The Handy Dandy Holiday Guide To Christmas Music…

… Ah, the Christmas season. That wonderful time of year where our auditory organs are about to be assaulted with the shittiest, most sentimental musical garbage ever to be composed since Marty Haugen took up liturgical music. It’s as if Thomas Kinkade decided to be a musician.

Below I’ve composed a handy dandy musical guide for your holiday delight because I know from experience, some things just can’t be unheard.

Songs that are NOT Christmas Music…

Mary Did You Know – not only shitty, but heretical too.
Do They Know It’s Christmas – Written by Bob Geldaf. Not even if it was written by Gandalf.
Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time
Christmas Eve in Washington
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas
The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy
Santa Baby
Happy Christmas [War is Over] or whatever

You know what, let’s make this easier… if it’s written or sung by a pop star or country musician it’s probably not Christmas music. If it doesn’t mention the Incarnate Word of God made Flesh it’s definitely not Christmas music either. If the words “Reindeer”, “Hippo”, and “Grandma got run over” are in the lyrics it’s an unholy abomination in the sight of God and you’d be more benefit to stab scissors in your ear canal.

Crescat approved Christmas Music…

O Holy Night
O Come, O Come Emmanuel & the O Antiphons
Silent Night
Hark the Heralds
God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman
Ave Maria
O Magnum Mysterium
O Come All Ye Faithful
Handel’s Messiah
Once in Royal David’s City
Il Dulci Jubilo – one of my favorites

There. I fixed your Christmas. Go in peace.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • JoAnna Roman

    “It’s as if Thomas Kinkade decided to be a musician.” LOL! I could not love this post more. The music itself is bad enough, but it is worse being subjected to it for over a month straight. In Dulci Jubilo is beautiful. One of my favorite Advent carols, Rorate Caeli:

  • Melanie Poser

    spot on, I made a coventry carol station on Pandora and it is gorgeous. And #7 on your list is my personal favorite.

  • Mary Beth Mersch

    I agree with your list of “NOT Christmas music”. For years I have shrieked (and yes– even sometimes cursed) when some of those songs have been played on the radio. My husband just laughs and calls me “Scrooge”. At last, I have found someone who agrees with me! Thank you.

  • Christine Dalessio

    I don’t completely agree with the lists, but I do agree with the sentiment. I think there’s some room for the happy, cheerful, thoroughly ridiculous stuff simply by virtue of a human need to whistle in the dark, so to speak. Not redemptive. No. But “fun” has a place, perhaps? AND I am sharing that meme. Because that is flippin’ fantastic.

  • EllaM

    That’s a great list! 2 years ago I put together a CD I titled “Jingle Free Christmas.” You forgot to mention “Gabriel’s Message”. Deceiving little number. Mary is “Most highly favoured lady” but we Catholics know she is full of Grace – Immaculate Conception. Guess the composer didn’t want to offend the Protestants?

  • gilgilliam

    I’m generally in agreement with this list. I understand the case against “Mary, Did You Know?”, though I still haven’t completely bought into the argument. But, what is the beef with “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy?”

    • Katrina Fernandez

      a) it was a Caribbean song, b) it was awful, c) it included barnyard noises of the animals meeting the baby Jesus, d) one line was “And the piggies shall say oink oink.” … Piggies. In a Jewish barnyard.

  • Matt Swaim

    I’ve thought very seriously of followng my Gather parody medley with a parody of this sort of annual crime spree against music. “Sir, I wanna buy this booze/for my… friend…”

    • Katrina Fernandez

      Matt… if you did that you would be my hero. What can I do to persuade you to make this happen? Name your price, my good Sir.

  • James H, London

    Heh! For a touch of medieval jollity, try Mike Oldfield’s version of In Ducli Jubilo:

    The version above, while good for a Mass (as long as there’s a professional or school choir), just isn’t joyful enough. In dulci jubilo = rejoice in sweetness!

    That John Lennon Christmas abomination deserves all the opprobrium it can get. The one ‘Christmas’ song that makes me want to end it all.

    • Katrina Fernandez

      Aw. I can’t view the video from this side of the pond.

      • Christine Hebert

        I can’t view it either. :(

  • jjmk

    What really bites my eardrums are all of the different versions of your NOT Christmas music list, done by every pop singer imaginable…that hurts. The phony Christmas emotion spewed out in those songs makes me want to barf. I’m bringing my own ipod to the mall this year, with REAL Christmas music. I might even sing along.

  • Stephen M. Tefft
  • Barb

    You talk like “Mary Did You Know” is up there with “Santa Baby.” I think “Mary Did You Know” reaches a great number of people who would otherwise completely forget what Christmas is all about. The song uses Mary as a device for the listener to reflect upon the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and to connect Baby Jesus with Jesus on the cross. Does the song belong in the liturgy? No, but I am always pleased when they play it on the radio.

  • NBW

    I agree with your list and want to add the disgusting “Baby it’s cold outside”. Worst version is with Ann Margaret at 70+ years singing with Brian Setzer.

  • Karyn

    What I miss is ADVENT music. Music that speaks of anticipation and longing for Christ (like O Come, O Come Emmanuel.) Having said that, I do love, love, love the Christmas song by L’Angelus based on a G. K. Chesterton poem. It’s called “A Child is Born.”

  • southerncatholicgirl

    One of my favorite Christmas songs, which my women’s college choir did (and still does) every year at the “holiday concert”–”Personent Hodie”, here arranged by John Rutter:

    • Katrina Fernandez

      Geesh. I’m tired. I read “personal hoodie” and thought it was a some Christmas ode to Treyvon Martin. blech.

      • southerncatholicgirl

        I wouldn’t dare inflict that on you!

  • Neal

    O Come, O Come Emmanuel & the O Antiphons are Christmas songs? They are clearly Advent songs

  • jen

    One of my favorite Christmas memories is singing the Christmas section (and a few selected solos and choruses) of the Messiah with my mom and the San Jose Symphonic Choir. 1500 people singing the Hallelujah Chorus is freaking amazing.