Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mithras is the reason for the season!

I'm getting tired of Christmas already. This is, I think, in part because I'm flat broke and I don't have money to buy presents for my family and friends. It's also because of that damn GRE swallowing up my birthday weekend. It's also because of a generalized lack of time to devote to Christmas-type activities. I have not yet gotten to watch any of my traditional Christmas movies ("National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," "It's a Wonderful Life," "Scrooged," and "The He-Man/She-Ra Christmas Special," classics all); my only real contact with the Christmas world at large has been through the (ridiculous, idiotic, diversion tactic, moronic, half-baked, ignorant) "War on Christmas," and through the deluge of Christmas music just about everywhere.

I like Christmas music in general. Sometimes I'll break out my Christmas mix disc in decidedly non-Christmasy parts of the year, when the mood strikes me. Most of it's really cheesy, but sometimes I hanker for a hunk o' cheese. When the holidays come around, it's a nice excuse to listen to some great songs, and some bad covers of great songs (honestly, people should have stopped recording "The Christmas Song" after Nat King Cole. That's the definitive version, no matter what came before. Anything else is a pale imitation.), and some really awful, awful music.

Anyway, several years ago, I bought a Beach Boys Christmas Album (the Beach Boys having, at one time, been my favorite band, and the album having been, at the time, very cheap), and heard a couple of their original songs that I'd never heard before. One of these songs was "Little Saint Nick," which I eventually learned was not about Santa, but his sleigh (christened "The Little St. Nick," which makes you wonder if the Beach Boys thought symbolically at all). I heard it after that occasionally, usually lumped in with other "hip" Christmas songs on Oldies stations (along with, say, "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Blue Christmas"). It never struck me as a particularly popular song.

Cue 2005, and I start hearing "Little Saint Nick" every time I walk into a store. Sometimes 2-3 times in an hour. My friend Jon and I have had some long discussions about our increasing hatred for that particular song, due to its total overexposure. It's never really seemed like a classic song, but every store or station trying to look hip or trying to play something that's not Trans-Siberian Orchestra has picked up on that hip new 40-year-old song. Once in awhile, it's a servicable tune. It's nothing absolutely terrible (though it sounds a little too much like every other Beach Boys car song), but when you hear it several times a day and start really paying attention to the lyrics, like "she'll walk a toboggan with a four-speed stick" and "with a ski for a wheel" and "Christmas comes this time each year," you start to see how dumb this song really is. And I sincerely doubt that Santa "spends the whole year working out on his sled."

Much to my surprise, the prevalence of "Little St. Nick" this year isn't just a regional thing. Scott over at Polite Dissent has noticed it too.

I think I heard part of "Christmas Shoes" while flipping through the radio stations in the car the other day, but Chris's comments about it made me decide to check it out in detail. Oh dear god. I missed the second verse because I was laughing so hard. I can't believe how sugary and blatantly sentimental that song is. Poor Dickensian child with a heart of gold, dying mother, cynical Scrooge, Jesus, a gift from the heart, a children's choir, and a reminder of the meaning of Christmas? Had there had been a lost puppy or wide-eyed kitten, I would have gone into diabetic shock. Already I think I'm developing a cavity.

I think I originally had a point to this post. Unfortunately, I'm finishing it now, on Christmas Eve, having not looked at it for like a week. For the record, I got fed up with Christmas back on the 14th. Now it's just giving me gas.

I've got at least one more post for this solstice holiday evening, a final grinchy "bah, humbug" before I get all sappy tomorrow. Enjoy!

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