I hate Christmas music. A lot. It’s not that I’m a Grinch either – though I am not a religious person, I like the chance to visit family, put up decorations and I especially love the custom of giving gifts to loved ones and those less fortunate.
As I see it, there are two problems with Christmas songs that get my hackles up. The first is timing, as in the yearly creep of all things Christmas earlier and earlier; the second problem is the songs themselves. As for timing, part of the joy of any holiday is that it’s different from every other day. The rarity is the specialness. Unfortunately, since Christmas gifts are such a moneymaker, companies start pushing gift-buying earlier and earlier in the year. I think the car commercials are first. I start seeing bows on cars as soon as Halloween is over. Barfening. And obviously, as a small business owner myself, I want and need sales. However, I don’t want people buying my jewelry just for the sake of buying a gift; I really prefer that people buy less and just buy more thoughtfully. And I don’t like the idea of just bombarding my customers with nonstop holiday sales messages. I don’t want my company to be part of why anyone gets cranky about Christmas.
The second problem I have with Christmas songs is that I spent many years working in that special hell of retail during the holidays. Working retail during any other time is definitely has its challenges, with long hours, low pay, irregular schedules and cranky customers, but the holiday season is a whole different critter. Besides the crowds of impatient shoppers, the worst thing is the interminable Christmas songs, chirping cheerfully all day every day. And they are the SAME Christmas songs, no matter where you’re shopping. It’s like the Retail God Squad decreed a list of 12 songs that were acceptable for shopping and so every employee must listen to the same songs over and over and over. Off the top of my head, the worst offenders are "Santa Baby" (I think there’s a new cover every year), "Baby It’s Cold Outside," "All I Want For Christmas," and ugh, "Last Christmas" by Wham! I think I’m breaking into hives as I type.
Anyway, after I left my last retail position, I was so happy to be far away from the auditory Christmas joy, and I continue to wrap myself in a Christmas-Song-Free-Zone during the holidays. But since I’ve begun creating a monthly playlists, I started thinking about whether it would be possible to put together a playlist of Christmas songs that don’t suck1. And because I have purposely avoided the genre for many years, this playlist was particularly challenging because I didn’t have a mental list of songs that I could start from. In fact, the only Christmas song I could think of that I would voluntarily listen to was "Christmas In Hollis," by Run-D.M.C. So, after listening to a lot of Christmas tunes, I have come up with a playlist of Christmas Songs You2 Won’t Hate. I’m genuinely delighted about how well it turned out! It includes the aforementioned "Christmas in Hollis," along with songs sung by Bessie Smith, The Ramones, Eels, and a far superior greedy xmas song to "Santa Baby" called “Five Pounds of Money.”
I hope you enjoy this playlist as much as I do – in fact, I think it would take me several Christmases of hearing these songs nonstop for me to turn on them. (And that’s the highest praise I can possibly give.) Let me know what you think in the comments.
1 I’m sorry if you love Christmas songs; you have clearly never been berated by an irate stranger while “Frosty the Snowman” cheerfully played in the background.
2 I, if I’m being honest.