This past Sunday, while getting my roots touched up, my hairdresser informed me a musical switch was nigh. By my next appointment, the regular tunes would be swapped out for the Christmas playlist that inevitably sounds ad infinitum from the beginning of November to the end of December in every department store, hair salon, and restaurant in America. It’s sinister. It’s meant evoke the sentimental feelings. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, Christmas is ubiquitous enough that the seasonal music induces a Pavlovian response. Warm and fuzzy feelings may provoke listeners to buy something. I know I am being manipulated and, personally, I don’t really care. I have an unabashed love for Christmas music anyway and play Christmas Portrait by The Carpenters continuously from November 1st to December 25th every year.
For me, Christmas triggers memories of my very warped childhood. Being children of the ‘90s, my brothers and I were quite taken by Weird Al Yankovic. One Christmas, we decided to draft our own parodies of holiday hits and our most memorable was “Rudolph the Rabid Reindeer.” In addition to crafting new lines, we added little background quips. Some people say “Like a light bulb!” after singing “You would even say it glows.” In our version, the opening line was, “Rudolph the rabid reindeer, was a very crazy thing!” Then, someone would shout, “Like Charlie Manson!” When I tell this story, people ask me how old I was. When I tell them around six or seven, they ask me what the hell I was watching on television and the answer was a lot of CNN, some history channel documentaries, and Ren and Stimpy. (Seriously, remember how screwed up Ren and Stimpy was?)
That’s my story. I want to hear your stories regarding Christmas music. Tis the season, so please send me brief takes on your favorite or least favorite Christmas tunes. You can send a personal essay, a piece of cultural criticism, an ekphrastic poem on your favorite carol, or anything else you can think of! Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The series will start December 1st.