So yesterday Noel listed ten things to prepare in the next ten days. It’s a shame he didn’t think of this a day earlier, because he missed one.
Christmas music. AKA Carols, an integral part of the festive season for centuries.
When English funster Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans came to power in England in 1647, they banned Christmas and the singing of carols. Thankfully for Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jnr though, the carols survived because people gathered together in secret to sing them.
I like the visual image of a bunch of Londoners getting together and whispering “you’d better not shout” or “Do you hear what I hear?” at one another.
Carols today are an often-annoying but quite lovely part of the Christmas tradition, but again, have we stopped to think about what they mean?
When you consider the words, it’s a bit like watching Grease for the first time as an adult and realising that you TOTALLY missed half the movie while you were an enthusiastic tween belting out your rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.
Here are seven that could do with being pushed into retirement;
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – this is bullying, plain and simple. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names until he was selected to guide the sleigh by virtue of his unusual anatomy. Clearly reindeer are jerks.
- We wish you a Merry Christmas – of sure, on the face of it, it’s fine, but those demands for figgy pudding and the threats not to go until we get some are at best impolite, at worst, hideous culinary standover tactics
- 12 Days of Christmas – as well as being super annoying (apart from shouting out “5 Golden Rings!” which is fun), this carol normalises relationships where one party gives the other a whopping 364 gifts over 12 days and seemingly receives nothing in return. Psychological abuse, that’s super-festive.
- We Three Kings – again, seems nice. Then, deep in the third verse you get sentiments that I think we will all agree are entirely inappropriate for celebrating the birth of a newborn baby – “Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in a stone-cold tomb”? Really guys? A woman’s hormones are in such a state of flux after giving birth that this sort of language is just cruel
- What Child Is This – same deal. This treat, penned by a sick insurance company manager named Bill Dix, looks at the delightful newborn baby and then describes his awful and untimely death in distasteful detail. Hey Bill, there’s a reason you don’t see Maternity Hospital Gift Shops selling balloons that say “Nails, spears shall pierce him through”
- And back to poor old Mary in The Seven Joys of Mary. This delightful number lists Mary’s 7 joys as being 6 things done by her son, one of which is carrying around the big cross upon which he was crucified, and one thing that she actually does herself – breastfeeding Jesus. Really? So she didn’t like sewing? Not even compared with watching her son die? What about a nice cup of tea or grooming Joseph’s fine ass? Nope, Mary’s joys were breastfeeding and watching Jesus do stuff.
- And my favourite, one of the newer set of Christmas songs – Do they know it’s Christmas? I have long thought that Bono is an evil castle-dwelling elf who likes to preach endlessly about what the rest of us should kick in to change the world. Meanwhile Bono shows up places FOR FREE and calls that doing his bit (sell your castle and give the money to some poor people if you want to do your bit Bono), but for him to belt out “well tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you” shows a particularly callous view of famine sufferers, even for a tax-minimiser of such skill. (By the shitty 2014 version, he’d changed the line to “Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you” which is also vaguely distasteful and he just looks bored and angry through the entire clip. I guess he wanted to get back to his castle and away from the Millennials which I think we can all understand).
So there you go. Joyful Christmas Carols all. We haven’t even covered the creepy stalking Santa who knows when everyone is asleep or awake or that poor bloody drummer kid who had no gifts and decided to play the drum for the newborn baby. I’ll forgive him, because he’s a child, but I would literally have strangled anyone who came into my room at North Shore Private to play the drums in the days after I gave birth.
Two carols can be on permanent loop in my house – anything sung by Chrissy Hynde and Wham’s Last Christmas which is festive musical perfection.
The clip is a masterclass in 1980s hair-styling but does breach some basic etiquette which necessitates a quick lesson here. Ladies, even if your handsome boyfriend does turn out to be gay, it is entirely inappropriate to then date the only other member of his band.
Yes it is.
You are now ready to go forth and produce your Christmas playlist.
Love Mary x