*This was originally written in December, 2013.
Those of you who know me are familiar with my attitude regarding Christmas music out of season. One of my greatest pet peeves is listening to (or worse yet, being forcing to sing) Christmas music when it’s not Christmas season. Many a soul has watched with glee as I come unhinged as the result of someone singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” in September.
Why is it such a big deal? What do I have against Christmas music? The answers are, 1) it really isn’t a big deal, but I thought it would be fun to write about it, and 2) I don’t have anything against Christmas music. The fact is, I love it. That’s precisely why I don’t like hearing it out of season.
In our home, I insist on no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. That also goes for Christmas decorations. My reason is simple: I do enjoy all that Christmas-y stuff, but I don’t want to be tired of it by the time December 25 rolls around. Do you know that the “Twelve Days of Christmas” begin on December 25?
Yet in today’s America, the stores start putting out Christmas stuff in October, and on December 26, discarded trees already start littering boulevards. After two straight months of Christmas everything, people can’t wait to move on, and that’s sad.
I prefer to wait until after Thanksgiving, so that when Christmas comes I still enjoy hearing those songs and looking at my tree. Since we have an artificial tree, we have the luxury of leaving it up as long as we want, which at this point in our lives is stretching past mid-January. It’s depressing to take down that cozy tree and lights, knowing that there are still months of bleak winter weather ahead.
But back to the music. I love music, which is another reason why Christmas music annoys me. What I mean is, everyone and their brother feels the need to record a Christmas album. People who spend the rest of the year living like there is no God suddenly start singing about Jesus, and generally get full of holiday cheer and sentimentality.
The sad truth is that most new Christmas albums are cheesy pop drivel, sung by today’s hottest pop and country “artists.” What does the average Christmas album contribute to our civilization? Do we really need to hear Justin Bieber croon about chestnuts roasting or Taylor Swift babble about the magic of the season? Do we really need another version of “Little Drummer Boy”?
Add to this the fact that some radio stations actually brag that they play all Christmas music during this time of year, as if that’s a good thing. I avoid those stations like the plague. Why don’t we have radio stations that play only patriotic music around the Fourth of July or Easter music around Easter? Or maybe just a station that proclaims it’ll only play about twenty-five different random songs covered by several thousand singers?
I propose a law that would put limits on Christmas music. Once a store or radio station hits their quota for the day, no more holiday cheer. Of course, what crazy people do in the privacy of their own home is their business. The penalty for violating this law would be the forced listening to of a handful of non-Christmas songs that have indeed been covered by a zillion artists, such as “Brown-Eyed Girl,” “Carry On Wayward Son,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
There would also be a quota on how many times a certain song can be recorded. There would be strict limits on the helplessly overdone songs. Sacred examples are “Joy to the World,” “Angels We Have Heard On High,” and “Silent Night.” Secular examples would be “Jingle Bells” (including quoting the melody at the end of other songs), “Winter Wonderland” and “White Christmas.”
Finally, there would be strict enforcement of the proper singing of songs. In particular, the melody of “Go Tell It on the Mountain” would be sung correctly. People now sing the notes of “everywhere” (as in “over the hills and everywhere”) wrong! It should only be sung that way the last time through! Argh! Somebody stop me!
So there you have it. I apologize if I have diminished your holiday cheer. Join me next time when I break the news to you that there is indeed no Santa Claus.
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