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Nightmare Before Christmas Carols

It’s three days before Christmas, and the Research Department (Motto: We Do The Thinking So You Don’t Have To), has been listening nonstop to Christmas songs and has come to a conclusion: most of them don’t make a lick of sense.

Setting aside “The Holly and the Ivy,” a particularly weird number that conflates the birth of Christ with deer hunting and mentions the ivy in the first (weird) sentence and then never again, the R.D. has been focusing on secular Christmas songs and wondering why children are not cowering under their beds this time of year.

Take, for instance, that famous holiday standard, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Every December, sweet-voiced children sing about Rudolph, a reindeer born with an unfortunate nasal defect.

For years, apparently, Santa tolerates all of the other reindeer laughing, calling him names, and excluding him from reindeer games, like “Antler, Antler, Who’s Got the Antler.” When Santa finally sees a use for Rudolph, then he becomes a hero, but only after the sort of bullying that would have Santa seeing lawyers faster than Tony Soprano if Rudolph’s mother were anywhere but the North Pole.

And while we’re on the subject of mothers and Santa, has anyone contemplated what “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is doing to the moral fiber of our children.

Think of the dilemma of that poor kid in the song, having to live with the knowledge that Mommy has a thing for Santa. Here you go, and remember, the Research Department does not make this stuff up:

“I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last night.

She didn’t see me creep down the stairs to have a peep;(eep!)

She thought that I was tucked up in my bedroom, fast asleep.

Then, I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus underneath his beard, so snowy white.

Oh, what a laugh it would have been if Daddy had only seen

Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night.”

Children should not be exposed to this kind of thing! The next thing you know, little girls will be belting out “Santa Baby,” in torch-song tones.

The chick in that song says that since she hasn’t kissed anybody all year, she deserves a fur coat, a convertible, a yacht, a platinum mine, tree trimmings from Tiffany’s, and a ring, presumably not cubic zirconia.

We shudder to think what she’d ask for if she had also foregone the sultry tone and the suggestion that Santa Baby had better deliver the goods, or she’ll go bad.

Speaking of going bad, why do children lilt along to the ditty, “You Better Watch Out?” This one, if you remember, adjures small fry thusly:

“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.”

And the terrifying bridge:

“He sees you when you’re sleeping.

He knows when you’re awake.

He knows if you’ve been bad or good,

so be good, for goodness sake . . . “

Is any right-thinking child going to sleep soundly when he or she knows that, out there in the dark somewhere, a creepy elf in a red suit is watching all the time?

The Research Department gets the willies just thinking about it.

Finally, let’s deal with that jolly old housebreaker, who, in “The Night Before Christmas,” raises all kinds of hubbub out on the lawn, then slithers down the chimney, startling the man of the house.

The modern child knows that Santa is going to set off the burglar alarm PDQ, but that doesn’t help calm the fears he or she has about reindeer paws up on the housetop, or all those creepy folks dressed up like Eskimos prowling the neighborhood.

The Research Department recommends staying inside and singing “Jingle Bells” very, very softly, in case they hear you.

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