I love Christmas music. There. I admit it.
As soon as the leftover Thanksgiving turkey is tucked away in the fridge, it’s nonstop Christmas music for me. Some might say it’s tacky or overly sentimental or just plain cheesy, but I can’t help myself.
Then I wondered why. I realized that it’s the writer in me that loves the Christmas music, and the songs I love best contain a story—whether it’s funny or sad or sweet, it’s the story that gets me every time.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas, written in 1943, tells the story of a World War II soldier writing to his family. Although it was written during a time when many of us hadn’t even been born, we can all relate. Many have different reasons for not being able to spend the holidays with the ones they love. Maybe they were deployed. Or they can’t afford a plane ticket or haven’t accrued vacation leave. Maybe divorces and custody issues play a part. No matter the reason, we can all relate. And if you listen to the lyrics and can keep a dry eye when Bing Crosby croons at the end, “I’ll be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams,” then you’re heartless.
On the flip side of the sentimental song, I also love Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. It, too, tells a story. And it throws a few good lessons in there for good measure. Don’t overindulge in eggnog. Don’t forget your medication. And, for God’s sake, don’t wander out into the snow, especially when Santa is recklessly driving a sleigh. It also presents the listener with a question. What would you do with Grandma’s gifts? Open them or send them back?
The song that grates on my nerves is The Christmas Shoes. That one gets me—but not in a good way. It’s so overly sentimental and designed to pull at my heartstrings. When I know that’s what’s being done, I resist at all costs. I. Will. Not. Be. Moved! The boy in line buying shoes for his dying mommy doesn’t do a thing for me, story or no story. I’m not so sure Jesus will be all that impressed with her new shoes. There. I’m going straight to hell in a handbasket. During the Christmas Season no less.
I remember sitting at a church puppet show when I was in second grade and watched the performance of Mommy kissing Santa Claus. I was absolutely appalled. Appalled! I looked around at the adults chuckling, and I remember distinctly feeling like they were all messed up. Why would it have been funny if Daddy had seen Mommy kissing Santa? Isn’t it still cheating even if it’s with Father Christmas? I asked my mom about it in the car on the way home, and she looked troubled, too. She never did answer my question. But, again, the story is what got me.
I love the sentimental songs. One of my favorites (and my mom’s) is Merry Christmas, Darling by the Carpenters. When Karen Carpenter sings in that sweetly melancholy voice about “being apart, that’s true” but “on this Christmas Eve, I wish I were with you…” Oh. That’s so heartbreaking. They could be apart for any reason, and it always gets me. He could have died. He could be deployed right now. He could have moved on to a different relationship, and she could be a psychotic stalker, but the words are so beautifully sung that none of that matters. The story remains for you to fill in between the lines. It can be your story. Or your sister’s. Or the crazy lady next door. But, it’s someone’s.
My two favorite songs of the season are relatively new. Believe by Josh Groban goes hand-in-hand with one of my favorite movies—Polar Express. It’s a movie about growing up, of letting magic slip away and giving up dreams. But, there’s a positive side. You can find the magic again. I love the lines: “Believe in what you feel inside, and give your dreams the wings to fly. You have everything you need…if you just believe.”
And my favorite Christmas song of all time? Drum roll, please… My Grown-Up Christmas List. Holy Cow. I can’t keep a dry eye. Seriously. I get chills and my heart feels like the Grinch’s—growing three times the normal size during that one song. My favorite version is Kelly Clarkson’s, when she sings about writing to Santa with childhood fantasies but now, as a grown up, her wish list is different. She wants “not for myself but for a world in need.” To me, it’s the epitome of the season. Moving from selfish requests—wrapped presents—to righting the wrongs of the world.
So, what are your favorite songs, and why? That’s the important part. I don’t want to hear that the 1984 version of Do They Know it’s Christmas? is the best. I want to know why. Because it’s chock-full of super star musicians or because it tells of the famine to hit Ethiopa in that year and our power to help those suffering?
When you decide your favorite, maybe you’ll realize that often it’s the story behind the tune that touches your heart. And what better time to have music touch your heart than Christmas? So, give it up! What’s your favorite Christmas song and why?
