I use this one every year, because it’s such a perfect, perfect song — the lyrics capture the emotions so brilliantly, and the song’s place in the Christmas pantheon is well-earned, even if it is a sad one that is only a Christmas song because its events take place on a random Christmas Eve. There’s nothing special about that; the chance encounter at the convenience store could have happened as easily on, say, May 19th. But there is always an elegiac quality to Christmas, isn’t there? There are always those moments, sometimes in the dark or when we’re alone in the kitchen or driving to work, when we find ourselves thinking of those who were once part of our lives and who are no longer, for whatever reason. Once in a great while we get a glimpse back, and a chance to think about what might have happened had our lives gone this way instead of that…and then we get back in our cars and drive away as the snow turns into rain.
Here’s Dan Fogelberg with “Same Old Lang Syne”.
And, of course, the postscript: the song was based on a real-life encounter Dan Fogelberg had on a Christmas Eve with an old lover.