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Why I Hate Christmas Music

November 30, 2005

I'm sure the fact that I hate Christmas music is not a shock to anyone who has spent any time with me or read over just about anything I have written.

The problem I have with Christmas music is the fact you can't get away from it. It's pervasive, it's everywhere. It's in every store, every TV commercial, every radio station. On the radio, Classical stations play Christmas music. Rock stations play "Christmas Rap" over and over, Country stations play, well, the same crap they always play, but somehow they manage to slip in more references to love, family and tone down references to drinking and hunting reindeer, which actually might get me to actually look forward to Country music.

There is simply no escape.

What bugs me is that we don't do this for any other holidays. We don't play patriotic music on the Fourth of July -- except during fireworks shows. We don't play mortuary music for Halloween and we don't play songs about food on Thanksgiving. But on Christmas we go all out to play songs I am perfectly content to never hear again.

As you read this, you might get the impression that I am a huge curmudgeon and hate just about everything. This is more or less a correct assumption, but it goes beyond that. My beef with Christmas music is that there is no innovation and the music is full of hypocrisy. Face it, most families could not possibly live up to the stereotypical images we associate with the perfect Christmas fantasy. Retailers call the first day of Christmas shopping, the day after Thanksgiving as, "Black Friday", the biggest sales event of the year. There is nothing Christmasy sounding about Black Friday. What images did we see on TV? People organizing charity food drives? A push to send toys to the children who were caught up in Hurricanes Katrina or Rita? No. Shit, most of us aren't going to do a thing for them anyway. What we saw on TV was people in fist fights trying to grab a limited number of special items like laptops so companies like Wal-Mart can start off the season with a feeding frenzy. There's no outrage that Wal-Mart does this. There's no outrage that any retailer does this. Instead we comment on how the Christmas season is off to a good start.


We're lead to believe that somehow all this shopping frenzy leads to happy times with mom & dad, all the kids, the perfectly trimmed tree, snow on the ground and good feelings for all. When the reality is that the only families that I saw in that state growing up were severely dysfunctional and using the moment to smooth over all sorts of underlying tension to pretend for one day none of the problems exist. It would be a lot easier if the family just dealt directly with the tension, getting it out in the open and maybe, just maybe getting back to being a functional family. And believe it or not, I'm not talking about my own family.

This is why I hate Christmas music. I hate it because there is no refuge. Even if I want out, I can't even step aside in and let the rest of you live out your sick delusional holiday because there's no way to get away from it.

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