Jenderbender The Painful Absurdity of Holiday Music

Yes- it’s that time of year again- the time to share laughter, joy, and cheap single-filtered vodka with your fellow man. However, today I would like to touch upon a rather serious topic, one that no doubt affects the lives of millions. One that is so embedded in our society that the sheer thought of it sends millions spiraling down into the depths of seasonal alcoholism. I’m talking about fucking awful holiday music. 

I know what you’re thinking- and yes, I hate Christmas. I hate it more than you. But why kick a drunk when they’re down? The holiday music we listen to today is pretty absurd. Some of it doesn’t even make sense. Some of it would be considered abusive by the standards of the DSM-V. And don’t get all like, “that’s the beauty of it, it’s so whimsical it doesn’t have to make sense!” Seriously, fuck you. Fuck you so much.

This music kills more brain cells annually than drinking, or self-induced gunshot wounds to the head, which is a distinct possibility here. Don’t believe me? Well, let me illustrate the fucked-upped-ness of holiday music for you by unpacking the absurdities of some of the most over-played (and ironically well-loved) songs of the fat-man-in-a-red-parka season. It took a lot for me to re-live the trauma of this horrible music, so I hope you are freaking happy. Alright, let's go:

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.

Ahh yes, my most fucking favourite song of the lot. Before I get into the logistics of why this song is borderline retarded, let me touch upon the acute audio abuse of a young girl with a sinus infection who decided to sear my ears with her icy voice. You can just picture her, in her crappy overalls, and her contaminated-industrial era- milk-face. I bet she’s a god damned ginger too. Anyways, I really effing appreciate it when this song comes on the radio in stressful traffic situations, when I receive warnings from the student loan service, or when some bitch looks at me the wrong way. At moments like these, I want nothing more than to sharpen my teeth on something that will bleed profusely. However, it get’s worse when the lyrics kick in. This girl goes off on some diatribe about how she wants a hippopotamus for Christmas. For starters, Hippos are some of the most territorial animals in the world, capable of ripping your face off in one go. In fact, they are one of Africa’s most lethal animals. Second, have you been to the hippo pavilion at the zoo? They smell hellish. Third, do you have a large swimming pool and shed in which to store your two-ton hippo? Why do you want this animal? Are you plotting something? Where is this girl's parents?! Oh yeah. Industrial era. They sold her to a sweat-shop orphanage, because she was such a dumbass. 

I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus.

I don’t know about you, but I would be totally traumatized to see my mom cheating on my dad. It would totally ruin Christmas- and like, every day after that. Forever. The lyrics in this song are pretty damn vague, leaving out a lot of the more-than-likely horrific aftermath that the visual trauma has done to this kid. I suspect this kid will never be the same after seeing his mommy “kissing” (or whatever they called it in the forty’s) Santa Claus. I can only assume this kid is now scarred, never again being able to trust older adults wearing red parkas. They may even convulse in a fit of rage or sink into a deep lonesome depression when they see the Koolaide man. Nonetheless, I can’t help but query about this song’s lyrics, such as: doesn’t Santa have a wife? Are Mr. and Mrs. Clause swingers now? Is mommy a prostitute and is she trying to seal the deal for some extra Christmas loot? WTF gives man? Why are we rejoicing at the breakdown of this kids nuclear family? Custody battles? Nightmares? Holy effing heck! Listen Santa- just give me my shit, and get the hell out of my house. Oh, and one last thing… leave the fucking cookies alone, you fat, fucking, bastard.

Last Christmas I gave you my heart.

For our next song we have George Michael's meloncholy sapfest. Although my heart strings strummed in this song's favour so many moons ago, upon listening to the lyrics in a sobered state, I realized this guy totally did this to himself. Forever alone. George, stop playing the victim! It's time to wake you up, before you go-go (out the back door), and here's why: Last Christmas you gave me your heart? Whoa, whoa, WHOA. Unsolicited love- organ donations are NOT my problem. I mean, dude, we were deeerrrunk. It was a hot tub in a ski lodge. There was alcohol. Don’t put that shit on me. Besides, you've gotta be stupid to give someone your heart after one go. Do you even know how valuable hearts are these days?! Rumour has it they are one hot commodity. I mean, just ask the tin man, or any of the Mayans who survived the apocolypse- they're obsessed. So what did I do with my new heart you gave me? Well, the very next day, I gave it away… to the black market for a savvy $10,000 in cold, hard, sexy, CASH. Hey, don't look at me like I'm the bad guy. There are worse people out there. Have you ever heard of Satan? He's totally into buying and collecting souls... and he's not likely to write a song about it, THANK GOD. 

If these examples haven't convinced you yet of the absurdity that holiday music embodies, then here are some other notable mentions (barffff):

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.

