So I'm writing this blog about Christmas songs, but I've just finished watching the season finale of Boardwalk Empire and I can't believe how mad I am right now at a show. Like, I can't think about anything else. I'm really, really mad. And I can't believe how attached I seem to be to a Michael Pitt character. But I digress.
Christmas music was always one of the biggest things about the season for me. When I was little (and through high school) I was always in choirs and band (I was and still am a music nerd), so we'd start rehearsing for the Christmas shows in October. And I would always be sad when the day after Christmas would come and the music would away. It's been years since my "second soprano" days but I always love when the day after Thanksgiving comes and you can start playing your Christmas CDs again, though these days it's more like the day after Halloween and your Pandora holiday station or Spotify playlist.
So here are my top (and bottom) 5 Christmas songs:
5. Hallelujah Chorus
This song reminds me of all those fun times I had in choir during high school (and I'm actually not being sarcastic here). There were several choirs you could be involved with and they all put on a huge Christmas show at the Palace Theater in Columbus. It was pretty cool to perform on that stage. We'd always end the show with all the choirs together singing the "Hallelujah Chorus." It would always give me the chills to sing it with everybody. Such a great moment. I actually kind of miss singing with a choir.
4. Little Drummer Boy
And specifically, David Bowie and Bing Crosby's rendition of "Little Drummer Boy." I mean, I'm so glad this happened. I'm so glad that these two people, a space-alien glam rocker and an old-school crooner got together to sing this song so that it could be enjoyed by people for all-time. I play this on YouTube over and over with a big smile on my face and sometimes have bouts of uncontrollable laughter. This would be like if today during Michael Bublé's TV Christmas special he decided to bring out Jack White and they sang "O Little Town of Bethlehem" together. How awesome would that be.
3. White Christmas
I love the movie, and the song means even more to me now that I live in Louisiana. I'll never get used to palm trees outside my door during Christmas, and I'll always be wishing for my Christmases to be white. Just like the ones I used to know.
2. Silver Bells
My grandma used to have this huge ceramic Christmas tree that lit up and played "Silver Bells." It always reminds me of her because she'd wind up the tree and sing it to me when I was little. She loved that thing. Now that she's gone, sometimes I'll play it and I'll feel like she's here with me for a little while.
1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
I know it's cheeseball, but I love it. It's a song that encompasses Christmas for me. It's the end of the year and you get together with the people you care about and celebrate that you made it through the year. And you get to see a bunch of people that you otherwise never see… and you hope to GAWD that "next year our troubles will be miles away"… it's kind of like that famous bar sign "free beer tomorrow." It's all very bitter-sweet.
5. Santa Baby
In an ode to perpetuating female stereotypes, a sexy-voiced gold-digger tries to turn Santa into her sugar daddy. I just can't get behind this. Santa Claus isn't someone you can seduce into buying you fur coats. He's a sweet jolly non-sexual grandpa dude who gives kids toys and goes back home to Mrs. Claus at the end of the night. No, you can't ruin my childhood, song!
4. Baby it's Cold Outside.
I normally love cute duets, and I used to think this was a cool retro-vibe type song – until I actually paid attention to the lyrics. I've heard it described as "everyone's favorite date-rape song."
A girl is at some dude's house and she wants to leave… but he keeps trying to make her stay by convincing her that it's too cold to go outside. At one point she asks him what he put in her drink. This is not cool!
Here's a sample:
The neighbors might think – Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink – No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir – Mind if I move a little closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried – What's the sense in hurting my pride
I really can't stay – Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside
What's the sense in hurting my pride? Baby don't hold out? What the hell, man. You're a creeper.
3. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
What a ridiculous song. It must have been written by someone who really hated their mother-in-law.
2. Wonderful Christmastime
This was written by Sir Paul McCartney. I can't believe a Beatle wrote this song. I can't believe the same person who wrote "Hey Jude" and "Maybe I'm Amazed" wrote this song. It's like he made a bet with himself that he could write a song in 5 minutes, and "Wonderful Christmastime" was what he came up with. It's also one of those songs that has the ability to get stuck in your head for days, and if you press play* on the video, it might just drive you mad. And not only is it one of the worst songs ever written, it's also one of the worst music videos I've ever seen as well. Good job, Sir Paul!
*Ed. Note: Press "Play" at your own risk.
1. Christmas Shoes
Okay, this is not only my least favorite Christmas song, it's probably my least-favorite song of all time, ever. Period.
The first time I heard it was at a Christmas pageant put on by my parents' church. They made some poor boy who was about 12-ish stand up in front of the congregation and sing it. He had a great singing voice, so I'm not sure why he couldn't sing "O Holy Night" if he was going for a little drama. By the end of the song, so many people were crying. Old ladies were bawling, grown-ass dudes are acting like there was dust in their eyes and I sat there totally horrified.
It's like some songwriter sat down and wondered, "How can I manipulate people's emotions and turn it into a lucrative Christmas song?" and then he wrote something to pull at every single heart string.
Basically, the song is about a poor kid with a dying mom who has to beg for some money so he can buy a pair of shoes. She needs these shoes so she'll look pretty when she meets Jesus in Heaven.
OH MY GOD, how sad is that. How is this a Christmas song? What happened to "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Frosty the Snowman?" Everything in the world seems so damn depressing a lot of the time. Why must we make Christmas depressing too?
Anyways, if this woman is dying, why does she need shoes? Do people need shoes in heaven? I wasn't aware of this. I always thought the main authority on the Second Coming was those Left Behind books. And didn't they start out with people's shoes being abandoned during the Rapture? Apparently they won't even let you take your shoes to heaven!
And I refuse to believe that Rob Lowe actually made a TV movie based on the Christmas Shoes song… I just refuse. He didn't do it!
I told my mom and dad, no more depressing Christmas pageants for me. I'll just stay home and watch A Mickey's Christmas Carol, thank you very much, with a nice glass of Christmas cheer.
So there's my favorite and not-so-favorite Christmas songs. Please tell me what yours are in the comments.
And I wish everyone a very merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. And girls, be wary of dudes who try to convince you it's too cold outside if all you really want to do is go home. You never know what he might have put in your egg nog.