The Many Faces of Christmas in Song

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well, maybe not so much as I write this on a Tuesday morning following a 60-degree, rainy day that seemed more like April than mid-December. The mildness of clime seemed unduly cruel for snow lovers. There are more Christmas-like temperatures on their way and even some snowflakes, along with some ice, in the forecast.If you are dreaming of a white Christmas and your recipe for a perfect holiday season is, “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” there isn’t much I can do for you. You’ll have to plead your case to Mother Nature. What I can do is help you slip into the Christmas spirit with the songs and lyrics that sustain us during the holidays, seeping into our consciousness before the Thanksgiving leftovers have even cooled in the refrigerator.We all know the Christmas songs that do it for us, including “White Christmas” and “Blue Christmas” (the Elvis version, naturally), but we also have “Green Christmas,” an ode to the season by Barenaked Ladies whose chorus assures us: “Red bows on the railings/And snowflakes on the ground/ but it’s a Green Christmas in this town.” That’s green as in envy—the envy for others enjoying the Christmas season. The great thing about Christmas is everybody gets into the spirit, even irreverent rockers like AC/DC, whose Christmas tune, “Mistress for Christmas,” evokes warm Christmas memories by declaring: “Jingle bells, jingle bells/ jingle all the day/ I can’t wait ‘til Christmas time/ when I grope you in the hay.”You may have noticed that I have already used the word Christmas a number of times already, and if I can’t get you in the Christmas spirit with a well-crafted column, I’ll have to settle for quantity over quality. And so I offer you this simple phrase: Christmas, Christmas, Christmas.Continuing my list of familiar Christmas songs—all of which have Christmas in the title—I submit: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Oh Christmas Tree,” “All I Want for Christmas,” “So This is Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” (as previously noted at the start of this Christmas column) and “The Christmas Song.” The last one, in case you don’t recognize the title, is the one that starts, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”There are other Christmas songs that may not be so familiar, but which are part of an amazingly long and varied Christmas song list. For example, the Arrogant Worms have their own version of The Christmas Song, which may or may not be sung to the tune of Mel Torme’s classic. Its lyrics share a heart warming family Christmas dinner that ends up with walls spattered in Christmas red: “George picks up the carving knife/ Wields it around and starts to slice/ Henry cocks his shotgun twice/ Christmas, Christmas is here!”Most Christmas songs are sentimental, often spiritual and occasionally sappy, including the traditional Christmas carols, which are communal songs for us all to sing together. But Christmas is also a time of year that provokes anger, depression and even deep, dark depression for some among us. Plus there are some recording artists who would lose most of their pubescent admirers if they turn all cuddly just because it is Christmas.Witness “Sad, Sad Christmas” by D-A-D about an abandoned father and son on Christmas Day: “’Cause Mommy she left us/She took the keys to the automobile/she took the credit cards and the furs/and now we can’t afford a tree.” If depression is your gig, you’ll want to put Wednesday 13’s “Buried by Christmas” on your iPod, and, yes, it is about spending Christmas six feet under: “All I want for Christmas is a custom-fit casket with a black velvet interior—oh yeah, and a bucket of chicken.”It can all get quite sad. The late John Denver, who is remembered as an upbeat guy, recorded a song called “Please, Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas.” Billy Idol, who had some anger issues, recorded “Yellin’ at the Christmas Tree,” which contained so many obscenities, there isn’t a verse that could be shared here. If the NRA had a favorite Christmas song, it would likely be “A Gun for Christmas” by the Vandals: “Families lock their doors in fear/that criminals might get them/But this Christmas rest assured/I will have my own protection.”Are you in the Christmas spirit yet?Some who record Christmas songs actually regard it as an evil holiday, as is the case with “Christmas Time in Hell” by (Who else?) Satan: “Everybody has a happy glow/Let’s dance in blood, and pretend it’s snow/Even Mao Tse Tung is under the spell/It’s Christmas time in Hell.”Lastly, we have to turn to Bob Rivers and his song, “Tight Christmas,” to capture the Christmas spirit of a deepening recession and widespread unemployment:“I’m dreaming of a tight Christmas/with every credit card I sign/May your days be better than mine/And may all your creditors be kind.”Since we have another issue of the Rocket before Christmas, I’ll see if I can come up with something more uplifting then, but I doubt I’ll ever write another Christmas column that contains the word “Christmas” more times—65. Now that’s what you call Christmas spirit! Make that 66.

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About Wes

Wes is the sole copywriter/editor at SkillUnlimited and provides copy-editing services for internet marketing, website copy, book editing, and more.

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