I wish you a Merry Christmas… I wish you a Merry Christmas…I wish you a Merry Christmas… and a Happy New Year!
14 thoughts on “Give Me Some Cheesy Christmas Songs, Please!”
Christmas songs . . . hummmm . . . thinking. I have to say my favorite is the classic Bing–“White Christmas”.
Now days I too have a hard time with sentimental ones the “shoes” is one of them but also the one with the letters home from Iraq–tears me apart every time I hear it.
Also I am sick of “Santa Baby” and I don’t care who is singing it!
I am a big fan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra and love their “Christmas Canon in D” and “She’s Coming Home This Christmas Day”.
But I’m also not into the ‘pop hyped songs’ about 12 Days of Redneck Christmas, All I Want For Christmas is Crabs, and I could never stand the “Two front Teeth.” Give me Christmas hymns or the classics and I’m good.
Oh . . . and yes, Bing’s “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is indeed a beautiful but heart-wrenchingly emotional one for me, too. My mother-in-law couldn’t listen to it for years when my husband (before I met him) was stationed in Korea and couldn’t make it home for the first time ever.
I feel the same way about Santa Baby. Drives me insane. If I were Santa, I wouldn’t put anything under her slutty and selfish tree. LOL. Can one song completely destroy all positive feelings like that one can? I think not!
Oh we are soooo similar!!! I HATE Christmas Shoes – it is the WORST!!!! EVER!!!!! It seriously makes me puke. Ask anyone in my family. I hate/make fun of that song all year long. The second worst Xmas song of all time is Christmas Eve in Washington. If you aren’t from/live in the DC area, you are lucky enough to have never heard this little gem of pukiness.
Oh what’s that? You wanted to know songs I actually like? Because I really do heart Xmas music. My favorite religious song is O Holy Night. It’s beautiful and I can play it on the piano. And my favorite non-religious song is White Christmas, which I loved before I ever saw Holiday Inn (the movie where it originated). Even though I’m from PA, we rarely have a white xmas. Every year that is my secret xmas wish – to see snow when I wake up.
And who doesn’t love the entire Mariah Carey xmas CD?
My husband had never heard The Christmas Shoes, so I played it for him last night during a dinner party at our house, and I walked away while it played. Everyone in the room moaned and groaned. They all agreed that it was the worst song. Ever.
I heard Mariah’s CD is the best. Must get it.
This must mean that girls from Pittsburgh refuse to have their feelings manipulated. LOL. Neither one of us let that little boy’s purchase sway us! 🙂
He’s probably scamming the guy behind him, and he doesn’t even have a dying mom. Ah. Cynical thoughts during Christmas….that’s not good.
This is sooo true! HAHA Kerri introduced me to It’s Christmas Eve in Washington and if you all are lucky enough maybe she will sing it for you. Finally had my husband listed to the damn Christmas Shoes songs and he agrees, it is sooo depressing during a time that should be full of joy.
I love Carol of the Bells and Dominc the Donkey (what? never heard this one? It cracks me up!) Think it is time to turn on some tunes!
I will sing “Christmas Eve in Washington” – I have that woman’s voice down to a science.
I’m very much looking forward to hearing it! I’ll even buy the drinks….
I do a pretty good job of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” And I don’t even need a drink to do it. Oh, we should all have a holiday party and karaoke Christmas songs. LOL.
You MUST be from Pittsburgh. We’re heartless when it comes to boys buying shoes for dying moms. But we’ll cry when Big Ben hurts his ankle.
HAHA Kimberly you are funny. To be honest, I was like, ‘Ben suck it up!’ I mean, is Ben ever healthy?
Oh Sinead O’Connor has a great version of Scarlett Ribbons. Haunting. Here’s the You Tube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l54pvTyUcc
Every night, all year long, I sing my son to sleep. Silent Night and Away in a Manger are nightly staples. They remind me of quiet time between a mom and her baby, simple times.
I love most Christmas songs, but my favorite is God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by just about everyone:)
The only Christmas songs I really know are the ones sung in the 1990s version of Little Women. I don’t know the name of it, but the sisters sing it while tramping through the snow and Laurie drives by for teh first time. Yeah, that’s my favorite Christmas song.
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