Christmas carols have been on my mind this week.
While riding in the car and feeling in a holiday mood, my 7-year-old asked me if I wanted to sing “all the Christmas songs we know.”
Though, like any rational person, I object to hearing them in October, I generally like Christmas songs, so I readily agreed. It was a short-lived sing-along, though, since it turns out the only tunes on his playlist are “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (sort of) and “Jingle Bells.”
I think I learned most of the classic Christmas carols I know while I was in elementary school. But I learned them at school in preparation for the annual Christmas pageant, which his school doesn’t do. I’m not just talking about religious carols, either – we learned songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Winter Wonderland.” I guess that means I’m falling down on the job, because he’ll have to learn those songs at home.
Which, of course, is just what every second-grader wants: a daily dose of Christmas Carols by Mom.
Attending a family holiday party over the weekend, I found myself listening to the obligatory holiday medley playing in the background and thinking about the Christmas songs I really like – and the ones I really don’t.
And there’s at least one about which my feelings are torn. While “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” isn’t strictly speaking a Christmas song, its wintry theme means it gets plenty of play this time of year and virtually none any other time.
I like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” I like the tune. I like the interplay between the male and female vocal points. But at the same time, the song’s lyrics kind of creep me out. By the time the woman – who keeps trying to leave while the man protests – gets to, “Hey, what’s in this drink?” I’m thinking she should head for the door, cold or not.
At the top of the list of holiday songs I hate is the awful “Last Christmas” by George Michael. I don’t understand why radio stations insist on playing that song ever, much less on a heavy rotation. Both music and lyrics are groan-inducing, and worse, it’s one of those songs that gets stuck in your head.
I like Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby,” but not Madonna’s cover of it.
I like most of the traditional hymns, in part because they’re easy to sing along to. “Little Drummer Boy” is one of my all-time favorites, but it’s hard for me to sing because I’m a sap and I tend to choke up on the middle verse.
To me, the Golden Age of Christmas songs seems to have come in the 1950s, with great tunes like “White Christmas,” “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,” and “Home for the Holidays.”
I’m also a fan of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s hard-rock treatment on classic carols. When my son was smaller, he called our Trans-Siberian Orchestra CD his “party songs.”
What carols do you love or hate, and why? What are your favorite traditions of the season? I’d love to hear from you and find out how you and your family make the season bright.
Enjoy your MidWeek.