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In Defense of Christmas Music

In Issue:



I was in a car about eight years ago with my sister and her family, going to a Christmas Eve party. Dean Martin’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (one of my favorite songs of any season) came on the radio, and I turned up the volume. Everyone laughed at me.

Why have so many of us become cynical about Christmas music? Somewhere along the way it became hip to dump on it or declare it all sappy “Muzak.” But I’m secure enough to admit that there are very few things in life that I like more than Christmas music. I also like bright copper kettles, crisp apple strudels, and snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. If you gave me a choice between having the Internet and Christmas music, I’d choose Christmas music. If you gave me a choice between having the looks of Brad Pitt or Christmas music, I’d choose Christmas music. If you gave me a choice between having $10 million or Christmas music … I’d pick the $10 million.

So of course there are limits. I also don’t like all Christmas music. I’m traditional over modern. My tastes run more to Perry Como than to The Beach Boys, Rosemary Clooney more than Jimmy Buffett, A Charlie Brown Christmas sound track over Weezer. Rockified Christmas music just doesn’t cut it, the possible exceptions being “Jingle Bell Rock” and Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” and that “Christmas Wrapping” song by The Waitresses. And I absolutely draw the line at Alvin and the Chipmunks.

To those who say “bah, humbug!” to Christmas music, I say give it a chance. After all, music sparks a memory or makes us feel a certain way. It’s nostalgia and hope for the future all in one, and Christmas music embodies all of that. There aren’t many holidays that come with their own sound track. And while I don’t want to see a Christmas music channel that runs 365 days a year, I don’t mind a bit if holiday music starts one minute after the last piece of Halloween candy is given out and ends on New Year’s Day.

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  • Bob McGowan, jr.

    Thankfully (it seems) ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ isn’t heard so much anymore. That will drive me out of a store very quickly. Hearing Eartha Kitt’s 1953 ‘Santa Baby’ will make me want to stay longer—-but only HER version. Anyone else’s, forget it!

    (When it comes to Catwoman on the ’60s ‘Batman’ series, I love Ms. Kitt and Julie Newmar equally.)

  • I heard a Bon Jovi Christmas song the other day. It was not good.

  • My general theory is that there are 10 classic Xmas songs and about 17 people/groups allowed to do them…. Also, you are not allowed to create new Christmas songs… I am looking at you Mariah Carey… or any current NashVegas artists!

  • I’m with you, Bob. In my mind, Christmas music is always in style, especially with the likes of Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas” and “Silent Night,” and all the other talented artists who embrace it.