Same old chestnuts to roast

The Christmas music on the radio starts in November, which means you have ample opportunity to get sick of it before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. (Which, just incidentally, was today.)

And it’s pretty much the same old thing:

A friend noted on Facebook this evening the following: “Listening to christmas music on the radio I realized that every carol and song has been recorded in every style and genre possible.”

It got me thinking — why ARE there no new Christmas songs? Why am I listening to the exact same Christmas music that my dad (and probably my grandfather) listened to at my age, and much younger? I’m pushing 40 and I can definitely tell I haven’t heard any new songs since I was five.

As one of my favorite Jews once said: “Tradition!” The holidays are not a time for pushing the envelope; the holidays are a time for retreating to the safe and comfortable.

But yes, there’s one relatively recent Christmas song they probably won’t play on the radio, and that would be this one:

It’s the new reason for the season.


  1. JT »

    8 December 2012 · 11:01 pm

    What’s really bad is that I heard that one last year too. Oh, why must life be so ironic?

  2. sya »

    8 December 2012 · 11:03 pm

    What about that Mariah Carey song? That one seems to be played pretty regularly during the holidays.

  3. CGHill »

    9 December 2012 · 12:46 am

    Assuming you mean “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” I’ve managed to be exposed to that only once in the 18 years since its original release.

    I here admit to buying A Very She & Him Christmas last year, and do declare that not even Zooey Deschanel can make “Baby It’s Cold Outside” palatable.

  4. McGehee »

    9 December 2012 · 8:18 am

    Jeez, how long ago did grandma get run over by that reindeer? That’s the newest one I can remember.

  5. McGehee »

    9 December 2012 · 8:20 am

    Oh — and “I Am Santa Claus” to the tune (more or less) of “I Am Iron Man.”

    Gets ya right here, that one does.

  6. GradualDazzle »

    9 December 2012 · 8:27 am

    There are gobs of new Christmas songs coming out all the time… it’s just that they’re, well, Christian. If you get a chance to listen to KLTY 94.9 out of Dallas, they play 24/7 Christmas all season long (except on Sunday mornings, when they play worship music). There are some tremendous Christmas carols being written by folks like Chris Tomlin, and really lovely ballads by Francesca Battistelli and Joy Williams. I think that the inherent backlash against Christmas has quashed the development of new secular titles, however… just my opinion.

  7. Bill Peschel »

    9 December 2012 · 10:52 am

    Just stay away from the Olivia Newton-John / John Travolta one. Especially the video on YouTube. It’s bizarre.

  8. fillyjonk »

    10 December 2012 · 10:42 am

    I wonder if it also has something to do with how music is marketed now, and the shorter “lifespans” of some singers’ popularity….that back in the 40s, they could trot out the same Bing Crosby record every year for maybe 10 Christmases (well, okay, they weren’t making records during WWII, but you get what I mean). But now, the “hot property du jour” may be the laughingstock of next year.

    I don’t know. I do know I’ve heard an awful lot of bad modern renditions of stuff. (The latest thing I consider an abomination: “The Little Drummer Boy” song redone in the style of “Bolero.”)

  9. CGHill »

    10 December 2012 · 10:56 am

    Bing cut “White Christmas” in 1942; it was sufficiently popular that they wore out the master in subsequent years. A new recording was made in 1947, which remains in print today.

    The album containing same, I am told, is second on the continuous-availability list, topped only by the original-cast recording of Oklahoma!, which I used to have on 78s, and which has been in the Decca/MCA/Universal catalog since 1943.

    (This also addresses the question of “Did they have records during World War II?” The answer is yes.)

  10. fillyjonk »

    10 December 2012 · 3:35 pm

    Ah. I thought I remembered reading that lacquer (which the old 78s were made of) was both considered a critical war material and was hard to get, coming from a tropical location.

    Back on topic: I will pick almost any Bing Crosby recording of a Christmas song over a 2000 or later version by #genericpopsinger. That goes double if Autotune was used in the “new” version.

  11. Lynn »

    10 December 2012 · 4:28 pm

    I don’t know anything about all that Catholic stuff but if the Immaculate Conception was on December 8th does that mean that Mary was pregnant for 11 months or less than one?

    On the main topic, I generally try to avoid hearing any Christmas songs that I did not grow up hearing.

  12. CGHill »

    10 December 2012 · 5:47 pm

    Shellac was indeed considered valuable war materiel, so the enterprising record companies experimented with something else: vinyl.

    And here’s where that Catholic stuff catches people: it’s not Jesus’ conception being celebrated as immaculate, but Mary’s. And her feast day is, um, September 8.

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