December 13, 2010


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While I'm Thinking About It

And now, a Top Five.

Even after all my years in retail, suffering through the determinedly cheerful holiday tunes piped through the intercom system and/or speakers, I still like Christmas music. Of all kinds, too: the traditional religious ones celebrating the birth of Jesus, the ones painting a nostalgic picture of a golden age that never quite was, even the ones that are really just about snow being fun.

I do not, however, like all Christmas music equally. Some of it, I used to like until I heard it far too often (Mannheim Steamroller, I'm looking at you here). Some of it, I've never really cared for.

And some make me grit my teeth with the dark realization that maybe the Puritans were on to something with their not celebrating Christmas. There are five, and I plan to spend the week talking about all of them.

(but before I begin, a special dishonorable mention for "The Christmas Shoes," which, despite an amount of sap greater than Canada's annual maple harvest, becomes completely awesome when you realize that the kid is part of one of those holiday scams local TV news loves to scare viewers with, and Mom really lives with a Hells Angel in a trailer park outside of Tulsa)

Number 5: Do They Know it's Christmas?

What it is: Several minutes of white American liberal guilt about how horrific things are in Third World countries, so much so that they can't even celebrate something so basic as a Norman Rockwell-style Christmas, without a specific call to action or plan for tackling the problem.

Why I hate it: None of those reasons, actually. One line, in particular, manages to completely destroy an otherwise worthy sentiment:

"There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas

There. Won't. Be. Snow. Really? Tell that to the people who live within view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, as it rises, like Olympus, above the Serengeti.

But seriously, there is real need. If the song makes you want to do something--or even if it doesn't-- may I suggest Water Wells for Africa or other worthy organization.

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