I swear on Mr. Rogers himself the first song I knew all of the words to that wasn’t “There’s a Hole in the Bucket” was “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers. That’s what happens when your mom gets her first 6-disc CD player and fills it with the greatest hits of Enya and Roger Whittaker.
My mom used to buy these Christmas-mix CDs with “Judy Farland” singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Sing Crosby” singing “White Christmas.” By that, I mean it was some mediocre aspiring singer trying to do justice to Darlene Love.
I don’t want to make it sound more dramatic than it was, but Roger Whittaker and fake Christmas songs basically leave me huddled in the fetal position, rocking violently in the corner going, “What is this? I don’t even…”
This year, I was determined to Occupy Christmas with real music by real singers you might actually enjoy listening to. I spent days building a playlist with all of my favorite versions of classic Christmas songs as well as some unconventional ones I planned to catch my mom enjoying before I told her it wasn’t Mannheim Steamroller.
She liked it. She didn’t love it. She kept asking, “Where’s ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’?” When we were near the end, she flipped the CD changer to Enya and played “Silent Night.”
“This is a real Christmas song,” she said.
Someday I’ll blast Christmas music by The Flaming Lips and The Kinks in my house. But for now, all I know is this: Christmas is not the time to be a music snob.
It’s also not the time to be a movie snob. My family has this theory about “The Movie That Makes Everyone Happy,” otherwise known as “The Movie That Makes No One Happy.”
You might have seen it. It was called Marley & Me a couple of years ago — Night at the Museum a few years before that.
With a group of kids, grandparents, parents and young adults, everyone loses. Grandma won’t want to see needless violence, the kids can’t see anything except PG, parents want to watch that sweet new chick flick and you want see Kicking Ass and Taking Milk and Cookies: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town starring The Governator himself or something like that.
In the end, everyone agrees the movie was “cute” and “fine” and goes home $8 per person poorer.
Christmas is not the time to be a movie snob. It’s not the time to educate everyone. It’s the time to enjoy everyone. Or at least tolerate everyone until January 1, when you get to be a cranky asshole again.
Happy snob-free holidays to you.
Photo: Burl Ives knew how to snob it up right with “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” and a cigar — from SweetsLyrics.com.