This has been a point of contention in my relationship with my husband – who LOVES Christmas music – for as long as we have known one another. Creating a cheerful, holiday atmosphere with lights, a tree, trimmings and various festive elements (illegal fire-works, toilet papering…) is something I actually love to do – and every year Mr. Pancake mistakes my enthusiasm for decorating for open-mindedness regarding his musical choices and makes a failed attempt to employ the songs of the season. Upon hearing Bing Crosby croon, ‘White Christmas’, I can be counted on to instantly kill the mood by offering an ill-timed,
“Did you know that Bing Crosby viciously beat his children? It’s true – Merry Christmas!”
I do have my reasons. I’ve held a lot of different kinds of jobs in my lifetime, many of which have been in retail. My collective experience in varying service industries and with the public have rendered me nearly incapable of enjoying Christmas music as a result. My three year tenure at Victoria’s Secret in the Battlefield Mall was particularly formative in this regard, having worked every single Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve during my employ. There is nothing quite as unpleasant as the task of tagging hundreds of Gentlemen’s Thongs™ with garment sensors while simultaneously being aurally assaulted by the strains of ‘Jingle Bells’. I’m no fan of irony, yet my experiences with beloved Christmas songs is steeped in it. It was hard to feel anything but animosity for Paul McCartney’s, ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ when my memories of the tune are forever linked to being told that a customer of mine relieved her bladder in the dressing room – and I was expected not only to clean up her urine, but also to continue waiting on her as she barked demands to me as the song was playing loudly in the background.
There are (rare) exceptions to my rule – I like good music after all and there are some examples of really great winter/holiday-themed songs out there – it’s just a shame that most of music I hear this time of year reminds me of urine-soaked, floral carpeting and unflattering men’s underpants.
With that, I leave you with one of my favorite Christmas traditions – an audio clip of David Sedaris reading “The Santaland Diaries”, an account of his stint as a Macy’s Christmas Elf in Santaland. I re-read it every year and it never fails to fill me with joy…