Viewpoint: Christmas Music: I’m no Grinch, but …

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I feel the need to clarify some things off the bat. I don’t hate Christmas. And I don’t necessarily hate Christmas music.

So stick with me here.

What I don’t like is this: Christmas music being played well before the holiday is even in sight, before Thanksgiving has put me in a well-earned turkey coma. There are a number of reasons why I feel this way.

First, there’s my love for Thanksgiving. It’s probably my favorite holiday. No frills, no gimmicks. Just one night of way too much food. What could be better than that? In my estimation, not much.

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What are you thinking about this time of year? Pumpkin pie or Christmas music?
Yet the holiday is tragically overlooked. All the November Christmas music on the airwaves proves that, to much of America, Thanksgiving is an afterthought. Why? I really don’t know. Maybe it’s being forced to break bread with family members that drive you crazy — though I’m not sure how that differs from Christmas.

Maybe Thanksgiving just doesn’t have enough in its arsenal to stave off the Christmas season’s onslaught. Turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes are no match for Santa Claus, presents and Bing Crosby. It’s a holiday outgunned.

Second, let’s face it, a lot of common Christmas music gets old fast. Don’t get me wrong, I never tire of Wham!’s “Last Christmas” or Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time,” no matter when I hear it. But most common Christmas songs just aren’t good enough to hear on repeat for nearly two months without turning one’s brain into some kind of festive jelly. There’s a reason these songs aren’t played year round, people.

Some years ago, my older brother conjured a possible solution. He proposed putting all our Christmas songs in a vault, where they would be locked up for a hundred years. In their place we’d receive a batch of fresh new Christmas songs that we’d have a whole century to get sick of. Once the 100-year waiting period passed, the vault would be opened, the old songs would be freed and the process would start all over again.

Not a bad idea. Though I’d be skeptical about the quality of these new songs. My thoughts turn to one Christmas as a full-time missionary. My companion acquired a Christmas mix CD featuring the jolly stylings of U2, Cyndi Lauper and others. It seemed fine at first. But as December carried on, it wore on me. For some reason my companion was dead set on playing this one CD and no others. Once my friends, Tom Petty, The Smashing Pumpkins and Annie Lennox quickly became my enemies. At this time of year I’ll hear those songs on the radio or in stores, and it always triggers my gag reflex a little bit. So hearing those songs for a hundred years makes me shudder. But good try, brother.

My biggest problem with premature Christmas music is that it takes away from a holiday that could be a lot better otherwise. You know that feeling you get upon hearing Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby for the first time during the holiday season? Imagine getting that fresh feeling at a time actually close to Dec. 25. As well, the “reason for the season” is special enough to make us feel the holiday spirit; do we really need or want two months of cozy Christmas songs to do it for us?

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