When it was bad it was horrid.

So the holidailies prompt for today is to write about Christmas music. Given that I write about Christmas music every year anyway, I figured I’d actually follow the prompt.

Ever since I moved to the library closer to my house, I rarely use my iPod in the car on the way to work. Before, I had a 15-20 minute drive to work, so it was well worth hauling out my iPod and transmitter thingy and hooking it up. But now, it’s usually about five minutes in the car and I’m at work, so by the time I hook up the iPod and then disconnect it, I’m spending more time fiddling with it than I am actually listening to it. If I’m in a particularly crabby mood, I’ll make the effort, but generally I just listen to the radio for those few minutes.

I was flipping stations this morning (I hate radio commercials), and I discovered that one of the stations has switched over to holiday music. (Miraculously, they actually waited until December to do this, which these days, is leaving it remarkably late. I think today might have been the first day of it, actually, which means it’s only three weeks of Christmas music! Given that I’ve heard people in other places say their stations have been in holiday mode for several weeks already, I should make a point of appreciating the station for actually waiting until you could legitimately claim it’s the holiday season.)

Christmas music to me is very firmly divided. When it is good, it is very very good, and when it is bad it is horrid. I hate bad Christmas music with a fury that is not worth the amount of effort it requires to uphold. Stuff like Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer is bad enough – those goofy kind of dorky songs get on my nerves, but not in a blinding rage kind of way. But then you have the ones like that god damn Cat Carol about the fucking cat who DIES on CHRISTMAS and sure, it’s nice that he saved his little mouse friend but hi, my cat almost died on Christmas two years ago (and did die in February, and I miss her and am kind of depressed about Christmas this year but that’s another entry), so let’s avoid the horrible maudlin songs about dead cats, please. There’s also this stupid song about a river, and how she wishes she were a river, although I’m not clear on why because I change the station as soon as I hear it. I’m really not sure what it has to do with Christmas, either, but I only hear it on the holiday station.

So there’s the bad Christmas music, and there is a lot of it, and unfortunately it’s mostly what gets played in malls and such, I think because they’re trying to minimize the Jesus content and focus on the Santa side of things. Which is really a shame, because the Jesus music is clearly superior. I say that as a totally non-religious agnostic who doesn’t really care about the whole “true meaning of Christmas” crap, because in my house Christmas is about hanging out with your family and eating a lot of turkey and wearing Christmas cracker hats even though Dad bitches about it every year. (I do go to church on Christmas Eve, but that’s only because of Jamie, and I really only go because I like the midnight candlelight service with all the carols, because I get to sing descant parts.) Anyway, despite the complete lack of religion in my family’s holiday celebrations, we are all (with the exception of my Grinchy dad who only pretends not to like it) big Christmas music fans, and we all like the Jesusy stuff best. And it’s always the obscure stuff that my mother and I like best, too. My favourite Christmas carol? Jesus Christ the Apple Tree. I got a great blank look from someone on that last week, but it’s a glorious song that also has the major advantage of not being overplayed, a rarity with Christmas music these days. I’m also very fond of Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day. That one reminds me of The Children of Green Knowe, one of my favourite books as a kid that got turned into a highly excellent BBC mini series. (As did many of my favourite childhood books.)

This year is a bit of an unusual one for me because I’m not in any sort of musical group. This is probably the first time in, well, ever, that I haven’t had any Christmas concerts. Even my playschool used to have them when I was little, so I’ve been in Christmas concerts from age three or so. So for the first time that I can remember, I haven’t been singing or playing or practicing Christmas music for three months already. It’s kind of nice not to be sick of it already, but I do miss it, particularly singing it. Fortunately, there’s the Christmas Bureau singalong on the 22nd, where people from choirs all over Edmonton come and rehearse for an hour and then have a live broadcast to radio in the Winspear, and people come and watch and give donations to the Christmas Bureau. Even though I’m not in a choir anymore I tag along, and try to bring friends. (I figure I’m an alum of various choirs, and my husband conducts one so I get all the information.) It’s great, because it’s all standards since there isn’t any rehearsal time. Very festive without weeks of endless rehearsals – my kind of concert!

Anyway, this morning’s commute featured two Christmas songs: It’s Christmastime by the Barenaked Ladies (my all time favourite band, and although their God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen with Sarah McLachlan is my favourite of their Christmas music, this one is good too), and The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole. I conveniently got out of the car just as something cheesey was starting up. Well timed commute indeed.

Can you even call it a commute when it’s only five minutes? Probably not. (And if you’re wondering why I drive instead of walking, it’s so I can go home for lunch, which rules.)

Sock update: Past the heel on the sock I started on Saturday night, and well into the gusset decreases. Given that I actually have a weekday off this week (and the whole weekend! It’s a Christmas miracle!), I’m optimistic about the speed with which I will finish it. However, I’m still expecting karma to kick my ass, although I’m hoping the enormous yarn tangle yesterday was my comeuppance. (If it wasn’t, though, the likely comeuppance is running out of yarn, since I didn’t get every last yard untangled. Gah.)

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