Country Throwback: Merle Haggard Croons Christmas Song ‘If We Make It Through December’ in 1973

by Matthew Wilson

Make it through December with a little Merle Haggard. The country singer has a voice that will melt your hearts and make these cold winter months a little bit warmer.

Haggard, like many country singers before and since, tried his hand at a Christmas album back in 1973. And the results were magical. “Merle Haggard’s Christmas Present” may be one of the few holiday-themed albums in Haggard’s industrious career. But it’s the gift that keeps on giving even 47 years later.

In the album, Haggard tries his hand at several classic tunes like “White Christmas” and “Silver Bells.” But it’s original music that proved to be endearing. It turns out that Haggard can write Christmas music just as good as many of the classics he’s covering. “If We Make It Through December” is a bit of genius that will make listeners feel a gambit of emotions.

Merle Haggard Sings of Personal Experiences

Christmas and the holiday season are supposed to be happy times. But the winter blues are a real thing. Haggard taps into the struggles of everyday people and blue-collar workers. The artist sings of a father, who was laid off from his job at the factory during the holiday season. He struggles with the idea that he can’t provide his daughter the Christmas that she wants. He also daydreams about a warmer time of year to escape his depression.

That’s a reality that families face every year, and it’s just as relevant now as it was in 1973. Haggard always managed to tap into his common man roots. The country singer grew up in poverty and raised by a single mother after his father died. He lived in a small boxcar house for much of his youth.

It wasn’t long before Haggard took to stealing and getting in trouble as a youth. He seemed destined for life as a career criminal behind bars. But fortunately, a jailhouse concert by Johnny Cash set him on a path to country music stardom.