© 2011 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. The made my "Yule Tide" into a cake.

62/365 – Christmas Music – Blech!

Merry Christmas!  Weeeee!  We all love Christmas.  Sometimes we love it so much we have to shorten it to X-Mas so that we don’t choke on our Yule Tide!

I made my "Yule Tide" into a cake.

This will be Megan and I’s first Christmas as a married couple.  I’m not sure it will be much different from past celebrations.  It’s not like we just met.  What we do know is that Megan loves Christmas and, surprisingly, Christmas is NOT my favorite Holiday.  Halloween is.  Don’t get me wrong. Just because it’s not my favorite doesn’t mean I don’t like it at all.  Christmas is a great Holiday at it’s heart.  However, that heart is covered by gallons of sludge and complications.

Somewhere under all that is a Christmas tree.

The over commercialization of Christmas seriously drags me out of a jolly mood.  It’s the damn commercials.  Christmas commercials are like McDonald’s commercials.  By this time, don’t you think the world knows McDonald’s exists and that they sell “hamburgers”?  It’s Christmas, I know every store has a sale and they want me to participate in those sales.

Still, no time in the year are companies more translucently asking for money than at Christmas.  It’s hard not to see through the thinly veiled attempts to “celebrate” a Christmas mood.  No, they want you to buy, buy, buy!  I mean, take this Christmas ad campagin that’s been going on for years:

Every time I hear that jingle I want to find the nearest millionaire or CEO and choke him with a red bow.  Stuffy rich pricks spending more money on a huge red bow than the ABS breaks – ahhhhhhhhhhh!  “Oooooo, look at us.  We’re a trendy rich couple with our trendy haircuts in our trendy high rise apartment.”  “Come on, wife, we’re late for the charity ball that cost us a trendy 100,000 per plate fee.”  “It’s okay, husband, I just have to call the building manager to tell him to play that damn jingle so I can fake laugh all the way to the 1st floor knowing that you’ll know I bought an overpriced car.”  “Make sure to have the camera pan a little left so those pesky homeless people are out of the shot.”

Just put a red bow on your measly goose, Cratchit. Everyone knows Christmas is about oversized bows.

Listen, I don’t hate Christmas.  Not at all.  I love being with my family.  I love giving gifts.  I love being with my friends on Christmas eve.  Heck, I love midnight mass.  This jingle nonsense brings me to my main point.  I’m about to make a confession.  A revelation that I know will place me in a huge minority.  It’s a admission that is also a point of contention between Megan and I . . .

I hate Christmas music.

Sorry, but I just do.  Not all Christmas music, but at least 75% of it.  Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, happiness and fun.  Yet, the music belies all those feelings – IT’S DEPRESSING!  Don’t tell me it isn’t.  As well, don’t give me that “It’s nostalgic” B.S.  People who say Christmas music is nostalgic are just reaching for a more positive word to replace “sad”.  White Christamas, I’ll Be Home For Christmas . . . the list goes on.  The music makes me sad.  I don’t want to be sad at Christmas.  I want to be happy and celebrate all that’s great in the world.

This is a pictorial representation of how Christmas should be. Notice? No X-Mas music.

Most Christmas music combines somber, low key melodies with lyrics that make me want to find a razor blade.  With songs like that, Christmas becomes a season for wishing things were better as opposed to celebrating the good things already in your life.  The lyrics almost always say things like “I can’t be there for Christmas” and “I miss you at Christmas” and “somebody end my misery at Christmas.”  It all goes back to commercialization.  Crank that crap 24 hours-a-day at coffee shops, malls, restaurants, sidewalks and all you can think of is, “Man, I’m sad.  I don’t feel all there.  Like something is missing.  Maybe if I spend money and buy things I can fill that void.”

Don't be sad. A Snuggie will fill that void right up.

Megan contests that most of the classic Christmas songs were written during WWII, when soldiers were in Europe and the Pacific and the country was missing them dearly.  I’ll buy that.  Also, she argues that the commercialization of Christmas began in the 1950’s when people came back from the war, had more disposable income and started wanting all new stuff.  The songs written in that era are usually upbeat.  I will also buy that.  But I’m not as interested in the history of Christmas music.  I’m ineterseted in it’s context in today’s atmosphere.  If I had a relative in Afghanistan, I would want to hear music that makes me feel happy and thankful.  Not something that could potentially drag me back into sad contemplation.

You may ask, “Timmy, what about liturgical and more folky songs.”  Many of these songs I like.  I’ll admit it.  Good Kind Winceslas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman and Carol of the Bells are some of my favorites.  Especially Carol of The Bells because filmmaketrs always use it to stress a scene of urgency or action.  Like when Kevin has to rush home form church to protect his house in Home Alone.  Unfortunately, someone has to ruin those song as well.  For example, take Silent Night, one of my mom’s favorites.  A sweet little melody depicting the silence when Jesus Christ is born.  Well, leave it to Sarah McGlaughlin to ruin that too:

For Christ’s sake!  Literally!  Sorry, Ms. McGlaughlin, but your sensationalism has gone too far.  She’s like the Jerry Bruckheimer of commercials.  The images alone are enough to make me care about abused animals.  Do we need Silent Night to make us break down and cry?

Do I like any Christmas music?  Well, some.  I can’t stand Mariah Carey’s damn “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”  That’s just another Lexus commercial as far as I’m concerned.  It’s a great example of a song with an upbeat tune but lyrics that, again, talk about missing someone.  Plus, the fact that it’s Mariah Carrey makes me dislike it all the more.

I can’t help but think of venarial disease whenever I hear her sing.

So, again, what music do I like?  What songs are in the 25%?  There are many, surprisingly.  Dave Matthew’s Band’s Christmas Song, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  But if I was to choose one that I love – this would be it – Curtis Blow’s Christmas Rap:

Yep, that’s about it.  I love this song because it makes me laugh and smile.  It also makes me want to dance.  And that’s what I think Christmas music should do.  Not be introspective and contemplative on the sad state of the world.  That’s the exact opposite of the Christmas spirit.  That’s selfish, not giving.  Christmas music should make you want to spread joy openly and allow your happiness to be contagious.  In fact, I just think most Rap X-Mas songs do that really well.  They just make me feel good:

This little ditty from the movie Beat Street (The Treacherous Three).  Skip to 1:35.

Run DMC’s Christmas in Hollis:

Never thought I’d admit it, but I like RAP.  At least Christmas RAP.  So, yeah, I know all too well that I’m in the minority when it comes to Christmas music.  People in America love them their Christmas.  I just wish more lyricists would write upbeat, happy, fun songs.  We have enough “I’m missing you” Christmas music.

In fact, we just need to see more Christmas songs treated like this:

One Comment

  1. Molly Boulden
    Posted 7 Dec ’11 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi Tim, this is Molly from Voila! Thank you so much for your post about Christmas music. I thought I was the only one who felt that way about Mariah Carey’s Christmas CD. Now I know that I’m not alone. Thanks for making my day. Maybe now your mom will understand when I shoot out the stereo speakers in the flower shop workroom the next time I hear that song.

One Trackback

  • By 99/365 – Jackasses and Long Noses on 10 Jan ’12 at 2:53 pm

    […] just can’t wait for the actual presidential election.  It’ll be like listening to the Mariah Carey Christmas album over and over and over and over and over . . . I'm Mariah Carey and I approve […]

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