Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Sounds of Christmas

Ho ho ho

I am a total cornball who freely admits to loving Christmas music. I honestly could listen to it all year long. Most of it evokes a sense of nostalgia for what is past: those boisterous childhood Christmas’ at my grandparents and fond memories of so many of the people I loved who are no longer here, my grandparents themselves, aunts and uncles and my closest-in-age cousin, Michael, who has been gone for 13 years and I miss terribly.

When I was about eight I got a record player for Christmas. Before my brother and I came out for our presents, my father put a 45 of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas on it so it was playing when I came into the living room. My dad was only in his 20’s at the time. That song will forever remind me of him as a young man and how he made that touching gesture.

Bah Humbug

But there are some Christmas songs that I could happily live without hearing ever again. They fall into three categories: 1) Annoying, 2) Mind Numbingly Obnoxious and 3) Jaw Dropping.


Little Drummer Boy: I could so do with never hearing “rump ump ump blah blah blah” ever again. Oy, take that drum away from that kid. Winner for the most bizarre duet of this song? Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Crosby died the same year it was recorded. Probably of embarrassment.

The Twelve Days of Christmas: I always find I want someone to shoot me before even the third day rolls around. And around and around and around…

I’m Getting Nothing for Christmas: I would recommend institutionalizing this child and sterilizing the parents.

Runner Up’s: Last Christmas by Wham; Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (because hearing it 2,000,000,000 times in my life is 1,999, 999, 999 times too many); I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus; All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.

Mind Numbingly Obnoxious:

Dominic the Donkey: Honestly, who thought this one up?! “Hee haw, hee haw”?!? Yep, those are always the first words that come to my mind when celebrating my Savior’s birth. I can only imagine the nightmare this song caused in school for any poor kid named Dominic.

Grandma got Run over by a Reindeer: Who says to themselves “Nothing says Christmas like a musical tribute to alcoholic white trash”?!? In actuality, I believe the author of this song had some heavy duty hostility issues related to their grandmother.

The Christmas Shoes: Holy Mother of God, how could anyone ever think this was a good idea for a song?!?! And then record it?!? And then play it?!?! Ugh, this is a song that makes me hate everyone.

Runner’s Up: Santa Baby; John Denver’s Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas.

The winner for Jaw Dropping:

Do They Know It’s Christmas?: Um, first of all I would have to say NO you idiots of course they don’t know it’s Christmas as most of the indigenous peoples of Africa ARE NOT CHRISTIAN!! Unless of course we went in and mucked about with their culture. But for most of the people who were supposed to be helped by this recording, Christmas is a pretty abstract concept.

“And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas”. Well thank freaking God. Way to mess them up even more, unless they are on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro or something.

“Raise a glass for everyone…underneath the burning sun”. Oh. My. God. This is where I begin to wonder if they were just having us on. Maybe all these artists got together, snickering, and said “Let’s see how bad we can get and still have those yahoos buy it, hee hee hee.” It is the only reasonable explanation for the absolute worst line of all…

“Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you!”

WHAAAAT?!?! Not “If only it was no one suffering like this.” No, it’s “Phew!” (sucking down a cold one) “Thank God it’s those ignorant heathens and not me!! Wooo-eee, dodged that one. Thank you God!!”

All these little ditties tell me one thing: there are a lot of seriously disturbed songwriters out there.


Of course this list is subjective (although I cannot believe ANYONE likes these songs!!). Because two of my favorites are on many people’s ‘hate’ list: Merry Christmas Baby and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, both by Bruce, naturally.

Here is “Santa Claus”, recorded in Passaic, N.J. on 9/20/1978, the day before my 24th birthday. Classic E-Street Band! I was not there. :(

For e-mail readers:

“Merry Christmas Baby” with Bruce AND Conan!!

For e-mail readers:

Merry Christmas baby!

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Pricilla said...

heh heh
I can't stand the Drummer Boy either.
Merry Christmas Marie

Dana said...

Boy oh boy can you ever write! Merry Christmas Marie. I wish you peace and joy. This season can be so miserable for so many.

I'm having a flannel nightie give-away in mid January. More details later this month. It might be something nice to wrap up in when the rest of the world seems to cold.

Marie said...

Pricilla: Drummer Boy! Shudder!! You clearly have impeccable taste as well.

Dana: Thank you so much for your kind words. I always have believed that we make our own happiness, but I have to admit this year's holiday is not one I am loving. :( So I am grateful for your good wishes. One of your gorgeous nighties would be a treat!!

This is Dana's website everyone:

SO pretty!!

Bayspinner said...

Look up Crabs for Christmas on YouTube. It's the unofficial Christmas song for the state of Maryland. Once is enough.

Anji said...

I taught primary school children English for a few years and my sister gave me a tape of Christmas songs by and Australian singer (I wonder why she was so insistant?!). It drove me mad, especially "Here comes Santa Claus". If ever you come across a French person who sings Christmas songs with an Australian accent it's probably my fault

Jen said...

OMG I spit Diet Coke onto my monitor when I read your critique of Do They Know It's Christmas. I've often wondered some of your thoughts myself though I hadn't caught the one about the burning sun! Bravo!

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer is my absolute least favorite of all these songs and while I do like the David Bowie/Bing Crosby dittie I have to agree with all your other choices. Take that damn drum away from that kid indeed.

Yesterday I was driving my daughter to the doctor and she wanted to hear some Christmas music to calm her down (she was going to have a blood test and was working herself into a pretty good tizzy) I put on the station that has been playing xmas music since Halloween and heard a song that made both of us cry even before we got to the punch line. I don't know the name but the mom was dying and the kid was looking to buy her some shoes before she did. I had to turn the channel, couldn't do that one. Of course it was a country song.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Marie said...

Bayspinner: "Crabs for Christmas". Words fail me. And you know how hard that is to accomplish. lol

Anji: If I ever came across a French person singing Christmas songs with an Australian accent I would be delighted!! That is a great anecdote!

Jen, oh Jen!! That song is "The Christmas Shoes", on my Mind Numbingly Obnoxious list, a horrifying nightmare of a record. It doesn't make me cry as much as want to vomit.

And I realized today I left one off the list: "Grown Up Christmas List". Oy. More effective than ipecac.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone!!!

Jane Turley said...

I like Last Christmas by Wham. I liked it even more before George Michael came out.....

My least favourite Christmas songs are;
1. Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard - because it's Cliff Richard. 'Nuff said.

2 A Winter's Tale by David Essex. Mainly becasue I was subjected to this song 9-5 three years running when I worked in a shop. I had nightmares about it.

3. That one by Kirsty McColl and The Pogues. Mainly cos that guy from the Pogues just can't sing. It's like having a rhino on drugs snorting in your ear.

Marie said...

Jane, you are such a good, faithful friend to my feckless self. I am sending dozens of virtual hugs your way, along with lots of good thoughts and good wishes.

I love your critiques! They are perfect. We should collaborate on a post someday. Although the ensuing hilarity might be dangerous to our readers. lol