The Raving Theist

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Holiday Picks & Pans (Updated)

December 21, 2005 | 22 Comments

It’s not the Winter Solstice Holiday-related season until I’ve heard certain songs, preferably twenty times a day commencing September 28th. Unfortunately, my picks for the top five are singularly uninspired. Familiarity breeds nostalgia, I guess. No particular reasons for the selections or the order, although “Holly Jolly” makes the list only because it’s a family tradition to start the unwrapping to that song. “Rockin'” I like primarily if I am in a car and it is snowing, and the rest I like to wrap by.

(1) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Most versions)
(2) Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree (Brenda Lee)
(3) Holly Jolly Christmas (Burl Ives)
(4) The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)
(5) So This Is Christmas (John Lennon)

I do know why I hate the worst six, as set forth below. The radio gets switched off the second I recognize a note from any of these. Except for number 6, which I listen to all the way through just to make sure I can believe my ears.

(1) Green Chri$tma$ (Stan Freberg) The rest are tied for a distant second to this seven-minute abomination, which is more of a comedy sketch than a song. As one commentator put it, “[s[peaking of lack of originality, Stan Freberg’s commercialization-of-Christmas shtick, even in 1956, was about as fresh as a Little Debbie snack cake uncovered from a 1973 landfill . . . [s]atire was not Freberg’s forte,” Trust me — the “humor” is so heavy-handed and obvious it would make even Mark Russell cringe.
If this ever gets added to the holiday playlists, you’ll see America convert from Christianity to Heaven’s Gateism. (And yes, the voice of Bob Cratchit is Daws Butler in his pre-Yogi Bear/Huckleberry Hound/Snagglepuss/Elroy Jetson days).
(2) Dominick the Donkey Did the guy who wrote it really think he could replace Rudolph in our hearts with this obnoxiously braying character? As if the hee-haw hee-hawing weren’t enough, the interjection of ethnicity completely destroys the universality of the All-American celebration.
(3) Jingle Bells (Barbra Streisand version) If the war on Christmas has an anthem, this is it. For the most part she’s not even trying, and when she is, it’s to display her contempt for all decent Christian things. Too liberal.
(4) Little Drummer Boy (any version) There’s something creepy about a little baby terrorizing people into showering Him with their finest gifts. It’s also disturbing that a poor little boy feels compelled to curry favor with the infant God, whose smile at the end reminds me of nothing less than the commutation of a death sentence. If the message is supposed to be that Jesus doesn’t want anything except for us to try hard, why doesn’t he reject all those fancy gifts?
(5) Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Bruce Springsteen version) I’m a purist, and songs shouldn’t contain spoken words even at the beginning. Especially not cutesy patronizing banter from a blue collar millionaire. And no, the emphasis in the first line does not belong on the word “Santa,” as any elementary schooler knows.
(6) Christmas Shoes Discussed here. This generally makes the top of most “worst” lists, but it’s far too bad to be worst.


22 Responses to “Holiday Picks & Pans (Updated)”

  1. twyg
    December 21st, 2005 @ 12:00 pm

    my fave is “There’s No Place Like Homo For The Hollandaise”.

  2. Jennifer
    December 21st, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

    I dislike the barking dogs song.

  3. Daryl McCullough
    December 21st, 2005 @ 1:29 pm

    I’m not too hot about the Little Drummer Boy, except for the wonderfully bizarre Bing Crosby/David Bowie duet.

  4. a different tim
    December 21st, 2005 @ 1:38 pm

    They all suck. But for that Christmas bout of uncontrollable rage, try this:

  5. Tony
    December 21st, 2005 @ 1:41 pm

    If the message is supposed to be that Jesus doesn’t want anything except for us to try hard, why doesn’t he reject all those fancy gifts?

    Ummm… Because He’s a little baby?

  6. HappyNat
    December 21st, 2005 @ 4:06 pm

    I think Tony wants a clue for christmas.

  7. Dawn Eden
    December 21st, 2005 @ 5:44 pm

    Great topic! The one Christmas record that I am always overjoyed to hear on the radio is Stan Freberg’s wonderful “Green Chri$tma$.” If you haven’t heard it, here’s a link to a blog entry that supposedly includes a link to the recording (I haven’t had a chance to test it). You can also find the lyrics here.

  8. Jason Malloy
    December 21st, 2005 @ 6:09 pm

    Ummm… Because He’s a little baby?

    Yes RA, you jack-ass, how can you be so ignorant of the textbook Piageten stages of development for a supernatural God-man. There’s the Sensorimotor Phase (0-2, God can sit up), the Preoperational Phase (2-7, God learns simple inductive reasoning), followed, of course, by the Omnipotence Phase (7+, God can destroy and create entire universes at will).

  9. the night watchman
    December 21st, 2005 @ 8:20 pm

    I never liked “The Little Drummer Boy” either. Even as a child I thought the kid was a suck-up. The top of my most hated list is “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” Not funny the first time, not funny the 2,432nd time.

    December 21st, 2005 @ 8:35 pm

    JESUS is the reason for the season.

    JESUS is LORD, creator of this universe.

