Nothing Up My Sleeve
By Jon Gallagher
As you read this, you’ll have somewhere around 358 shopping days until Christmas. Hopefully that will give you plenty of time to compile a list, check it twice, buy the perfect gift, return it because someone else bought the person the same exact gift, and then buy it again when the other gift-giver reveals that they also returned theirs. You’ll have plenty of time to do the Christmas baking, wrap all the presents, clean the house, make travel arrangements, and all the other fun stuff that comes with Christmas.
Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll wait till there’s less than a week left and then try to accomplish all of the above stuff while trying to maintain a blood pressure level that won’t make it into medical journals.
As I write this, it’s Christmas night, 2008. My wife and daughter are in bed for the night after a long hard day of unwrapping gifts, serving food, and playing with all the cool stuff Santa brought. I’m reflecting on the past season, making a set of New Year’s resolutions that include planning ahead a little better next year.
Since I’ve got the extra time on my hands, I thought I’d compile a quick list of really bad Christmas songs or Christmas songs that I’m just sick of hearing.
I work in retail at present and this was my sixth Christmas in my current job. On Black Friday, we turn the piped in music over to the Christmas station, so my 40+ hours each week give me a unique perspective when it comes to the songs of the season. I’m at the point now that if I hear Burl Ives telling me to have a Holly Jolly Christmas one more time, I just might have to check the availability of semi-automatic assault riffles for the sole purpose of taking out the hidden speakers in our store.
I came up with the list during one of our ice storms when customers had enough brains to stay home, but I didn’t. Please take that into account when writing the hate mail.
Without any further ado, here’s the top five songs that I just can’t stand.
#5 - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. This little diddy has been done by several, but it seems that our station felt that John Cougar Mellencamp’s (or is it John Mellen Cougarcamp this week?) version was the closest thing to nails on a chalkboard that they could find to torture us this Christmas season. When I was a little kid, my mom had the sheet music to this (long before Mellcougar got hold of it), and it always disturbed me that Santa Claus was kissing somebody’s mom!
#4 – Feliz Navidad – Jose Feleciano – I first heard this song when I was in sixth grade and thought it was pretty neat that someone could sing about Christmas in a foreign language. When my taste in music improved, approximately a year later, I got pretty sick of it real fast. Now, after hearing it at least 938 times each Chrismas season for the past 38 years, I’m REALLY sick of it. I can’t help but wonder how much the lyricist was paid for these 20 words (if you include the “yee-haw” as one of the words) that are repeated over and over and over again.
#3 – Little Drummer Boy – Okay, I checked the Bible, and I can find where Mary and Joseph were there. I can find the spot where three wise men showed up. I think there were a few shepherds as well. But I can’t find one stinking rum-pum-pum word about some kid with a drum. Maybe that’s because Mary and Joesph saw him coming with the drum and sent him on his way before he had a chance to wake up the baby Jesus by rum-pum-pumming there in the manger. If this kid would have actually shown up, we would never have gotten to hear Away in a Manger because he would definitely made more racket than a few cattle who were lowing (which I assume means moo-ing). If I’d have seen some kid with a drum approaching any of my girls when they were sleeping babies, said drummer would have been leaving with his drumsticks crammed far up each nostril.
#2 – Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – Some of our Christmas Carols have been around for more than 400 years. This stupid song is going to outlive them all. I have no idea how someone came up with a song as ignorant as this, but I’m guessing that alcohol was somehow involved.
#1 – The Twelve Days of Christmas – There’s an urban legend that says that this song was a catechism to help Children remember certain religious facts. Unfortunately, it’s just that – an urban legend. The song itself was written by someone who had some sort of deep bird fetish; seven of the twelve gifts have to do with birds (including the five gold rings which were a type of bird with rings around their necks, not expensive rings for someone’s finger). Each year, some poor schmuck at almost every newspaper across the country is assigned the task of finding out how much it would cost to actually buy all the gifts listed in the song. Now here’s the question. On the twelfth day, does the recipient get just twelve drummers drumming, or do they get all the drummers PLUS eleven maids who have been milking too? Does that mean the recipient receives tweleve partridges in twelve pear trees, or just the one on the first day? See, I’m confused, and at my age, I don’t like to be confused. The song confuses me, so I don’t like it. And if Norm ever assigns me to write about the cost of all these gifts, I’m gonna give him the newspaper that lines the cages of all these damn birds instead! So there.
I will admit however, to enjoying the parody of this song that Bob Rivers did called the Twelve Pains of Christmas. If you’ve somehow missed this, google it and listen. It should be easy to find. Or you could just listen to any radio station next Christas and you should hear it within the hour.
I do have a soft side as well. My favorite Christmas songs include (in no particular order), Silent Night (okay, it’s my favorite), Hark the Herald Angels Sing, All I Want for Christmas is You, Merry Christmas Darling, and just about anything by either Manheim Steamroller or the Trans Siberian Orchestra. And if Josh Groban ever sings about the Twelve Days of Christmas, I might be convinced to give it a listen as well.
Thanks for putting up with me for the past few weeks, Zephyr readers. We’ll see you on the other side of 2009.