Full disclosure: for ages, this question has floated around my brain at this time of the year.
Christmas songs appear when you least expect them.
For example, I heard my first Christmas song played in the middle of November. It was not related in any way to the holidays, just part of someone’s “non-stop oldies” on the radio.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was more than happy to sing along to Jona Lewi’s attempt to stop the cavalry. However great this moment was for me, I am sure it received a different reaction from others, (people who Ebeneezer Scrooge Esq would have been proud of on the 23rd or a good part of the 24th.)
There are people out there who cannot face Christmas or any reference at all to the season. The loss of a loved one, fear, depression, anxiety, or any notion that brings painful memories back to the forefront. In all of this, and without question, I feel empathy and understanding for their resentment.
What I have wanted to convey, however, is that Christmas songs are not like anything else. There is a personal meaning and relevance behind them.
I like to look at them in the same way I look forward to putting up the Christmas tree and all its decorations. For the first ten months we never think of it, then it happens, Halloween (our other favourite holiday) gives way, and then the spectre of Christmas starts to loom large.
Just around the middle of November, or in my case the last Sunday of November (family tradition,) we search our lofts or rummage around in the shed for those boxes you carefully stow away, searching for the tree decorations, to discover it has moved at its own accord. We drop a silent prayer to the gods of Yuletide Past that the tree lights still work. For me, it is the opening of that box and seeing those familiar decorations, which have survived the generations that hold the same weight as hearing that playlist of Christmas songs.
Like it or not, some do look forward to hearing that first song, in my case extremely early in November this year on an all-Christmas digital radio station. I reference Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, where does that song take you to?
When we hear a carol or hymn it takes us back to simpler times, school nativity plays of old. Personally, I reached the dizzying acting heights of a king’s attendant. I uttered no line. Perhaps, I should have asked, what was my motivation, my backstory? Still, for a couple of weeks, I passed a king their box of gold, frankincense and/or myrrh.
Who would argue that when we hear Noddy Holder and Slade wishing us a Merry Christmas Everyone, does it not evoke a memory of past Christmases or collectively rolling our eyes as Cliff Richard reminds us that the season is full of mistletoe and wine, where does that song take you?
That is the point, no matter how old these songs are, we go back to them more than any other modern pretender (The Pretenders 2000 miles excluded) to the Christmas throne. I do not want them to change, nor the accompanying videos to be remastered and be rid of their grainy images.
Like our Christmas decorations, some of which are passed down through generations, these songs will continue to be played, hotly debated on what is the best. Could you have Christmas without a bit of Slade, Mud, Wizzard, and Bing Crosby? How often have we watched Shakin Stevens wishing us “Merry Christmas Everyone” and saying to someone, “You don’t see him anymore” or “He must be rolling it in” owing it to the royalties one song could earn said musician/singer/band.
Why do I hear Chris Rea driving home for Christmas and immediately think of my sister singing along on Christmas Eve? Why does the first bar of “Do They Know Its Christmas” remind me of my dad bringing home the chart-topping 7-inch vinyl single and listening to it on endless repeat?
In summary, these songs are a rolling juggernaut of nostalgia that defines a time, an era of which we will never see again, not affected by trends, culture, style, modern technology, remixes, cover versions, or time itself.
These songs only last a month, ok a month and a half at best, that music box has opened and like our old Christmas decorations, we welcome them back, we embrace them, we share them and occasionally roll our eyes to think not again. For those that can or want to, stop what you are doing, listen to them and see where they take you…
To quote the end of the video the Wham! 1984 hit,
Merry Christmas and Thank You.
More Articles by Samantha JoanView all articles by Samantha Joan
Latest posts by Samantha Joan (see all)
- Christmas Songs: A Case for their defense… - December 23, 2022
- My First Makeover - May 18, 2022
- Stepping Into The Unknown With Surprising Results…. - February 25, 2020