Christmas for Curmudgeons, Or: How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Holidays
Anybody who’s been reading this blog at all regularly has picked up on, I’m sure, a certain misanthropic bent running just below its surface like a sewer line, and, for the most part, it’s not an act. Chances are pretty good that if I’m awake, I’m ranting. So you would think that this time of year would be my time to shine (so to speak) with all its factory-made good cheer and it’s nauseatingly first-world problems, but it’s not. The holidays are when the amateurs, the pikers, the poseurs and the part-time grumps come out to let us all know what wrong-headed sheep we are. In the last thirty or forty years, bah-humbugging has become an industry unto itself, and it’s gotten to the point now that the complaints against the holidays have become as raggedly clichéd as the clichés they pretend to combat.
Here is a list for all you bandwagon curmudgeons (and you know who you are) of things that you were about to say before I interrupted you that are no longer funny and/or insightful, and the rest of us would prefer that you keep them to yourself.
• The malls started piping in the Christmas carols right after Labor Day this year.
• Santa Claus was invented by the Toymakers Guild and the Tinsel Combine, with stylists provided by Coca-Cola.
• Family get-togethers are just previews of what awaits the truly naughty among us when they shuck this mortal coil—only longer.
• Any anecdotes, morality tales, or detailed descriptions of one’s time spent in the mile-long queue waiting to prostrate oneself before the six-dollar an hour power-drunk keeper of this year’s must-have toy.
• The fruitcake that has roamed the earth for generations like a cross between the Rime of the Ancient Mariner and some perverted game of Six Degrees of Separation.
• And the capo di tutti capi of holiday clichés: Christmas is too commercial. (I don’t know about you, but when I stop to take a look, I can’t say that December 25 is any more commercialized than the other 364 days of the year. Existence for the average American is one long list of side effects in a pharmaceutical advertisement, interspersed with sleep in which we dream in 30-second spots for the less attainable desires of the post-Freudian subconscious)(Speaking of Post-Freudian, Baudrillard was wrong. The world hasn’t become The Simulacrum, it’s just an unending string of coming attractions trailers for it).
So it is in all seriousness that, by the power vested in me by me, the once and future King of Curmudgeons, I hereby declare that from this moment forward it is absolutely forbidden to complain, kvetch, bemoan, bewail, bellyache, carp, criticize, decry, denounce, disclaim, disavow, whine, whimper, yammer on about, and/or look askance upon the holiday season—unless of course you come up with something new and/or really, really funny—then, by all means, go tell it on the mountain.
Tired of "Jingle Bell Rock"? Can't take even one more "pa rum pa pum pum" let alone the four thousand of them it takes to sing the song through? Do you feel the same way about Rudolf as all of the other reindeer did before that fateful foggy Christmas Eve? Well then, try some of these from HCPL's collections.
102 Christmas Songs [downloadable audio]
20 Christmas Party Favorites [Popular Music CD]
Aaron Neville’s Soulful Christmas [Soul / R&B CD]
Acoustic Christmas: Spirited Holiday Instrumentals [Classical CD]
Advent and Christmas Gregorian Chants / Capella Gregoriana [Ancient/Devotional CD]
All I Really Want for Christmas / Steven Curtis Chapman [Christian Pop CD]
All-Star Christmas Album / Deutsche Grammophon [Classical CD]
Babes in Toyland: The Magical Musical Story [Classical / Opera CD]
Barenaked for the Holidays / Barenaked Ladies [Rock downloadable audio]
Bing Crosby’s Christmas, Featuring the Andrews Sisters [Mid-20th C. Popular CD]
Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas / Patty Loveless [Bluegrass CD]
Celtic Christmas Celebration [Celtic/Wyndham Hill CD]
Chipmunks Christmas [Annoying Pop CD]
The Christmas Album / Willie Nelson [CD]
The Christmas Angel: A Family Story / Mannheim Steamroller & narrated by Olivia Newton-John [CD]
Christmas Around the World [World Music CD]
A Christmas Celebration / Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices [Gospel CD]
A Christmas Celebration / Celtic Woman [CD & Downloadable Audio]
Christmas Cocktails Vol 1 & 2 [Lounge music CD]
Christmas Collection / Mormon Tabernacle Choir [CD]
Christmas Oratorio / Johann Sebastian Bach [Classical CD]
Christmas South of the Border / Various Artists
Christmas through the Years / Frank Sinatra [CD]
Christmas with Mahalia Jackson [Gospel CD]
Christmas with the Rat Pack: Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, & Sammy Davis, Jr.
Cool Yule / Bette Midler [Pop CD]
A Cowboy Christmas / Flying W Wranglers
Crescent City Christmas Card / Wynton Marsalis [Jazz CD]
Elvis Christmas [Pop CD]
Genuine Houserockin’ Christmas [Downloadable Audio]
Glee, the Music: The Christmas Album
Go Tell It on the Mountain / The Blind Boys of Alabama [Gospel CD]
Holiday Spirits / Straight No Chaser [A cappella CD]
Houston Symphony Christmas Festival [Classical / Carols CD]
If On a Winter’s Night / Sting
In the Christmas Mood II / Glenn Miller Orchestra [Big Band CD]
It Won’t Be Christmas Without You / Brooks & Dunn
Jolly Old Jazz
Merry Fishes to All / Trout Fishing in America
Merry Texas Christmas / Asleep at the Wheel
Miss Patti’s Christmas / Patti LaBelle
Mistletoe & Wine / Mediæval Bæbes [Downloadable Audio]
My Christmas / Andrea Bocelli
My Kind of Christmas / Christina Aguilera
Noel / Ha Ngoc Van, et al. [Vietnamese-language CD]
Now That’s What I Call Today’s Christmas: 18 Christmas Classics by Today’s Biggest Stars [Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, et al.]
The Nutcracker / Tchaikovsky
Season’s Greetings: Christmas Music on the Hammered Dulcimer / Carole Koenig
Sentimental Christmas / Gerry Beaudoin and the Boston Jazz Ensemble
Sinatra Crosby Christmas
A Soulful Christmas / Various Artists [Otis Redding, Booker T and the MGsm et al]
The Three Tenors Christmas /
Canciones navideñas / Los Solecitos
TRL Christmas / Various Artists [Willa Ford, Smashmouth, Jimmy Fallon, et al]
Twenty Christmas Panpipe Favorites
Verve Presents The Very Best of Christmas Jazz [Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, et al]
A Victorian Christmas / Robin Petrie
Villancicos Navideños: 15 Villancicos clasicos Navideños para niños
Wassail! Wassail! [Folk CD]
Winter Kolednica; Seasonal Carols from Slovenia
Wintersong / Sarah McLachlan
World Christmas / Various Artists [World music]