A survival guide to Christmas music

Originally written for eVent! magazine [ep] on December 6th, 2005.

They start piping Christmas music through the public address system in the mall about twenty seconds after Halloween ends.  Radio waits a bit long, until the first week in December, before turning the airwaves over to songs about Santa Claus, reindeer and the birth of Jesus.  The problem is that in general Christmas music is terrible and no matter who it is crooning “White Christmas” it’s still not going to be a good song.

So what’s the trick to getting through an entire holiday season without being driven to trying to destroy your own hearing by stabbing your eardrums with Q-Tips in order to end the torment that is Christmas music?  Well here are a few simple suggestions for staying sane over these days of terrible music.

1) Don’t go to any school productions of anything
If you have children then you might be out of luck on this one.  Just keep telling yourself that you love your child or children so much that you’d do anything for them.  Think of it that if they needed one of your kidneys you’d give it to them and sitting through a school pageant is the equivalent of donating a kidney.  There’s nothing I can do to help you get out of this one, just make your children promise to put you in a good home when you start drooling into your oatmeal.

2) Find some good holiday music to play at your events
You might not get to control the playlist on local radio or at the mall, but you can DJ your own holiday get-together and make sure that the worst of the of the sappy holiday tunes aren’t played.  Use the iTunes music store to pick up some good Christmas music such as The O.C. Mix 3: Have A Very Merry Chrismukkah including songs from the Eels, Ron Sexsmith, Jimmy Eat World and The Ravonettes.  Also check out Low’s album Christmas for some truly enjoyable holiday standards.

3) Embrace your anti-social side: aka iPod time
Listen to your iPod in the car, listen to it while walking around in the mall and use an adaptor and listen to it at work.  Cocoon yourself in a warm blanket of good music and wait out the storm of holiday schlock that’s going to be driving everyone else crazy.  Some of it might seep through your carefully constructed tree fort of goodness, but you’ll be ahead of the game.

4) Watch or read About A Boy
This isn’t really going to protect you from lame music, but it will help you put everything in perspective.  In both the book and movie the main character Will (played by Hugh Grant in the film) lives off the royalties of a hit Christmas song called “Santa’s Super Sleigh” that his father wrote years ago.  The Christmas season far worse for Will than it is for you, because of the bad memories “Santa’s Super Sleigh” brings up after being forced to sing it for drunk relatives as family gatherings.

5) Don’t watch any Tim Allen movies about Christmas
I think this goes without saying but any movie that Tim Allen turns into Santa Claus is to be avoided.  In fact as a general rule I’d suggest avoiding any Tim Allen movie period.

So that’s it, four simple suggestions to help you get through the holiday season without having to hear “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” half a dozen times.  Follow these simple suggestions and have a very Merry Christmas free from dirges about drummer boys, pear trees and leaping lords.