[Hype Hype Hooray] Why Do People Hate Christmas Music?

Every [two weeks?] Jamie Hale takes a long, hard look at the music industry and the blog scene that feeds it. Here, he releases those findings and makes snarky, sarcastic remarks. Admittedly, both Jamie and Knox Road are a part of this scene. So sue us.

“I HATE Christmas,” my coworker said last week. “Really?” I replied. “Well do you at least like the music?” She turned to me with a cold grimace on her face, more reminiscent of the Grinch than I cared to mention. “I ESPECIALLY hate the music,” she snarled.

To me, this hatred of Christmas music is some kind of heresy. I spent my childhood decorating the tree to the sounds of “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Feliz Navidad.” Every track off Bing Crosby’s classic Christmas record is burned into my brain forever. So imagine my shock when people, like my especially Scroogey coworker, express such disdain for the music. But, like everything else in my life, I’m driven not to ask “how” but rather “why?”

Why exactly do people hate Christmas music with every ounce of their soul? You see it every year. This year, as I popped on a (surprisingly annoying) Christmas Pandora station, I came across a running tournament on predominantly-female-oriented snark blog Jezebel. It wasn’t a tournament to decide the best Christmas song ever (which would have been a tough showdown), it was a tournament to decide the WORST Christmas song ever.

Both “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Feliz Navidad” were in the running.

After my initial gut reaction to instantly begin voting for the true atrocities, in an attempt to save my favorites from winning the title, I got back to that nagging question. Just what the hell did Jezebel, and the rest of these Grinches, have against Christmas music?

Putting on my social analyst hat (which happens to look like a santa hat), I dug into the question. After several days of intense analysis (it’s all very scientific), I came up with the following reasons that could explain this trend of Christmas music hatred:

  • Not Christian, Don’t Like Christians Pushing Their Music
    I was raised in the Episcopal church which, if you don’t know, is like Catholicism minus the over-the-top charades and confessional thing and money and child abuse. As a result, I grew up with songs like “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger” and thought nothing of them. They were just regular songs about things I may or may not have paid attention to on Sunday. Non-Christians, I would imagine, might be weirded out hearing all these Christian anthems blasted in every mall in the country. Christians are already thought of as kind of pushy, and this offense could very well turn people off of the music all together.
  • Not Christian, Jealous Christians Get All of December to Themselves
    This is pretty similar to the previous reasoning, with an added tinge of jealousy. There aren’t really any Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Solstice sales in December, and your local mall isn’t usually blasting “The Hanukkah Song” by Adam Sandler. If you’re not in The Christian Club, I can imagine this is pretty infuriating. Is this the real reason everybody gets trashed at the end of the month?? I’m going to conclude that it is.
  • Hate the Overt Happiness
    Most Christmas songs are all about being good and being happy and having an awesome time with everybody. Realists, or as I sometimes call them, “negative assholes,” tend to hate this fake brand of happiness that people blindly get on board with. Admittedly, this super-happy tone can get VERY annoying VERY quickly. I would gladly destroy every Christmas song sung by a child or an adult posing as a child. I’m looking at you “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”
  • The Music Really is Terrible
    I’m not ruling out the possibility that all Christmas music is actually awful, and Christians only like it for the tradition it holds and the memories it brings back. Every time I hear “Jingle Bell Rock” I don’t think about how well-crafted or genius the song is, I only think about decorating the tree with my mom. It could just be that the whole lot of the music is actually the worst ever made, and every “Grinch” or “Scrooge” out there is just smart enough to realize it. Wouldn’t that be a bummer.

Regardless of the reason, I’d like to say that the Christmas music haters out there just kind of need to shut the hell up about it. I get it, you hate the music that many people adore. Yup, you have to hear this music for an entire month just because millions of people love it unconditionally. Welcome to life. I guess for me it would be like hearing Tool songs everywhere I went for the entire month of May. That’s a horrible existence but you can’t ever change Tool fans’ minds. EVER.

At the end of Jezebel’s contest, the winning Worst Christmas Song Ever was “The Christmas Shoes,” a song everybody can agree is a horrible piece of garbage. Thank god.

19 comments to [Hype Hype Hooray] Why Do People Hate Christmas Music?

  • Oh come on, you didn’t even mention repetition as a reason people don’t like Christmas music. I know a lot of people whose only reason for hating pop songs is the sheer number of times they’ve heard it. People get sick of songs they’ve heard a lot. Christmas comes every year the day after Thanksgiving and stays for more than a month. The songs the radio plays are consistently the Christmas songs made in the baby boomer age. It’s very rare for a new song to get much airtime unless it evokes the baby boomer songs. I find original Christmas songs unbelievably refreshing compared to the ones that get the most play every year.

