Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Christmas Song

In wrapping up Christmas 2012 I'd like to remember how I got down with the holiday music this year. Not my traditional holiday music either the traditional, fun, and even corny stuff.
My usual bag of holiday tunes features songs that basically make you feel guilty for enjoying yourself at Christmas. Songs with the theme of "I don't know how you all can celebrate when there's so much suffering going on?" These songs include Father Christmas by the Kinks, Do They Know It's Christmas Time? by Band Aid, and The Rebel Jesus by the Chieftains. 
Normally I hate it when radio stations start playing Christmas tunes in November. And what's worse than a tired over-played Christmas song? An over-played retail advertisement set the the tune of an over-played holiday song (thanks a lot Target).
But this year I found myself switching the radio to the all Christmas all the time stations specifically looking for Frosty and Rudolph and then to classics like Hark the Herald Angels Sing (which my kids think originated with A Charlie Brown Christmas), Jingle Bells, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Little Drummer Boy (which I found out makes my cry if I'm asked to sing it out loud), It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Oh Christmas Tree (which my kids also think is from A Charlie Brown Christmas), and even Santa Baby, Jingle Bell Rock and of course the classic "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."
Why this sudden embracing of Christmas music that usually nauseates me? My kids of course. The twins specifically. It was the first time they ever responded to music on the radio (expect when WMVY plays Upside Down by Jack Johnson and they get excited because it's the "Curious George Song.") 
S & N aren't tuned into music as much as C & H were. The result of my slipshod parenting no doubt, I never took them to a Music and Me class or to any live performance save this summer's Toe Jam Puppet Band show at Highfield Theater. They specifically tell me "not" to put on music for them at bedtime.
So it was fun to have them get excited when Frosty would come on in the car. They would tell us all to be quite so they could hear it and then ask me to sing it again once it was over. And listening to Christmas songs through the ears of kids is fresh and fun. Like anything you can see for the first time from a kid's point of view. In that way they kids always notice things we take for granted like airplanes and birds singing, everywhere we went my kids noticed Christmas music playing.
One of our new favorites was Up On the Housetop. Up on the housetop reindeer pause, out jumps good old santa claus. Down through the chimney with lots of toys, all for the little lines Christmas joys. Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn't go? Ho, ho, ho who wouldn't go? Up on the housetop click, click, click. Down through the chimney with good St. Nick.
We seriously couldn't get enough of this song. We even liked the Jackson Five version. It's catchy and singable though the lyrics are odd. Who wouldn't go where? And then there are two verses that stereotype gifts for girls and boys but whatever - it's Christmas and I'll overlook it. We didn't memorize those verses anyway.  
So I let go of my political Christmas tunes and embraced lighter fare. It's best not to over analyze Christmas song lyrics although S & N did ask repeatedly why the other reindeer called Rudolph names. I'm guessing that would not go over too well at their preschool.
I figure I've got one, maybe two more years left to embrace holiday music with my kids before Jingle Bells Batman Smells takes over so why not make the most of it rather than have regrets that I never got silly with my kids over Alvin and the Chipmunks? 
There were still a few tunes I got tired of. I'll never embrace Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey, or I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, or that one where the little kid wants to buy his dying mom new shoes (sorry, little drummer boy is sentimental; that other kid is just plain irritating), but I confess that by the end I wasn't jumping to change the radio station the minute my kids were in bed. I was kind of into, dare I say, the Christmas spirit?
I suppose it would be entirely scroogish of me not to go along with the Christmas tunes while my four year olds were embracing them. And so I got into it too. 
And you know what?
I like Christmas songs!
I do. I like them Sam I Am.
What the hell. I can always go back to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer next year.

song: The Christmas Song • artist: Torme and Wells

1 comment:

Audrey Humaciu said...

I love Christmas music, and was thrilled when my son started getting into them too this year. It is fun to re-experience them from a child's point of view.