Happy Christmas, Your Arse

Local musicians weigh in on their favorite—and least favorite—Christmas songs

The best Christmas songs, whether they're classic carols or new favorites, embody whatever you love about the holiday. The worst, on the other hand, are grim reminders of all that is unbearable about the season's orgy of consumerism, exploitation of Christian tradition and ham-handed sentimentality.

I e-mailed a few local musicians the following three questions about holiday music:

1. What is your favorite holiday song (or songs), and why?

Reverend Horton Heat
Reverend Horton Heat

2. What memories does that song bring up for you?

3. What is the holiday song you never want to hear again, and why?

I was hoping to include responses with non-Christmas holiday songs, but nobody who responded mentioned Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Also, nobody picked my personal favorite. For me, Christmas is about love, and nothing reminds me of real love—maddening and unconditional love for someone who you're bound to let down and who is bound to disappoint you—like The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York."

Really, the responses were great. Thanks to all who replied. Merry Christmas.

Jim Heath, a.k.a. Reverend Horton Heat

1. Right now, my favorite Christmas song is "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!" Because I can't do Christmas now without the Rat Pack (Frank, Dean and Sammy), and the Rat Pack can't do Christmas without Dino slurring/crooning "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!"

However, when I was kid, every year without fail we listened to Season's Greetings from Perry Como. We listened to this over and over, and I thought everyone did this at Christmas. Eventually, I figured out how un-cool Perry Como was. Then later I had to find this music again. So now guess what? We listen to Perry Como every Christmas. Just not over and over like the (good?) old days.

2. Whenever I hear Perry Como's Christmas album, it takes me back to the house we used to live in. The early '60s décor (pretty cool now that I think of that), the smell of hot Dr Pepper and lemon (try it!) and the mostly fruitless prayers for snow in San Antonio.

3. The worst Christmas song ever written was written by a friend of mine, so I can't say what or who. But good and bad is totally subjective, and he's made a lot of money on the song, as some people love it.

I will say that once I got a pretty bad hangover from a really good Christmas party, and, while I was in total anguish, thinking that I would die, the song "We Are Santa's Elves" was playing in my head over and over and over. It's really not such a bad song, but now, as you can well imagine, it grates on my nerves.

Kristy Kruger

1. Well, I'll be honest here, I am not much of a holiday music fan. I actually find holiday music and all its "merriness" (if that's a word) rather disturbing. It just doesn't seem possible that anyone could be that jolly. It's kind of like an aural representation of that one high-school cheerleader that was always smiling but secretly hated everyone. But if I had to pick one, I'd say the "Ukrainian Bell Carol," but not when those cheesy choirs add words to it! I like it because it's dark and eerie. That's the way Christmas should sound, if you ask me.

2. It doesn't really bring up any memories, I just like the way it sounds. Maybe that's why I like it, because it doesn't bring up memories. All the other Christmas songs bring up too many childhood memories, and now they just make me sad. Maybe that's why I hate them.

3. I cannot freakin' stand "The Little Drummer Boy." I had serious issues with this song from the time I was a little girl. "Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum?" Am I really expected to sing this? Come on, people. You can't be serious. 

Boyd Dixon of Tame...Tame and Quiet

Favorite holiday song: "Linus and Lucy" (Vince Guaraldi). My mother grew up loving Charlie Brown, and we always looked forward to the annual airing of the Christmas special. The whole soundtrack is wonderful, but "Linus and Lucy" is my favorite. It's the song that Schroeder plays while they're trying to rehearse the Christmas pageant, but instead of having any productive rehearsal, they're all just dancing and bobbing their heads. However, this is an adulthood favorite for me. When I was too young for nostalgia, I think "Jingle Bell Rock" was my fave.

Never want to hear again: "Jingle Bell Rock," probably from having during past Christmas seasons turned on my TV and gone to department stores entirely too frequently.

Paul Slocum of Treewave

1) "Christmas" by Beat Happening.

2) Cassette tapes.

3) I could do without "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

Chris Holt of The Slack, Sorta and numerous other bands

Oh, I've got lots of favorites, and what's both sad and funny is that some of the ones that are absolutely wretched are the ones that I find myself listening to and giggling at the most.

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