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Christmas Spirit. Totally.

1- The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) - Mel Tormé, Robert Wells
2- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
3- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
4- Winter Wonderland - Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
5- White Christmas - Irving Berlin
6- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
7- Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - Johnny Marks
8- Jingle Bell Rock - Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
9- I’ll Be Home For Christmas - Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
10- Little Drummer Boy - Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone

What’s that list? The most popular Christmas carols, according to this site which is probably just making it up.

I hate Christmas. I don’t mean that I hate it in a cute Grinch-Scrooge-Christmas Special kind of way where I just need to learn the true meaning of Christmas. I will not be redeemed at the end of this tale. I will not be reformed by spectral visitations. There’s no reassuring moral at the end of this tale. So if you’re looking forward to saying, “Awww. . .” you’re reading the wrong blog post.

Christmas is dominated by two very problematic characters: Baby Jesus and Santa Claus.

The story of the baby Jesus, as most of you know, is essentially a tale of horror. First, He’s chased around by a megalomaniac ruler who’s decided to kill Him. Herod misses Jesus but manages to kill all the other baby boys in the vicinity, which casts something of a pall over the Baby Jesus’ holiday season.

Then the Baby Jesus’ Christmas takes an even worse turn when the only gifts he gets are gold, frankinscense and myrrh. The baby Jesus can’t play with myrrh. He doesn’t even know what myrrh is. Baby Jesus wanted a rattle and a teething ring, was that so much to ask for? But no: it’s krugerrands and two different types of tree resin.

The Baby Jesus was like, “What, I wasn’t a good little boy? You calling Me naughty? You know who I am? Do you not notice the way all My pronouns are capitalized? Take your myrrh on out of here and bring Me one of those toy lawnmowers that goes pop! pop! pop! when I push it around the stable.”

And 33 years after that first disastrous Christmas, the Baby Jesus ends up having an even worse Easter.

As for Santa Claus, he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good. At best Santa has serious boundaries issues. At worst we’re looking at a monstrous villain who uses illegal means to invade the privacy of children all over the world. God only knows what he does with the data he compiles.

All of which explains why Christmas music is so grim and joyless. When you base a holiday on the lives of a deprived, doomed baby and a sneaky blackmailer, you’re not going to get a lot of cheerful tune-age. The average Nine Inch Nails album is happier than any collection of Christmas carols.

Christmas carols, with their incessant demands for weather phenomena that each year lead to dozens of traffic deaths, with their tales of brutal hazing endured by malformed reindeer, their disturbed hallucinatory rants (I’ll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams,) and their barely-disguised drug culture anthems (I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, sniff, sniff. Merry and bright? Uh huh, we get it, Irving,) are the inevitable result of a culture debased by this forced celebration of hay-bound babies and overweight peeping toms.

But no Christmas carol so exemplifies the underlying horror of Christmas as The Little Drummer Boy.

I’ll play my drum for Him, parumpah pum pum.

Hey, about you play the drum later, champ? The Baby Jesus is trying to sleep. He’s got a headache from the Myrrh. And He’s finally down. So be a good kid and . . .

I’ll play my drum for Him, parumpah pum pum, rumpah pum pum, rumpah pum pum.

Look kid, the Virgin Mary and I have had a long couple of days. The Baby Jesus is finally asleep and we’d really like to curl up on some nice cow-crap-saturated hay and catch a couple Z’s ourselves, so . . .

Come they told me, parumpah pum pum!

Who told you? Was it those shepherds? I am going to kick . . .

Rumpah pum pum . . .

Great! Now He’s awake. You rotten little brat with your stupid drum, you woke Him up! He’ll probably turn my wine into water again.

Pum . . . Pum . . . Rumpah pum pum . . .

You never hear about what happened next to the “little” drummer boy, do you? No, they leave out that verse.

Run, they told me parumpah pum pum
Joe’s got a baseball bat parumpah pum pum
He says he’s had it up to rumpah pum pum
And if I want to live I’ll run papum run
Run papum run
Run papum run.

Kid got away, but it was a close call. And he never played the drum again, I can tell you that.

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“Christmas Spirit. Totally.”

  1. Blogger Tom Strong Says:

    Of course, most of these songs were written by Jews. It may be that we don't feel the spirit of the season as much as Christians do. Handel's "Messiah" is pretty rousing, by contrast.

    And some of them are pretty good songs, even if they're overplayed. I particularly adore "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which is a great song (though still rather melancholy).

    "The Little Drummer Boy," on the other hand, is an atonal train wreck.

  2. Blogger Ruth Anne Adams Says:

    I think it was Susie Essman in her pre-Curb stand-up days [possibly Ladman, can't remember her first name] did a bit with Mary complaining to Joseph about the gifts:

    Myrrh? Who brings myrrh to a baby shower? Acch. The Wisemans!

    But the gifts have symbolic meaning and real value in Christology. Gold / riches for king. Incense for priest. Myrrh for prophet. So Jesus who fulfills the roles of priest, prophet and king receives all these gifts. The gold was used for the flight into Egypt; the incense was used at Jesus' bar mitzvah; the myrrh was used to anoint his body on Good Friday.

    If you had complained about materialism/consumerism could use this to your advantage. Limit your kids to three gifts...just like Baby Jesus.

  3. Anonymous GN Says:

    The little drummer boy grew up and got a job .... at Walmart, I think.

  4. Blogger Melinda Says:

    Ruth Anne: Ladman's first name is Cathy.

    And it was probably Susie Essman's routine because she used to have one about her family exchanging gifts. "Give her the receipt! She can return it!"

  5. Anonymous Santa Claus Says:

    Its not my fault that your parents were awake when I hauled the pony down the chimney.

  6. Blogger Transplanted Lawyer Says:

    What the hell? I enjoyed the post just fine, but not enough to make half a dozen links to it.