I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there in case there was ever any question. I am not a fan of Christmas. I haven’t been for a very long time. Some people like to call me a Scrooge or Grinch, but ya know what? I don’t care. In my mind and through my eyes this holiday started losing its sense of magic the older I got, and to be honest, I never really found it again. In fact, I’m still waiting for that magic to make a comeback and wipe away the bitterness I feel during this time of year. I could easily go into a whole laundry list of reasons about why you won’t find me eager to decorate or extra cheerful when December rolls around, but that’s a story best saved for a memoir to come (much) later down the line, don’t you think? Besides, the point of this article isn’t to tear apart the holiday I know so many people love. I can use Facebook for that. KIDDING! Okay, maybe I’m only half-kidding. I digress, though.
I read somewhere that a person’s tastes in music can tell you more about them than they could ever tell you themselves. After giving it a lot of thought (as I tend to do), I believe that statement to be 100% accurate. Browsing through someone’s music library can tell you just about everything you need to know about them, and in fact, can save you a lot of otherwise wasted time when it comes to any type of relationship you’re contemplating forming with an individual. A person’s song choices can reveal things about them that they may not even realize they’re divulging. Want to know how much fun a person is or what their level of partying looks like? Go to their music library and scroll their party or dance playlists. Curious what kind of heartbreak they’ve experienced? Pay attention to the kind of sad songs they prefer. Wondering if someone is more low-key and chill vs party rockin’ all the time? Look at the music genres that dominate their iTunes or Spotify library.
A person’s story is told through the music they choose to listen to. For example, if someone tells me they’re a “big” Luke Bryan fan, but they can’t name more than a few overplayed radio hits, then I know they’re just a casual listener posing as a “big fan.” On the other end of the spectrum, if someone can list every single Disturbed or Breaking Benjamin album in chronological order, I am more likely to want engage them in an in-depth conversation that could take more twists and turns than a roller coaster. Personally, I instantly know how much I’m going to like a person based on their tastes in music alone and their level of enthusiasm about the artists and the songs they enjoy listening to.
With that being said and now that we understand how the musical judgement scale works, I thought I might share with all of you a piece of myself in the form of some of my favorite Christmas songs. Yes, even a Grinch like me has their favorite Christmas songs, though it’s a small selection. I would share a much larger list of my favorite albums in general, but that kind of monstrosity would take much more time, and I don’t think you’re quite yet ready for that much information. Besides, I have plans to share that type of list with you in a later article. So for now, I am leaving you with a small portion of Christmas music that this particular Scrooge finds comfort and even enjoyment in during this not so wonderful time of year.
1)Fall Out Boy – Yule Shoot Your Eye Out
2)New Found Glory – Ex-Miss
—> If the fact that these two songs are my top favorite Christmas songs doesn’t tell you enough about my “holiday spirit,” then I honestly don’t know what will. I fell in love with these two songs when they were originally released, and back when I was a teenager in high school and completely obsessed with and engulfed in all things pop punk and emo. They’ve stuck with me ever since and remain near and dear to my dark heart.
3)Taylor Swift/Jimmy Eat World – Last Christmas
Although I’m also a fan of the original, how could I not love these two more? First of all, anytime Taylor is an option, it’s always going to be no contest. And who better to sing this song than the queen of relationship songs herself? Nobody, I tell you. However, JEW does a fantastic version, and as we already established, I am an emo kid at heart. So, really, it would be surprising for me not to like this version. As for the reason I so enjoy the song itself to begin with…. well, I’ll just refer you to the same reasons I love NFG and FOB’s Christmas songs. Holiday heartbreak and bitterness go together like cake and ice cream for emo kids. And these four songs are like the Baskin Robbins of cake and ice cream. Excuse me now while I go find the nearest Baskin Robbins.
