Monday, December 26, 2011

Pains of Christmas

Christmas is my favorite holiday, and was my mother's favorite as well. When I was little, we would go in cahoots together and bombard people with Christmas cheer better than a modern day Flash Mob. So needless to say, Christmas music is another favorite of mine. The wonder and magic and general goodwill of the season is often so wonderfully expressed through music, and can bring me into the right frame of mind even when I'm listening to it in July. (Yes I really do listen to it in the off season. Don't judge.) Anyone who knows me at all, knows that getting me a Christmas CD isn't just a filler present, its actually a great present.

Unless its not.

I must confess, I love that there are radio stations that change format and bombard the general public with nothing but holiday tunes from Thanksgiving till December the 25th. My only pet peeve is that they all seem to only play the same 45 songs. With all the music out there to choose from (and believe me, I know how much there is. I own almost half of it) it annoys me that the most frequently abused tunes are the ones that have almost nothing to do with the meaning of Christmas. So, in the rapidly fading glow of the holiday, I present to you my personally chosen Top 5 Worst Christmas Songs.

1. It Doesn't Have to Be That Way - by Jim Croce.
We're starting out the list with one of the more frequent holiday offenses - the Christmas Booty Call. I know that the holidays are some of the most depressing times of the year - especially for single people. But really. Doing a surprise drop-in on your ex for the holidays hoping to "easily get it together tonight"???? I just don't see that ending well for all involved.

2. Baby It's Cold Outside - originally by Frank Loesser and Lynn Garland
Following up on the Christmas Booty Call is a worse offense - the opportunistic significant other. This poor song is first abused by the fact that it was a pop hit made over into a Christmas standard. And even considering that the roles in the original score were dubbed to be sung by a "mouse" and a "wolf," I still fail to see any holiday spirit in slipping a line in there about trying to seduce your guest by spiking their drink. I guess 1944 was too early for roofies, but it sounds pretty darn close to me.

3. Last Christmas - by Wham!
Rounding out the relationship drama, we have the passive agressive dumped boyfriend. And it wouldn't be half as painful if it wasn't so obvious to all of us that he still isn't over it. Firstly - if he really had "found a real love" he would be oblivious to the cold heartless user that dumped him last year, and not obsessing over meeting their eyes across the room. Lastly, I think his current squeeze should be wary of leaving him under the misteltoe unchaperoned since he still thinks that just a kiss will be all it takes to fool him back into thinking he's in love.

I'm not sure what bad relationship choices have to do with Christmas, but people sure seem to like to sing about them.

4. Santa Baby - written by Joan Javits
Ahhh, greed. Because if you're not sick of listening to kids appending their Christmas lists with every commercial break while watching Nickelodeon, you must want to listen to someone in their late twenties suggest something small like a yacht for Christmas. I wonder what the people against Occupy Wall Street would have to say about that gift list. Maybe that she's confusing Santa Claus with an Arab sheikh. And of course that she should get a job.

5. Do They Know Its Christmas Time - by Band Aid
I think Band Aid is a noble cause. I really do. And the poor people affected by famine and caught in the crossfire of civil insugence really do need all the help they can get (Remember "We Are the World?") But when you're saying things like "Where the only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears. And the christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom," it doesn't really promote a sense of hope or faith for the season of giving. And although Ethiopia, for which the song was originally written, has a population that is about 60% Christian, Africa as a whole really only has a total Christian population of about 40%. So no, the majority of Africans probably don't care much about Christmastime at all. Especially if like the song says, they're just happy to be breathing in a "world where nothing ever grows," and "no rain or rivers flow."

So what would I like to hear on the radio? More holiday mash ups that can make a terrible song actually quite good when you cut all the date rape references out. Like Josh and the Empty Pocket's rendition of Baby Its Cold Outside. Christmas songs more centered on general goodwill, like Maybe This Christmas by Ron Sexsmith. And something my kids can rock out to that isn't sung by indentured pubescent rodents, like I Want an Alien For Christmas by Fountains of Wayne.

Hope yours was a very merry one!


  1. Oh, except one of those songs (#1, because I'm not sure I've heard it), I totally agree with you.

    Also, I'm so not a fan of the tearful Christmas songs (particularly on the Christian stations) the one about buying shoes for his dying mother. I mean, the gesture is sweet and all, but it's too much for me!

  2. Ahh! The Christmas shoes! That is a never-fail channel changer in my house! Even the opening bars get me tearing up because I know what's coming!