Pop Culture Decoder: Christmas Music

Christmas music is more maligned than soul patches; Misty Harris jumps to its defence

Pop Culture Decoder with Misty Harris


By Misty Harris

Every holiday season, the masses profess their hatred of Christmas music with a level of zeal normally reserved for discussions about politics, refugees, or Starbucks cup designs. As with hearing police sirens in a song on your car radio, the genre has a way of unsettling even the most mild-mannered of folks.

I, however, am not one of the masses. Call me punk rock but I LOVE Christmas music – so much, in fact, that it’s virtually the only thing I listen to between mid-November and Boxing Day. Cut me and I’ll bleed tinsel.

Why, you ask? Allow me to decode.

* Happiness: Admittedly, most holiday tunes lack complexity in terms of lyrics, melody and variety of plant life. But like Hugh Hefner bedding women in their 20s, Christmas music isn’t there to impress so much as to belabour a point: Fa la la la la (la la la la)! Surrendering to its unshakable optimism allows you to believe, if only for the length of a song, in peace on earth, goodwill toward men.

* Nostalgia: The highlights-reel of my youth isn’t all regrettable haircuts, Mariposa parachute-pants, and different vintages of Calvin Klein perfume; it also includes countless happy memories around the Christmas tree, enjoying my family and the sounds of the season. So when I hear the familiar jingle of Boney M., my soul feels as nourished as Jamie Lee Curtis’s bowels in a bath of Activia.

* Faithfulness: Critics will accuse Christmas music of being part of a right-wing agenda** to get unwashed heathens to convert to Christianity, grow prayerful beards, and accept Kirk Cameron as their saviour. But whether you put your faith in Jesus, Allah, or pumpkin-spice lattes, you’ve got to admit there’s something moving about hymns of devotion. I get chills every time I hear O Holy Night or O Come, O Come Emmanuel for the same reason Tears in Heaven rips my heart out: they’re the ultimate love songs.

* Sing-a-longs: If you don’t sing along to Jingle Bells, are you even human? It’s hard to say.

* Fairness: There are as many blog posts slamming Christmas music as there are covers of White Christmas. Haters write diatribes on the genre’s pervasive presence, simplistic content, and lack of melodic nuance – then return to streaming Anaconda and Wiggle on Spotify. Seems to me that if we’re going to cut Top 40 tunes as much slack as we do, Frosty the Snowman should definitely get a free pass.

* Resistance is futile: No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape Christmas music during the holidays; it is to radio-play what Criminal Minds reruns are to cable TV. This leaves you with a decision to make: allow it to ruin your day, or get on board. I say dare to be festive, and save the hate for the true enemy of Christmas: fruitcake.



* My love of Christmas music aggressively excludes Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, and The Christmas Shoes, all of which should be banned from the airwaves for all eternity, plus one day

 ** I’ve met quite a few Christians who don’t like Christmas music – a phenomenon that’s sort of like meeting a trainer who doesn’t exercise, or a baby boomer who doesn’t watch NCIS. Clearly, someone forgot to tell them about The Agenda™






1 Reply to "Pop Culture Decoder: Christmas Music"

  • Dave Chesney November 22, 2015 (8:00 am)

    For the past few years I have fleshed out my Christmas CD collection through second hand dump bins. LOS LONELY BOYS and AARON NEVILLE top the list. Oh yes, let’s not forget Stompin’ Tom Connors. God forbid.