    He is coming soon, be prepared to meet the king.

  11. Richard
    December 21st, 2005 @ 8:54 pm

    Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses is a clear winner for me

  12. jeffreydj
    December 21st, 2005 @ 10:49 pm

    I still like the wassailing song (spelling?), but I’m getting verily annoyed by the versions I’ve heard this year. What I’ve always liked about the tune is how it is in a dotted rhythm until the last measure of the verse, which switches to equal eighth notes, a rhythmic subtlety I’ve always found kinda cool. Now I’ve heard several sets of bozos, including just today a group that oughta know better playing on my local classical radio station do it in the dotted rhythm all the way to the end. Proudly illiterate, musically speaking.

    Admittedly, it didn’t even hurt as much as this reharmonizaton of “Jingle Bells” I heard (on same classical station) a week ago that really blew chunks.

    This is the Month in Hell for us heavy music lovers, though none of you are safe, ultimately. There was an article in the local paper yesterday about how the day after Thanksgiving, a local Quiznos Sub shop, upon corporate direction, install the Xmas CD in the store sound system, and the employees all get to hear the 30 tunes therein over…and over…and over, until they are all champion jobhaters, right up to the store manager. Multiply that story by, oh, 200,000 or so instances and thus the audio torture that is Xmas can be understood.

    Bah! Humbug!

  13. Robert Angel
    December 21st, 2005 @ 11:36 pm

    I think you are missing Johnny Mathis. Winter Wonder Land

  14. Snap Crafter
    December 22nd, 2005 @ 12:03 am

    [i]JESUS is the reason for the season.

    JESUS is LORD, creator of this universe.

    He is coming soon, be prepared to meet the king.[/i]

    Wait a minute, wasn’t ‘god’ the creator? I thought Jesus didn’t come ’round till a few thousand years after the fall of adam.

    I’m prepared to meet him. Course, I’m also prepared for a zombie invasion, and the great lord kolkas

  15. Kafkaesquí
    December 22nd, 2005 @ 1:17 am

    Jesus has been coming for almost 2000 years now, which is quite long for an orgasm. That Jesus is full of miracles!

    As for the music topic of this comment thread (which IS THE TOPIC), Put One Foot In Front of the Other is my xmas song of choice. It’s from Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, a film by those well-respected auteurs Rankin and Bass. I admit the ditty is a little short on the spiritual aspects of the season, but it does get me tapping my toes.

  16. L J
    December 22nd, 2005 @ 3:32 am

    My favorite x-mas song has got to be John Lennon’s
    “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)”

  17. MBains
    December 22nd, 2005 @ 4:23 am

    Streisand’s very stacatto version of Santa Clause is Coming to Town is perfect.

    “You better watch out, You better not cry
    You better not pout, I’m tellin’ you why
    Santa Claus is dead.”

    It’s on some live album of hers. Possibly one where she does “The Minute Walz” as well, but I’ve not heard it since the late ’70s.

    Of course, my own Heavy Metal remakes of Xmas Classics are some of the best.

    “Rudolf the Red-nosed Head Banger”
    “Silver Bongs” (thx t’ my couzin Hed!)
    “The March of the (goddam) Bells”
    and my all-time favorite:
    “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (So I Blew the Fucking Adulterors Away!)”

    Have a Slurpy New Year y’all!

  18. Tony
    December 22nd, 2005 @ 11:51 am

    Jason, thanks for setting RA straight. Being a little baby and being unable to speak is one of the side effects of God being fully human. :)

  19. Tony
    December 22nd, 2005 @ 11:54 am

    Wait a minute, wasn’t ‘god’ the creator? I thought Jesus didn’t come ’round till a few thousand years after the fall of adam.

    “In the beginning there was the Word. And the Word was made flesh.”.

    Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) have always been around.

  20. jahrta
    December 22nd, 2005 @ 12:25 pm

    I’m at work now, and it’s 11:18. I got in at 7:30 and at 9:00 the shitty xmas muzak came piping over the PA system. But it’s not just your garden-variety xmas muzak – this is the “jebus is lord, come let’s all bow down, blah blah blah” variety favored by texan businessmen, apparently.

    For me it’s a double offense – i was raised as a jew (although not orthodox or anything remotely approaching it) and this kind of shit bothered me then, but now that I’m a fully-realized and self-aware atheist, it just pisses me off because it’s just more of the same splatter-pattern religious scat that xtians have come to view as their primary motus operandi – “this is what I believe so I’m going to make you hear it/see it also – deal with it or i’ll call you an alarmist whistle-blower commie pinko tree-hugger”


    fuckin’ humbug

  21. snap crafter
    December 23rd, 2005 @ 3:49 am

    “In the beginning there was the Word. And the Word was made flesh.”

    no where in that do I see a mention of Jebus. But from what I gather… Jebus is god? there is no other?

  22. Kathy K
    December 24th, 2005 @ 4:36 pm

    My favorites…
    ELP – I Believe in Father Christmas
    Tom Lehrer – A Christmas Carol
    Lennon – So this is Christmas
    Oh, and the Aussie Jingle Bells (Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, Christmas in Australia on a scorching summer day…)

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