BACK AWAY FROM THE FIGGY PUDDING AND LEAVE IN PEACE
So Christmas is behind us for another year. My Christmas was not all that Christmas-y because I had to work, so I tried to spice things up by listening to Christmas music in my car as I drove from story to story.
Now I'm not down on Christmas, I think it's a lovely holiday. And I'm not down on Christmas music either, but after a day of non-stop listening, it seems like we need to thin the canon just a bit. Might I suggest:
"Christmas Comes This Time Each Year"
Of all the observations one can make about Christmas, that it occupies a fixed point on the calendar seems to be about the least important. Who says of Halloween, "Have you ever noticed that it's always on October 31st?" It hardly seems worthy of a song. If you're so hung up on when holidays fall, at least concentrate on the ones that actually change. Points to anyone who can write a song with a title like, "Thanksgiving Always Falls on the Fourth Thursday in November," or "Chanukah Always Starts on the 25th Day of Kislev!"
"Little Drummer Boy"
One of my best friends is a drummer, so it pains me to put this on the list, but when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir says "a rump a pum pum," it just sounds wrong.
"We Wish You A Merry Christmas"
This one really gets under my skin. It starts off ok, I guess. The singers take the voice of carolers who knock on someone's door and bid them holiday tidings... again, and again, and again. But then things get ugly:
"Now bring us a figgy pudding/now bring us a figgy pudding/now bring us a figgy pudding/ now bring some right here!"
Who are these people? They show up, say "merry Christmas," then start demanding figgy puddings. They didn't even try to soften the victim up by saying, "Hey, we sure are starving. You wouldn't happen to have any figgy pudding around there, would you?" Then, and only then, could they ask for some. But they don't, they just assume you've got vats of figgy pudding around, then demand you hand it over. I'm not one to get hung up on manners, but that's just rude.
And even if you did have the figgy pudding, what if you were saving it for dinner that night? What if you had family coming over and they really wanted some figgy pudding? What's going to happen if you just hand it over to some bozos who show up at our door with a tedious song? Try explaining that when it's time to serve dessert.
But that's not all, these holiday visitors turn criminal in the next verse:
"We won't go until we get some/we won't go until we get some/we won't go until we get some/now bring some right here."
Now these once cheery singers have turned to extortion to get their hands on this figgy pudding. They're not going to leave until you produce this questionable pudding that actually sounds kind of nasty. I would hope that by the third time the singers say "we won't go until we get some," the victim is on the phone with the police. You won't go? Perhaps 8 men in riot gear can convince you otherwise.
Now anyone who owns an NWA album knows that camping out on a doorstep attempting to extort figgy pudding from strangers is not the most awful thing you can threaten a person with in a song. But it hardly seems like the kind of activity that should be glorified by a Christmas tune. That's all I'm saying.
(NWA never made a Christmas album, but they really should have. I would love to hear them cover, "Grandma Got Run Over By a F---ing Raindeer." I imagine the song would end with Eazy E (Rest in Peace) rolling in his 6-4 up to the north poll to avenge the death of his grandma. It would have been a classic.)