Christmas Music – love it or hate it?

If economics has taught us anything, it is that if there is an oversupply of a particular good, then the value of additional units of that particular good is low. This probably explains why there is so much bad Christmas music. There is an incredible volume of Christmas music and it seems to grow exponentially each year. Every artist seems to put out a holiday album at some point in their career, distinguished or not. I just searched for Christmas music on Amazon and discovered that there are 17,913 results. Kelly Pickler – remember her, the dim-witted country wannabe-singer from American Idol – has a song on one of those ubiquitous Christmas collections, as does Miley Cyrus. The Pet Shop Boys have an entire Christmas album! As do Bob Dylan and Colin James. Does anyone not have a Christmas album? Wait – John Denver has a Christmas album, and one of the songs is entitled Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas). I can’t decide if that is awesome or depressing.

So it was not surprising to me when a friend mentioned that this – this season – is the worst time of the year for music. I mean, Stevie Nicks singing Silent Night? Am I the only one who thinks that is strange? Although I just discovered that Jim Cuddy sings New Year’s Eve on one of those Christmas collections, maybe I should check that out.

I don’t mean to sound snobbish. I actually really like a lot of Christmas music, although “a lot” could be defined by “about five percent of the Christmas music market”. The songs I like tend not to be sophisticated or edgy in any way and probably is the reason my friend reviles seasonal music. To illustrate, here are my top three songs of the season.

3) The Little Drummer Boy by Bob Seger. I know. I know. Pa-rum-pum-pum-kill-me. But I like the pa-rum-pum-pum-pum. I do. And every year I emotionally recount the song’s meaning to the boys. “The little drummer boy wanted to bring a gift. But he didn’t have one. So he gave a song.” Then I get all choked up as the boys nod politely and say things like, “That sounds like a nice present.” They don’t shake their heads and say “Weirdo” under their breath. At least not yet.

2) Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby. I LOVE this song, and I catch myself singing or humming it nearly constantly throughout the season. I must note that my husband absolutely loathes this song, and he seems to have passed this loathing on to Jake. In fact, I have only to sing the first line to prompt Jake to shriek “MOM! NO! STOP! We are not in Hawaii! We are in Canada! DON’T SING THAT SONG!”

1) Last Christmas by Wham! This is my number one favourite Christmas song. Twenty five years later, this song is still awesome. AWESOME! And – happily enough – no one in my house hates this song so I can listen to it and sing to my heart’s content.

So – what about you? What are your seasonal favourites? Or do you despise the whole genre?


  1. Oh, I LOVE “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by U2. It is the ONLY version of that song that is any good.

    I hate ALL Christmas songs where the singer tries to make it “meaningful” by slowing it down to about half-speed.

    I like Santa Baby, but not the one where the singer sounds like she’s an elderly lady trying to sound like a little girl.

    I like Winter Wonderland. I like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. BUT NOT TOO SLOW, SINGERS!

    I like Jewel’s “O Holy Night.”

    I thought I would like the Rosie O’Donnell Christmas albums. It turns out, I do not.

  2. HATE “Same Old Lang Syne.” HATE.

    I have a Bing Crosby Christmas CD with that song!
    Nat King Cole, The Muppets Christmas with John Denver, Barenaked Ladies Christmas album, and the most obscure yet awesome Sonshine and Snowflakes:

    I’ll stop now.

  3. Subspace Beacon says

    OK, I have NEVER heard Mele Kalikimaka before. And I like it. But then I like anything by Bing Crosby.

    I have taken a liking to Michael Buble & Anne Murray’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” It’s the best version I’ve ever heard of that song and — unlike some overly coy versions (ie Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone) — doesn’t give the listener the impression they are being a party to date rape. I think it’s because Anne Murray’s voice is…mature, yet playful.

    Usually I like anything sung by Neil Diamond/ Though lately when I hear him I can’t get Wil Ferrel’s impersonation of Diamond out of my mind.

  4. Swistle: this may sound strange, but there is a version of Santa Baby that was on Ally McBeal which is very good and not creepy at all.

    Nowheymama: I’m so impressed! The Barenaked Ladies! I love them.

    SB: I always thought that song sounded a bit date rape-ish too – especially the line “Hey, what’s in this drink?”. Um.

  5. I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and share my honest to goodness favourite Christmas music…. but please don’t mock me.
    Kenny and Dolly’s Once Upon a Christmas.
    This may be partially because it was what we played while decorating the tree when I was growing up. But the song, Once Upon a Christmas, is beautiful. I love the whole CD.
    I’m sure there are more sophisticated choices out there, but it would not be Christmas in my house without this CD.

  6. Ya, thanks. I didn’t know I hated when the lyrics were sung slow. NOW I do…. And now every song on the radio is slow – that’s all they’re playing, new slow versions of mediocre carols by mediocre artists. Even Carol of the Bells. Sheesh. Bah Humbug.

  7. Ewe! Could I get any more negative? I’m so sorry that my feeble attempt at humor ended up as a less than Christmasy, down right horrible comment on your blog. I promise that future attempts are either sensored prior to posting or are redirected to the trash bin. Again, I’m sorry and Merry Christmas!!!

  8. Jennifer, no! There is a lot of bad Christmas music out there. I didn’t take your comment poorly at all!

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