Sorry kid, you can’t ask for body parts for Christmas.

Jingle bells.

This song is hard to sing if you haven’t taken speed, or are not in grade two.

Feliz Navidad.

This song has never sat right with me. I don't know if I should wear a fruit hat or set something on fire? Hello? Hello?!

The twelve days of Christmas.

Blah blah blah blah, GIVE ME PILLS.

Let’s just cut to the chase - millions of starving people in North America every year don’t have access to decent holiday music, or silence. Some of these people don’t even have the luxury of being deaf. With only one contribution of a holiday song, you could save a child’s life. That means it is up to you and I to kill the demon that is shitty holiday music. Therefore, I have comprised a totally surefire guide in how to to help you create an instant winner of a holiday song. What's in it for you, you ask (you selfish bastard!)? Just like you, I yearn to leave something behind for the world to remember me by, and no, it’s not a flock of illegitimate children. Instead I say, what better thing to leave behind than the next played out, fucking retarded holiday song? Holiday music is quite simple, and yet has an inappropriate effect on the masses. It’s like crack for them. To me? Well, let’s just say it’s the bane of my existence, the reason I drink, and the reason I hate people- even in the summer months. I know Justin Beiber just made a Christmas album. I also know that “fuck you” is an appropriate response to this discovery. Do you want Justin Beiber to get more holiday-ass than you? How can you sleep at night knowing that? So there. Just make a damn holiday song. Really, you have nothing to lose (except for your dignity, again).

Just follow these simple steps, and we can make a difference. As Martin Luther King once said, "I have a dream...", and I bet part of his dream was to not have to listen to fucking awful holiday music. Now begin!

Guide to making holiday songs: 101

Incorporate some classy-ass instruments. Find a bell, any bell, and shake it inappropriately, non-stop for two minutes straight- or for however long you want your awesome new song to go on for. Or shake it until you sober up. If there are no bells available, harps usually get the job done. No one can tell what the hell you’re doing with a harp anyways.

Nostalgic content. Mention some kind of outdated puritanical food item to show the world how the holidays were better in the 40s. Example: Figgy pudding (WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!)

Include references to rustic subject matter. Instant crowd pleasers include ANYTHING snow, some kind of contained fire, knitted items, and furry animals deemed too cute to be made into pelts. What’s that you say? No one freaking uses this stuff anymore/ we are not from Scandinavia? I know, I know. But the world doesn't care.

Incorporate religious content. Looking past the whole “coincidence” that the celebration of the “birth” of “baby Jesus” (in this Western socio-political context that is) is accompanied by events such as families having debilitating break-downs; people revisiting traumas; sporadic, if not constant drug use and alcoholism; and an increase in car accidents and violence, is peaking right now, holiday music can somehow detract from this by talking about a magic baby. Added benefit: Old people will now like your music and find it morally acceptable. 

Include obscure references to social activism. Did you know that there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas?! Why yes, yes I did. In fact, we have known this for the last million years or so. But that’s not the point. Or is it? Whatever, it’s catchy as fuck, and I totally got to hold someone’s hand in a circle formation.... for humanitiez! 

Sound effect overload. The use of distant fat-guy laughter - most notably at the beginning and end of the song. Optional would be some kind of twinkling noise, or the sound of hooves ruining the shingles you just installed on your roof a few months ago. 

Sing about life lessons, mostly shit people learned in elementary school. Like sharing, friendship, and self-loathing. One of my favourite life-lessons includes never to iron your clothes while they are still on your body. Please don't ever do that.

Sing about outlandish gifts that no one, ever, would like, ever, ask for. Ever. As previously mentioned, popular choices include big-ass territorial animals from Africa, body parts, and ancient tree sap. You can also sing about things that are not tangible, and likely never to happen as long as we exsit, like world peace. We humans, we're just a bunch of dreamers, we are. 

The use of the “Fade Out”. This is only to keep the holiday drunks happy. Drunks tend to get angry when music abruptly stops, probably because it opens up a window in which they begin to remember the trauma of a past childhood Christmas. Using the fade out technique soothes the drunkard’s brain, resulting in more jolly-pants-taking-off dance moves, and fewer requests to play the artist Filter on the holiday dance play list.

There you have it ladies and gents! In no time will you be making the holiday music we've all dreamed about, and getting everything you ever drempt of, like that kid in the movie "Blank cheque"! That is, until, another jerk like me comes along within the next 30-50 years and complains -as all writers do- about how everything sucks, and how we should change it. Be the change! What can I say- the holidays bring out the worst in me - but as long as I have my shitty vodka and my awesome friends, I'll ive to see another Christmas (damn you all). Go team! 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!! Happy new years too. xox


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