It’s Christmas time…there’s no need to be afraid. So said Band Aid, but I don’t agree. I reckon there’s plenty to fear during the silly season and an awful lot of it will come at you from the speakers of your friendly (??) local shopping centre! Like many aspects of Christmas, the tradition of Christmas carols goes back to pagan sing songs that celebrated seasons and solstices (don’t try saying ‘solstices’ with a mouth full of pudding). But these days carols are not so much a celebration of life as a sad indictment on the state of the music industry as crooners strive for new levels of mundane in a rush to make the stocking filler list. I need a bucket load of bubbles before Bublé is appealing and if I have to hear Mariah Carey ONE MORE TIME this season I cannot be held responsible for my actions. Thank goodness we don’t have a big tradition of door-to-door carollers in Australia, although I did hear a hilarious story yesterday about some poor souls in a nursing home trying to hobble to their rooms as fast as their walking frames could carry them to get away from some well meaning songsters at the door. No one is safe!
But it ain’t all bad. I may be a bit of a Grinch where cheesy festive tunes are concerned, but there are a few stand out numbers that will always bring a smile to my dial. The best (most tolerable) Christmas carols to me these days are the ones I connect with special memories. When my Baby Boy sings Jingle Bells, complete with improvised hand actions, it melts my heart. When my girls belt out Silent Night with totally incorrect lyrics but heaps of gusto I know they are creating a moment that will be at the top of my wish list as they grow older. And, let’s face it, putting aside religious significance, gift giving and food, Christmas is all about memories; the ‘near and the dear ones’ as John Lennon put it. There’s a reason, I’ll concede, why the classic Christmas carols have endured.
So, as I see it, the Westfield sound system will be pumping out a combination of heinous contemporary Christmas nasties and old classics that live on thanks to our sentimentality around children. But then there’s the 80s. Is it me, or was that just the BEST time for Christmas songs? You really can’t beat a spot of Band Aid reminding us that the not-necessarily-Christian population of a stinking hot continent will be missing out on a white Christmas this year. Or George Michael looking as camp as, well, Christmas, while he romances a girl half the size of his hair in the snowy woods? Or another group of famously flamboyant fellas getting their nativity on in what turns out to be quite a lovely retelling of the Christmas story, actually, even if the angel is a bit over the top?
So I’m leaving you for this holiday season with the gift of Christmas links, with love from the ’80s! Feel free to share your personal favourites in the comments!