Saturday, November 20, 2010

Which Christmas Song Do You Hate Most?

Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving—also known as Black Friday –is the day when Christmas songs overwhelm the airwaves and blast through the P.A. system in every store, reminding the beleaguered customers that they have only 00 days to finished their Christmas shopping, which more efficient people completed during last January’s White Sales.

This year, it seems that Halloween was the starting pistol for Christmas songs—most of which make me grit my teeth and lunge for the radio dial in the car or search earnestly for an exit if I’m in, say, a Walmart.

Any song featuring chestnuts roasting, chipmunks singing, snowmen melting, reindeer glowing, Mommy kissing Santa Claus or Bing Crosby wearing a Santa hat bring out this flight-or-fight reaction in me.

I just looked up on Google the “100  Greatest Christmas Songs of All Time” compiled by WCBS FM.  The first eight, not surprisingly, all send my blood pressure soaring:

Here they are:

1.   White Christmas
2.   The Chipmunk Song
3.   Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
4.   I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
5.   Jingle Bell Rock
6.   The Christmas Song (“Chestnuts roasting….”
7.   Snoopy’s Christmas (actually I’ve never heard this one—thankfully)
8.   Here Comes Santa Claus

Number nine—Little Drummer Boy—I actually don’t mind.  I think that’s because it’s reggae?  My favorite commercial Christmas song is also reggae: “Mary’s Boy Child  Jesus Christ.”

This brings me to an aside—Have you seen the You Tube video of the cranky little boy baby who is fussing as his dad straps him into a car seat but is immediately calmed into a grinning, grooving, happy child by the first notes of Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier?” If you haven't seen it, look it up—it’s strange but funny.

I’ve noticed that reggae music has the same effect on me—I can almost feel it lower my blood pressure.  Maybe there’s some scientific basis to how the reggae beat calms one down.  Maybe science should investigate.

While I really hate the commercial Christmas songs that seem to multiply ever year  (how about “All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth” and “Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer”?), I really love the traditional religious Christmas carols and am happy that the Greek Orthodox church we attend (Saint Spyridon Cathedral in Worcester) features English-language carols at the holidays, especially in the Christmas Eve children’s pageant,  which is a must-see in our family.  (We’re always betting on whether or not some of the smallest children, dressed as sheep, will bolt from the manger, abandoning the shepherds and heading for home and Mommy.)

I’m sad that most schools are not allowed to use religious carols during holiday programs any more.  Back in the day, when I was in school, we sang carols during our holiday program and even learned them in our foreign language classes. I can still sing “Angels We have Heard on High” in French and “Jingle Bells” in Latin. (“Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus’)  In fact ,our Latin teacher, the late, lamented Richard Scanlan,  translated all sorts of things for us, creating games and projects that made his Latin classes the most popular at  Edina Morningside High School.)

I wish there were some way we could bring religious Christmas Carols back into the schools—maybe by teaching the kids  songs to celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanza in various languages at the same time?  And I wish we could somehow outlaw commercial Christmas  songs in the stores, especially those featuring chipmunks, reindeer and Bing Crosby, until Black Friday at the earliest.

Poll: What Christmas song do you hate the most?  Which is your favorite?


lactmama said...

Bing is my favorite and I think the query is which song can you tolerate without wanting to shoot the source of the sound?
Actually, living in my part of the world, I do not have that problem.

Barbara Lunde said...

I worked in a grocery store for 9 years and I soon came to "dislike" ALL Christmas music. It started on the Friday after every hour, and gradually worked up to nothing but ALL day long. When I'd get home I didn't want to hear any Christmas music at all. And I love The Messiah, but I couldn't tolerate even that. I'm much better now that I'm "old" and retired. And I really like 'Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.' Need a sense of humor for that one.

Susan said...

Bing is also a favorite with me, and we have a tape of his original record album we always had at home when I was growing up. "White Christmas" is certainly on that album. It will probably be the first Christmas music I will play ---after Thanksgiving!

I can control my little world pretty much by keeping the home and car radios tuned to NPR and staying out of WalMart most definitely. (There will be Target shopping, but maybe with their MN history, they're a little less obnoxious!)

Agree with your assessment of Richard Scanlan and certain songs on your list, but overall I am looking forward to bringing on the Christmas music as I write Christmas cards and decorate in a couple of weeks.

CJ Kennedy said...

I could do without holiday decorations and music starting the day after Halloween. I was muttering like a lunatic when someone called Oldies 103 and asked why they weren't playing the Christmas carols yet. My answer: Buy a CD! I'd like to get through Thanksgiving first!

As to Christmas carols, my favorite is Carol of the Bells. I also like Little Drummer Boy.

Anonymous said...

I think anyone who worked retail would hate all Xmas-- especially now with Black Friday Sales starting at 3-4am.

Outside of that I think it would be well deserved if we could find the person responsible for the Chimpmunks and exile them for their part in adding to the holiday misery.

Sean Dacey said...

On my dislike list:
-The Chipmunk Christmas Song
-Any Christmas song they play on the Oldies station for the next month.

Christmas in the Trenches- John McCutcheon
Mary's Boy Child
Happy XMas (War is Over)- John Lennon
The Christians and the Pagans- Dar Williams
Noel: Christmas Eve 1913- John Denver and the Muppets

Chris said...

Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time is the all time worst Christmas song ever in my opinion.

I really don't have a favorite but I tend to favour the classics.