George Michael is smiling, but his smile is one frozen–trapped–inside this snow globe of sadness.
He sings of an eternal “last Christmas”, never clearly defined. Such is the way in which the song is dragged along by the arrow of time and comes to be about every Christmas.
This Christmas exists only as suggestion; a promise that the woes of the last will not be repeated.
This year, George sings, to save him from tears, he’ll give his heart to someone special.
And yet, as the world spins and another winter’s snowfall begins; the lights blaze up all gold and crimson; the speakers crackle tinnily and, again, his voice–cheerful despite the sadness–again he laments, again:
Last Christmas: I gave you my heart.
The very next day: you gave it away.
This year: to save me from tears.
I’ll give it it to someone special.
It would not be so bad perhaps, if we could believe him. Yet clearly he mourns for the love that was lost–the love of last Christmas. His determination to “give his heart to someone special”, rings hollow–the forgotten dream of a promise yet fulfilled.
George is carrying presents. Creeping through the snow like some bronzed, idealised Father Christmas. The gifts are wrapped with ribbon and topped with bows, but they are mere props to enhance the illusion.
The truth is: those presents are empty.
Or, if they contain anything at all, perhaps it’s explosives with which he will seek to shatter the glass of the snow globe at last, to escape from this self-imposed purgatory, this seasonal time-loop of Christmas Cheer.
George will not explode the presents: he cannot. Because he is only an image.
And just like the static figures in a snow globe he will remain on the shelf, gathering dust, until another year passes and, again, it is taken out and shaken up (again) to remind us, forever to remind us, of “Last Christmas”.