Have you really stopped to think about the Christmas songs we sing every year?
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – This song is REALLY creepy. It begins with a threat (you’d better watch out, you’d better not cry, you’d better not pout, I’m telling you why…SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN). It continues with a dire warning that there is a list that will be diligently checks, and then informs you that Santa is really Big Brother – always watching. It ends with a reiteration of the original threat. Scary stuff.
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – This song, while on the surface a tale of an underdog who defied the odds, is actually an allegory for the importance of being popular. None of the reindeer liked Rudolph until Santa noticed him, and then they were all gleeful. Santa himself never noticed Rudolph until a foggy Christmas Eve, and then he used him for his own sadistic purposes. What kind of message does this send to our youth?
- Nuttin For Christmas – When I was in high school, my mother would always make me come work with her on the last day of school before the winter break. It was an exam make up day for us, and if I had no exams, I had the day off. So since she still had to work (as a librarian in an elementary school), I had to help her. On that last day, teachers would bring their kids into the media center and sing lots of songs. The one that stuck out to me was “I’m Getting Nuttin For Christmas”. The kids just belted out the chorus “I’m getting nuttin for Christmas / Mommy and Daddy are mad / I’m getting nuttin for Christmas / Cause I ain’t been nuttin but bad.” The awful thing about this song is that the singer is reveling in his/her badness, and resolving to be good next year (no point this year). I know it’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek song, but what a terrible message for out children!
- Frosty the Snowman – A magical snowman that comes to life only to die a horrific death that same day. Kind of depressing when you think about it. Even worse is his defiance of authority, only pausing a moment when a traffic cop orders him to halt. He’s also a smoker. What a nice role model.
- White Christmas – I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. What about all of us who never had a white Christmas? This song does nothing but mock us. I know I always felt like I was missing out.
OK, I’m kidding. I love Christmas, and I love Christmas music. But one of the perils of being a music therapist is that I tend to overanalyze lyrics. Ah well. Thanks for reading!