If I ever lost my hearing, I’d have already heard all the Christmas songs I can stand. I have no problem with festivity and people singing fun songs together, but I have a regrettable susceptibility to ear worms that make Christmas songs harder to tolerate. If the songs were worse, perhaps random factory noises, I might enjoy them more, but that would complicate singalongs.
At some point, I must have enjoyed Christmas carols, because, really, it’s fun, in concept. But, after my first season in retail where the music tape lasted only one hour, my love/hate views tilted thoroughly to hate. Repetition of almost any song can kill the joy from the first 100 listens. It’s true. But Christmas songs are so much worse because they are so catchy. So. Damn. Catchy. Catchy music sticks in my head forever and, although I don’t remember it perfectly, I do repeat my own 10 second snippet for hours and hours and hours. When I first bought AC/DC’s Back In Black, I’d heard only the opening 10 seconds from the title song. I replayed that in my head on the full 2 hour drive to and from the record store (I don’t know why we had to go so far away!). Fortunately, after purchasing the album, I cured myself by alternating between that and the Eagles Long Run. As a young adult and older, I was not so easily cured.
There is one Christmas song I still enjoy enough, perhaps, to be able to still like it after a dozen listens in a row: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John & Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band. It is a great song. We can all agree on that, right? I don’t know what’s different. I think that the added reality or topicality of it helps. Although it is a Christmas song, it feels like it’s about more, perhaps about a war in some place far away that nobody remembers (it’s Vietnam … I remember). There’s no mythical story, no commercial tie in, just a song about feeling and living and being together … good hippie stuff. Since I lean emotionally, not hygienically, towards hippiedom, I suppose the song must appeal to me. It’s the law, in fact, and like any good hippie, I refuse to break the law.
Now, if you, hippie or not, wish to risk breaking the law by enjoying all the conventional Christmas music, be my guest … just be my guest out of ear shot of me. Still, enjoy it fully and completely. Don’t waste it! When you’re done, we can get together and turn on the good music.