Prelude: Twelve songs of Christmas

They say music tames the savage beast. Whoever “they” are, they got the quote wrong. It was actually, “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast.” Somehow, they mistook a breast for a beast. They’re stupid.

Perhaps you can tell I’m in need of some soothing. Or maybe you can’t. Take my word for it. I need music right now. I’m sick, I’m angry, and I’m stressed out. I’ve been sick for a week. Angry for a good bit longer. Stressed out all my life.

I need music. On top of that, I need Christmas. So I’m combining the two. I love Christmas music. I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. A couple years ago, I wrote about rediscovering The Caroleers, and shared a little nostalgia about listening to Christmas songs with my mom and her mother. Those were wonderful, happy times. I intend to revisit them with music, and just for extra soothing credit, I’m going to write about the experience. For 12 days. Starting tomorrow.

But first, some ground rules:

  • I’ll write about one song each night, ending on Christmas. This commitment will force me to listen to some of my favorite Christmas songs and to blog again. Theoretically, this will bring me joy, dammit.
  • The 12 songs, although definite favorites, won’t necessarily be my top 12. Nor will they be in any order.
  • Each song must arguably be a Christmas-related song, but not necessarily a Christmas carol. Some will be traditional carols; others, contemporary songs written for the holiday. This means not all of them will invoke memories of my childhood, as I discovered them more recently than that.
  • I will not mention any of the songs I wrote about in “Do they know they’re rich pop stars at all?” To be fair, that was fun, but going cynical would defeat the purpose of this exercise. Maybe after Christmas. Because let’s face it, “The Christmas Shoes” deserves all the cynical scorn it can get.
  • [Dec. 14 Addendum] In writing the first day’s entry, I realized just how difficult it’s going to be to whittle my list down to 12 songs. So, each day will feature the main “gift” (called such in keeping with the theme of the 12 Days of Christmas) — an analysis of one song that stands out — plus a list of “stocking stuffers” — other songs that I enjoy that are similar by theme, title, or artist, without any analysis.

You probably don’t care about any of this. That’s okay.

This is an exercise for me, but if it benefits you as well, then that’s a happy bonus. Feel free to join me. I’d like to hear about your favorites, too.

Lastly, something amusing and/or disturbing I found while looking for images to use in this series:


I mean, what the actual hell? Someone made a list of “Christmas songs for lovers” and thought the best way to illustrate that was with a vintage sexist image? A woman in fishnet stockings, standing at the top of a ladder to trim a tree, with her dress snagged on a branch and Santa just below, in perfect position to sneak a peek.

Seriously, why else would he be there? Don’t try to tell me he needs to pass those gifts up to her; that’s ridiculous. Why would she need gifts for the top of the tree?

That illustration is as suggestive as it gets. They’re not even being subtle about it. Consider the imagery — she has her hand on a ball, he has his hand on a box. Just…why?

Even more creepy is one of the entries on the list — Gloria Estefan’s “Christmas Through Your Eyes.” On a list of Christmas songs for lovers. Dude.

I’m about 99-percent sure these lyrics are being sung to a child:

“Till I had you, I didn’t know that I was missing out.
Had to grow up and see the world through different shades of doubt.
Give me one more chance to dream again,
One more chance to feel again
Through your young heart.
If only for one day, help me try…
I wanna see Christmas through your eyes.
I want everything to be the way it used to be.
Back to being a child again, thinking the world was mine.
I wanna see Christmas, Christmas through your eyes.”


There’s more, but I don’t want to creep myself out further. Trust me, that song doesn’t belong on a list “for lovers.” And now, thanks to that list, it doesn’t belong in my top 12, either.

So what does? You’ll find out starting tomorrow. Good night, and Merry Christmas!


About Dan Bain

Dan is an award-winning humorist, features writer, emcee and entertainer from Raleigh, NC. His collection of humor essays, A Nay for Effort, has earned him fans from one end of his couch to the other. Why not join them and buy one? (You won't have to sit on his couch.) Dan will donate 10 percent of the book's proceeds to education. You can check it out at; thanks!
This entry was posted in Christmas, Health, Holidays, Life and how to live it, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Prelude: Twelve songs of Christmas

  1. Robin says:

    Merry Christmas! 🙂

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