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The Issue with Christmas Music

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by Karen Kholer

Christmas music causes quite a clear divide, with people having very strong feelings forcor against it. There’s an acceptance that it will be played no matter what, so then there’s the argument of when it should be played.

Often you can hear the collective sigh if you’re in a department store just after Halloween and they’re already playing “All I Want for Christmas is You.” The general consensus seems to be after Thanksgiving, but then there’s an insistence to wait just a few more days until the beginning of December. By now you are probably either celebrating that it’s finally socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music or you’re being forced to tolerate it. Then there’s the debate surrounding the type of Christmas music, whether it be the classics or a pop rendition or just an original pop Christmas song.

Of course there’s also the religious genre of Christmas music but only a few of those are commonly played. The common issue of Christmas music is that it quickly becomes overplayed. Sure, it’s only played for a certain time of the year but there’s only so much of it. When new Christmas music is made it’s often just new renditions of songs that have already been done a countless number of times. Now sometimes this works, it’s arguable that every rendition of “Last Christmas” is a good one. And in ranking Christmas songs, it sits at the top. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” really only works if it’s the Bruce Springsteen version, otherwise it’s towards the bottom. Something about the song blatantly pointing out how odd the concept of Santa Claus really is doesn’t sit right unless it’s paired with rock elements and Bruce’s voice. As far as songs about Santa go, “Up on the Rooftop” and “Man With The Bag” are preferable but it would rank above the likes of “Santa Baby.”

Generally the argument though is that that original is the best, with the most playtime. So should there be more original Christmas songs written? Maybe. Modern Pop Christmas songs tend to be pretty good if given the chance. Some prime examples are “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson and “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande, both of which could even meld into Christmas favorites at this point. “Christmas Tree Farm” by Taylor Swift is a mix of country and pop but is a pretty good one to mention as well.

So is the solution more original Christmas songs? Perhaps. This isn’t to say we must forego the classics but is just to say increased variety may decrease the heat of the debates.