some talent and my parents and school provided me with a good amount of training. By the age of nine, I could belt out New York, New York like it was nobody’s business, but I digress.

There was but one opportunity for a solo in that particular year’s all-singing, all-adorable, all-dressed-in-festive-sweaters holiday review. There would be but one child that would have the chance to get up and sing and that song was going to be All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.

I wanted that solo and I wanted it bad. But it would not go to me. Instead it would be the defining moment in my vocal career, where I would passed over again and again for solos. Sometimes for kids who were better, sometimes for kids who were cuter or simply for kids who were blonder. This time I was for a dirty blond boy, who was the ONE kid in the class who had managed to actually lose his front teeth in time for Christmas. I don’t even remember his name. I remember his hair, I remember he really couldn’t sing and I remember staring at him with all the hate in my little heart as he bumbled his way through the song.

Here I am, 30 years old; an adult and I’m overcome with a hot flash of injustice. Sure the kid got the holiday solo for having the prop to go with the song, but I SO would have rocked that song. Sure I had pretty much all my teeth but isn’t that usually a GOOD thing?

Oh I so need to let go. I bet he was more embarrassed than happy about having to get up and sing with his teeth like that. And I suppose I’ve learned over the years that when people don’t give you an opportunity to make an ass of yourself in public you just have to get creative and find your own way to do it.

Today’s sing-a-long song: “Christmas Is” by Lou Rawls




  1. The part Chelsea isn’t telling you … that boy, inspired by his first big solo, grew up to be Gord Downie.

  2. Errr … wouldn’t that make Chelsea about 45 years old?


  3. There haven’t been a lot of famous singers come out of Kingston who are about Chelsea’s real, incredibly young and vibrant, age.

  4. Ryan Malcolm!

    Har har.

  5. There’s no way that kid grew up to be any kind of musical virtuoso. No way Jose.

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