Now that half of the year end holidays are over, the annual aural assault of seasonal music is receding into our collective memory. For the most part, I do enjoy hearing the Christmas songs for four-to-six-to-eight weeks out of the year. However, I do have a few reservations.
Since Thanksgiving, I have listened to one of the local stations who go all Christmas 24/7, usually in mid-November. I have my favorites, but there is one I long to hear at least once a day during the season. Waiting to hear this song tests my patience, but some days are better than others. Sometimes I only need to listen for a few hours during the day, and other times I end up listening all day until I hear John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over). This song seems to sound better as the years go by.
In the meantime, though, I am exposed to 20 different versions of Winter Wonderland, 12 different versions of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and countless versions of other holiday “classics”. Really, how many different ways can you sing about a snowman who may or may not be an ordained minister?
I guess I should be grateful for one favor: there is only one version of The Christmas Shoes played on the country’s airwaves. The fact that only one recording exists (that I know of) is proof that — to paraphrase Ben Franklin — God loves us and wants us to be happy during the holidays.
This year, I’ve grown to detest one song in particular so much that it seriously challenges my wish to extend good will to all men and women: Happy Holidays by Andy Williams. Oh, it starts out all right, but then it gets too glib, and slips and slides on its own schmaltzy gloss. One line in particular sounds like it came out of the mouths of the Rat Pack (Sinatra, Martin, Davis Jr., et al) with the words “whoop-de-doo and dickory dock.”
Let’s get one thing straight. At Christmas we roast chestnuts, sing carols, go wassailing, toast friends and family with eggnog, watch Jimmy Stewart lose his mind, but we don’t - and let’s make this very clear — we don’t whoop-de-doo. This is a summertime activity as in, “Let’s go down to the swimmin’ hole and have a whoop-de-doo.” Do not confuse this phrase with its more vulgar usage in the sentence, “Is that a whoop-de-doo in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”
This brings us to the other half of the phrase “dickory dock”. These words are an exploding rhyme of double entendre just waiting to happen. On second thought, let’s leave “dickory dock” alone. In either case, neither one belongs in a Christmas song!
So we end another year at arteejee. Thank you for your comments this past year, and please keep sending your thoughts to me when you can. Your ideas and questions are always welcome...except for The Christmas Shoes. Seriously, if you know that another version of that song exists, please keep it to yourself. I don’t want my bubble burst...
(Thank you for reading! Remember to drink and drive, oh no, I mean drive and drink...no, that’s not it...drink a little, drive half-way...oh, prairie shit! Have a safe holiday!)