5 best Christmas songs (and the very worst one)

This is my blog and I’ll do what I want. If I want to do a listicle, I will do a listicle. Maybe I’ve already talked about these songs on a previous post. I DON’T CARE.  So I’m going to give you my top 5 Christmas songs with an explanation of why they are great. And I’ll cap it off with a condemnation of the world’s worst Christmas song.

First a note about my feelings about Christmas. I grew up in a mess of a household. Every holiday was a festival of anxiety and stress, and Christmas was the 2nd biggest mess of the year (gonna put my birthday as #1 mess, but they were all vibrant colours in the Feel-Bad rainbow).


The point is that sincere Christmas songs don’t match up with my personal experience.  They feel forced and unnatural. But the shamelessly artificial songs delight me.

Christmas song #5: “Mary’s Boy Child” By Boney M.

The heavy-handed religion of this song would normally get it barred from my house. But lucky for Boney M, hearing this song reminds me of their best song “Rasputin”. I am willing to allow the excessive Jesus-ness of this song in recognition of Russia’s greatest love machine. In fact, I’m not even going to link to the Christmas song. Watch this lip-sync version of Rasputin instead. They even gave the lead singer a beard. AWESOME. Ohhhhh those Russians.

Christmas song #4: “Home for the Holidays” By Perry Como

I could write a poorly researched and shakily premised essay on America’s post-war culture, but I won’t do that here. You are welcome. The short version is that every country had to manufacture a new normal for themselves, after WWII obliterated the old normal. New myths, rigid cultural norms and roles, and songs that tapped into the longing for a return to “the good ol’ days”. But none of that indulgent speculation is why I like this song. It reminds me of playing Fallout 3, wandering around alone in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and that makes me happy. Festive!


Christmas song #3: “Santa bring my baby back to me” By Elvis Presley

This song is ridiculous, and that makes it delightful. And it moves me to do a variety of odd dances to it, jerky and arrhythmic motions that alarm the pets and worry the family.

Christmas song #2: “Wonderful Christmastime” By Paul McCartney

Possibly the best example of a shamelessly insincere Christmas song. Critics and Serious Music Fans hate it. I love it. If we’re going to pretend to have a good time, why not go over the top?

Christmas song #1: “Last Christmas” By Wham!

WHAM! I love a holiday song that completely ignores everyone else and focuses on your own romantic heartbreak. So self-centered. My only regret is that I did not see the video when it was first released decades ago. What a cinematic epic! A chalet! A long walk to a ski hill, but no skiing! George Michael making sexy eyes at a lady across the table! This is the spirit of Christmas.

And now the very worst Christmas song ever:

“Do they know its Christmas?” by Band Aid

I know this was for charity. It did a lot of good. Raised a lot of money and awareness. But JESUS CHRIST is this the ultimate festive spiritkiller or what? What a piece of maudlin, preachy, and unpleasant music. Each artist oversings their part, trying to shove as much emotion as they can into their bit. They could have written a fun holiday song and donated the proceeds, but nooooo, Bob Geldof wanted to give you the gift of despair for Christmas. I accept that this criticism will be included in the case against me when I stand at the gates of heaven, in the unlikely event that all that godly nonsense is true.


If 20 of you post a comment saying you need to see it, I will record a terrible video called “Bob Geldof asks Bono to do Band Aid”. I will play both roles. I will use the world’s worst Irish accent. I may even have pathetic costumes. It will be epic.


Gut Check!

hippy dippy baloney

I normally dismiss talk of things like intuition and sixth sense as a bunch of hippy dippy baloney, because I am a soreheaded old crank. And the supernatural versions of these ideas are indeed nonsense, according to me, and I am of course the expert in everything everywhere.

But I have come to understand what people mean when they talk about ‘going with your gut’. It’s not a magical predictive organ that gives you insight into the future. If it was, my hefty belly would have me rich and foolishly powerful already.

The gut feeling is the immediate response your mind has to new idea presented to it. It’s a synthesis of various bits of datum and experience, objective facts and subjective feelings, boiled down into a single response. Normally, we build a rational framework after the fact to justify that gut response. The framework isn’t necessarily the reason for you gut response: no no, it is usually just the overly complicated excuse you give yourself.

So I have been working on listening to my gut when it speaks up. It’s a challenge. My anxiety loves to play dress up and masquerade as my gut, as do my longstanding insecurities. And you must be eternally vigilant for the biological overrides. Being sad because you’re tired can lead to false gut responses, and don’t even get me started about the lies your sex drive tells you. I’m amazed we humans ever make rational decisions.

But after filtering all of that out, there’s valuable information to be had by checking in with the old gut. Gut responses are especially useful in situations where there’s no simple answer and too many unknown variables to be certain of anything, like art and politics. You can’t know for sure that your character arc is heading down the wrong path, but your gut may have some advice on the subject. It’s like a low-level spider sense that warns you that something isn’t right or that it may turn out badly.

An untested idea is a useless idea, so I am putting in an effort to keep track of my gut responses and then compare them to the actual results of whatever my gut spoke up about. It may be at the end that my gut is no better than random guessing. On the other hand, even if it isn’t more accurate, my gut feelings can give me a course of action when all choices look equally baffling. A method of short-circuiting analysis paralysis is a nice tool to have in the tool box.

That’s enough out of you, internet


brick yelling
The Internet’s profile pic.

I think I am breaking up with social media. Specifically, I am going to take a big ol’ break from twitter. The relationship is pretty toxic.

I loved social media at first. It felt like I was connecting to people outside of the house, finding peers and a social circle packed full of like-minded individuals.

But does social media make me feel good anymore? Nope. Everyone is yelling all the time about things that outrage them. Constantly. There is a new, greatest injustice every 10 minutes-it’s like a parade of agitation. The speed at which these outrages occur force you to quickly make a decision to either support or refute it. No one does research. No one even reads the article whose headline made them so furious.

And I fell right into the trap. I’m a contrarian by nature or by bad habit, so I have to consider the opposite position of every outraged claim that catches my attention in my twitter feed. One after another after another. Too quickly to reasonably research and calmly debate to come to a rational consensus. Just the right side (the one you already agree with) and the bad side that must be argued against with righteous rage. And each time I would remember that arguing

a)accomplishes nothing (sorry if that is a painful realization for you, but everyone is committed to their held beliefs and nothing on earth will move them from those)

b) makes me feel worse than before.

So I would stop myself from launching into pointless internet arguments, letting the arguments pile up in my mental storage room. But that room is packed to the gills with garbage and I want to de-clutter.

The blame ultimately falls on me, because I liked the provocation that social media provides. Bored? Go look for some excitement on the interwebs. But it was bad excitement, hostile stimulation. Now that I’ve noticed the connection between my argument stockpile and my general level of anxiety, I’m severely rationing my social media use.

And not to put too fine a point on it, I didn’t need to know this much about you all. I wanted to see your pictures of your kids and your pets. I wanted to know about the nice things that made you happy. That’s it.

The upside should be a marked increase in blogging (oh and general peace and happiness in my brain. That’s a pretty significant upside. Should have led with that.)

Remember this sound advice from Lisa Simpson and Paul Anka. It works for monsters, and it works for the perpetually outraged: Just Don’t Look.

And don’t be Homer. “Don’t make us poke your eyes out, dad.”