nightmares before Christmas

image via Flickr user daveynin

I promise I’m not a Grinch. Sure, sure, there were years that I didn’t allow people around me to decorate for Christmas until after December 16, my birthday, because I didn’t want Christmas stealing my thunder, but my mother really started that tradition, so you can hardly blame me for enforcing it.  I love putting up a Christmas tree.  I spent hours and hours and hours crafting ornaments out of origami last year.  I hung up our stockings on Sunday and now can’t stop staring at them. I get excited when eggnog shows up in stores, and I love a chance to make our family’s holiday staple, Russian Tea.  And I love Christmas music. Well, most of it.

Sure, there are some weird Christmas songs, including my sister’s favorite, “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.” But one Christmas song is downright awful.  I go out of my way NOT to hear it. I’d probably run screaming out of a store in the midst of holiday shopping if it came on over the loudspeaker. In fact, just this morning as I drove Jon and myself to work, it started playing on the radio and I started yelling, “TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF RIGHT NOW!” I’m pretty sure this song makes little 7 pound 8 ounce baby Jesus cry.  And we all know, “little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.” He cries when he hears this song, I’m sure of it. I know I sure do. And crying is really not what I want to do at Christmas, though it usually happens at some point, what with the family dysfunction and all.

This horrible song? You want to know what it is? Ok…

It’s “The Christmas Shoes.”  According to Wikipedia, The Christmas Shoes started out as an internet story (aka an email forward), and was adapted into a novel, a song, and a film starring that lady from Father of the Bride and Rob Lowe.  I guess the story is sweet enough, if you like a side of sobbing with your Christmas spirit, but it’s about a little poor boy trying to buy his dying mother a pair of shoes for Christmas.  One line that keeps getting repeated is “I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight.”  The only “meeting Jesus” I want to think about at Christmas is Shepherds and Wise Men meeting BABY Jesus. Not dead people meeting full-grown Jesus.  I’d rather hear the entire Chipmunks Christmas album on repeat for 24 hours straight than listen to the world’s saddest Christmas song even once.  This is why I’m not, under any circumstances, putting a YouTube video of this song on this post. Look it up at your own risk, and have some tissues handy.

But apparently some folks like their Christmas cheer to be tinged with depression and sadness and guilt. Just check out Glenn Beck’s latest bestseller, a Christmas book called “The Christmas Sweater” about a little boy whose mother DIES IN A FIERY CAR WRECK because the selfish little bastard doesn’t appreciate his hand-knit Christmas sweater.  Man, imagine reading that one to your kids on Christmas Eve. YOU BETTER BE GRATEFUL, KIDS, OR MOMMY WILL DIEEEEEEE.  Might as well play them “The Christmas Shoes” as a post-bedtime-story lullaby, then wait and see if the little brats dream of visions of sugar plums or wake up screaming in the night. “The Nightmare before Christmas” is less scary and more uplifting than Beck’s storybook or the world’s worst Christmas song.

8 Replies to “nightmares before Christmas”

  1. I agree — the song is a tear-jerker. The problem I have is: why does the kid’s mother have to “look good” for Jesus? I can’t seem to remember a passage in the New Testament stating that Jesus was only into the trendy and fashionable. Isn’t it enough, if she is a faithful Christian, to be who she is in the eyes of the Savior?

    As to Glenn Beck… what can you say, honestly? If there can be said to be one person in this county who is out of touch with any subject, he is it. “Gee, let’s take a lovely time of year, the celebration of goodness, decency, and spirituality, wherein we teach children the true meaning of humanity, and f**k it up by setting it on fire and killing people over goods!” — (You’ll have to imagine that last sentence in Lewis Black’s voice). Glenn Beck is America’s Village Idiot — and I know, that’s a very un-Christian thing to say.


  2. I completely hate this song, too, but not because it’s a tearjerker, because it’s over-the-top sappy, cloying, and purposefully plays on your emotions. Hate.


  3. My sister and I spent many, many years thinking that “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” was about a kid catching his mom in the act of adultery. We couldn’t understand why such a horrible song was so popular.


  4. I found your comment about when Christmas was allowed to start amusing. This morning I had a bit of a drive in to the clinic and I decided to look for some Christmas music (by which I actually mean “Christmas music involving Jesus”, since I find Frosty’s claim to divine status to be about as plausible as Julius Caesar’s). I hadn’t found any yesterday, but I decided to look again. And the local mostly fundie Christian station was playing Christmas music! I knew I’d checked them yesterday, because they played it last year. This was explained a minute later. It’s the first of December, so now it’s time for Christmas music.

    I found it highly ironic. Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent. Shouldn’t those who flee the world most use the church’s calendar for such decisions?


    1. Eric, I will say that I’m over the Dec. 16 enforcement these days. I put up my tree on Sunday, in fact. Though as my church attendance is spotty lately, the fact that it was the first Sunday of Advent was merely coincidental.


  5. We’re twins again! My husband and I were listening to Christmas music in the car the other day and he was listing all the songs he hated. I told him I only had enough loathing in my heart for a limited number of songs because my hatred of The Christmas Shoes took up ALL THE SPACE. On a good day it makes me want to throw my radio across the room. On a bad day it makes me cry and then want to throw my radio across the room.

    Also, Evan say’s Glenn Beck’s book would be better if the mom died because of her ungrateful son AND a socialist health care system. I’m going to include a copy with all my hand knit gifts this year.


  6. Sorry to distract from the topic at hand but I must know what Russian Tea is.

    Also, as someone who’s birthday is Dec 21st I totally feel your pain.


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