4)Dolly Parton – Hard Candy Christmas
I bet you’re sensing a theme here right about now, aren’t you? If you’re not, then you must have been really bad at the game Clue. So, moment of confession: I’ve always found the holidays to be one of the hardest times of the year. It’s just always worked out that way. And I’ve always found the holidays to bring out the worst in people. I mean, have you seen not seen what Black Friday looks like? Truthfully, I’m surprised the Earth hasn’t opened up and swallowed us all whole yet for our shameful, disgraceful, and downright God-awful behavior just on that one day of the year alone. Anyway, I always found a little bit of comfort and hope in this song. Besides, who doesn’t love Dolly?
5)Joe Diffie – Leroy the Redneck Reindeer
Okay, don’t judge me but I’m about to let my “redneck” side show now. You see, my dear old dad was raised on a farm outside Columbus, OH and grew up living a very traditional country lifestyle. So not to stereotype, but yes my dad is a country music fan, and so I grew up listening to a LOT of country music. Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, David Lee Murphy, Sawyer Brown, Tim McGraw, John Michael Montgomery, The Tractors, Confederate Railroad, and of course King George (Strait) were all regularly played in our household. So naturally, I grew up a country fan as well. I mean, I love a variety of music, but again, that’s another story for another article. Anyway, another artist dad always played was Joe Diffie, and when he released his first Christmas album in 1995 it featured a song called “Leroy the Redneck Reindeer,” that my dad just absolutely loved, and still loves to this day. The song must have stuck with me because all these years later I still listen to it every Christmas. It brings a smile to my face remembering when my brother and I were kids and we would help my parents put up the Christmas tree and all the decoration in ours house, all the while listening to country Christmas songs.
6)Alan Jackson & The Chipmunks – Santa’s Gonna Come in a Pickup Truck
Speaking of country Christmas songs, this was another staple in our house during the holidays. It was the 90s, so Alvin & the Chipmunks were huge and in country music, so was Alan Jackson. Together these two (or is it technically four?) were the perfect mashup and made for such a fun song. Listening to it now reminds me of being a kid and the joy I found in Christmas back then. Nostalgia, it’ll sneak up on ya.
7)Toby Keith – Santa, I’m Right Here
Probably one of, if not the saddest Christmas song you will hear. It always reminds me, though, not to take what you have for granted because there’s always someone out there with less. It’s also a reminder that if you’re in a position to, always give a little more to those who need it this time of year. It’s not the kind of story you typically hear in Christmas songs, especially these days, but I think it’s an important message to deliver. And for that, it will always be one of my favorites.
8)Alabama – Christmas in Dixie
I know I may be killing some of you with all of the country tunes, but remember – my father is a southern boy. Therefore, country music has always been a constant in my life, especially around the holidays. Alabama may very well be one of the greatest country bands to exist and this song is like the Christmas anthem of the South.
9)Gwen Stefani (feat. Blake Shelton) You Make It Feel Like Christmas
A newer song and probably not what you were expecting, right? Well, I love Blake and I’ve always been a fan of Gwen, so together to me they’re like a perfect, albeit unlikely, pair. So, of course, when they released a Christmas duet, I knew I was going to love it. To me, this song balances out the heartbreak of “Last Christmas,” and it’s just so damn catchy.
10)Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas Is You
Basic to the core, I know. But it’s damn near impossible not to like this song, especially when you grew up in the 90s like I did. There was and still is no escaping this song around the holidays. And while I often tend to lean the opposite way of some popular trends, this is one I find easy to embrace. Especially if you’re drinking.
So, there you have it. You now officially know my favorite Christmas songs, and along with them, a little bit more about me. Hopefully I entertained you, enlightened you, and inspired you to think about what your tastes in music says about you. You’ll be surprised to realize what you learn about yourself when you really start to reflect on some of your favorite music and how it tells your story for you. Regardless of what you take away from this, though, I hope most of all you enjoy your time with the people who matter to you and that you find magic in the holiday season. And if you’re like me, and you’re still waiting for that magic to happen, remember that you always have music to take solace in. It hasn’t let me down yet.