Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Song Problems

I am a Christmas Music connoisseur. I grew up in a home where music was not played all the time, but around Christmas it was and we had a lot of albums. I started collecting Christmas music as soon as I set out on my own, and have generally added an album a year to my collection. I usually switch all the music listening in my house for the last two months of the year over to Holiday music. So, I have a lot of thoughts on the subject. Here are some of the songs or renditions of songs that are problematic for me.

The Stupidest Christmas Song: The titular track to Trisha Yearwood’s album, The Sweetest Gift. It is a song all about a mother visiting her son in prison. She gives him the “sweetest gift” that he could ever get… a smile.

The Most Embarrassing Christmas Song: Garth Brooks’ version of Silent Night. Actually, his whole album is hard to listen to, but in Silent Night he has one of those moments where he talks in the middle of the song, recounting a memorable Christmas he had after he first moved to Nashville. He and his first wife thought they might not make it home due to weather, but when they realize they are going to get there, she says to him, “You’re gonna see your mama!”

Most Needlessly Re-recorded Christmas Song: Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Christmas is All in the Heart.” This is a wonderful song on Chapman’s first album, but why did he record it again for his second album? Listened back to back, you might have a hard time telling the two apart, even though it is backed by a woman in the first version and by Vince Gill in the second.

Most Offensive to My Intelligence: My Grown Up Christmas List. Popularized by Amy Grant on her second Christmas Album, this song is annoying for so many reasons. It sounds really deep and caring, so a lot of people probably like it. However, it approaches the holiday as a time for childish ignorance that wishes good things for the world from an imaginary source of magic. Instead, Christmas is a time when we remember that a very real God provided truly good things for the world in reality. Christmas is a celebration of real hope provided for us at a tremendously costly price; not a time of people deluding themselves into thinking an imaginary fat man could deliver a problem free world wrapped with a bow.


  1. I have a hard time listening to a lot of songs they play on the radio. I'm not too fond of Grown Up Christmas List either.

    Thanks for the funny reviews! I don't know why, but this post reminded me of an article I read yesterday in Relevant Magazine called 'Debunking Christmas Myths'. I normally take Relevant with a lot of salt, but I really liked this article.

  2. I see a common thread throughout. You hate women, right? (JK) ;)

  3. Well, Jason, YOUR momma says, "What do you expect if you listen to all that country music?"
    Neither do I care for those manipulative, heart-rending songs so popular at this time of year. "The Christmas Shoes" comes to mind. Excuse me while I grab the kleenex box!
    Are you going to talk about the good songs?

  4. What do you expect? I married a Texas girl. Do you think I would own a Garth Brooks album otherwise?

  5. Jason,
    I enjoyed your review, and then I went to the mall. There is one glaring omission from your list (at least for those of us who live in Europe). Last Christmas by George Michael.... or... maybe you like this song? ;-)

  6. Oh Man! Lance, as I prepared for this post over the past several days, I intended to include that horrible, horrible song! Then, I completely forgot! In my defense (and perhaps to my shame) I do not own this song, where I do own all the others on this list. With Wham you have a double "whammy" because the song is stupid and the group is annoying. When Taylor Swift and the cast of Glee each redid the song it became less annoying, but remains one of the stupidest Christmas songs of all time. Why do they insist on playing it all the time here in Europe?


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