EDITOR’S NOTE: To celebrate Christmas 2012, I’m offering a list of the only Christmas songs worth listening to. At the risk of sounding self-righteous or arrogant (two things I do regularly and with precision), everything not on my list is pure twaddle…filler between the good songs. I considered calling this “The Only Christmas Songs Worth a Shit,” but it’s Christmas. Right?
As a child, my mother forced The Sister and I to watch old movies as a means of…I don’t know. Culturing us? Seriously, I’m not sure what the motivation was. I’ve seen “Yankee Doodle Dandy” more times than I can bear to discuss. I rejected the musical movie as an artform simply because it had been rammed down my throat. I thought I had gotten away from all of that as I got older. Then I met The Wife.
The Wife was reared in a household where Broadway reigned and movie musicals were the preferred medium. She was the only girl at St. Bonaventure University that counted “Casablanca,” “Singin’ In The Rain,” and “High Society” among her favorite movies.
It wasn’t until after we had been dating for a while that I learned of her love for Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” It’s become a year-round staple in my house, with multiple viewings during this time of the year and out-of-context singings of “Sisters” during the summer. But it’s the title track that stands out. “White Christmas” is another depressing song. It’s a wartime ballad about snow on the ground and presents under the tree while our boys were in Germany, courageously fighting the Nazis. The movie itself is schmaltzy and formulaic, but one of those warm blankets you wrap yourself in each holiday.
And, if it’s not Der Bingle’s version, it doesn’t count.