    [Reply]

    Jamie Hale Reply:

    And a great point! I kind of thought the repetition was obvious, and was aiming for something more along the lines of inherent hatred, but you’re very right that I neglected to mention it!

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  • Scrooge

    As an aside, I think it’s refreshing in itself that your coworker hates Christmas. I just wouldn’t be so eager to jump the gun and call her “Scrooge,” unless you can elaborate more and make it less about her aversion to the Christmas season and more about her morality in life, her ethics regarding others, her concern for others, etc.

    I know this might seem like a cheap jab, but being someone who hates how falsely merry the Christmas season makes others (so, in a way, someone who also hates Christmas), I think you’re doing a disservice to your coworker by calling her a Scrooge. That’s just giving the Christmas season too much credit re: its “joyful” nature; there are much more worthwhile prospects year-round where people invest their energy in important areas, like, as blunt as this may be: OTHERS. Christmas by and large pertains to those closest to you, those whom are already a cohesive part of your life, your innermost circles. If anything, THAT’S Scrooge-y.

    Anyway, yeah. tl;dr, Christmas music sucks, and it’s probably the least evolved form of music on the radio.

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  • Two-Spirit

    I personally don’t like Christmas because of the selfishness of the season filled with the “I Wants”, screaming children, and the constant pounding of tired old Christmas songs that I swear contain subliminal messages that cause this urgency and importance to BUY! BUY! BUY! Then comes Christmas day with all the fighting and arguing and the disappointment over that ugly sweater or 20y.o. fruitcake that keeps getting re-gifted or some other lame meaningless piece of trash that i’ll never use. Christmas was supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Yeshua Bar Yosef, however the first Christians probably never celebrated it because of their inherent Jewishness, especially not on Dec. 25 which also seems to fall on the supposed birthday of a whole host of deities from pagan traditions from the Mediterranean and also falls on/around the winter solstice festivals. Then you have all the other European pagan customs like Christmas trees, santa clause (who incorporates St. Nicolas of Myra, Krampus, Julfaeder (odin), and others), yule logs…. you name it it probably started off pagan and was absorbed by the HOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH in order to wipe out the pagan faiths and bring everyone to “Jesus”. But Wait There’s More….. all the waste that is accrued… tons of used wrapping paper, food scraps, those useless gifts you couldn’t bear to keep around…. well you get the idea….and all for what? I just don’t see the point. I’d rather go so something out in the world like feed the homeless, teach the poor to farm, build a house for an impoverished family….anything to draw away from the meaningless corporate beast that has become Christmas. And did I forget to mention I’ve committed apostasy but still remain very spiritual but in a less blind, selfish, and judgmental manner.

    [Reply]

    Anarchist Atheist Reply:

    I agree with everything you posted but I am not religious at all.

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  • dm

    For me, Christmas songs mark the beginning of a sad season: my friends and other people all have families they can be with: wives, husbands, children, parents, brothers and sisters. For decades I have had no one and with each passing year I can’t see that changing. I’m completely alone. Anyway, there’s only one Christmas song I hate: Let It Snow. I suppose it’s the relationship in the lyrics. I do like the newer songs but agree the repetitive playing of the Baby Boomer generation songs is aggravating.

    [Reply]

    Anarchist Atheist Reply:

    I agree with you.

    [Reply]

  • I’m a Christian like you but I won’t have anything to do with the commercial side of November and December. I go to church, I sing all the carols in the choir and I actually look forward to Advent. What I hate most about this time of year is the monstrous commercial build-up to Christmas, one that takes up to a quarter of the year. Not to mention all those horrible records that get played non-stop (Last Christmas, Merry Xmas Everybody, Driving Home for Christmas, and countless more). None of this has anything at all to do with Jesus Christ or His birth.

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  • Eleanor

    Christmas music and Christmas joy is so pretentious. The carols start in early November and just go on and on like a needle stuck in album. Enough! In my neck of the woods they play these carols till mid January and right now, December 27th, I want it so badly to end.

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  • Mouse

    Because I work in customer service and, therfore, have no choice but to listen to it over the loudspeakers for 12+ hours a day from October through January.

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  • John

    I love Christmas however I can’t stand the music. It’s non stop dreary schmalz.

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  • Ben DiBuono

    I love x-mass but hate 95% of the music! There is s few exceptions

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  • Sandra Mort

    Day after Thanksgiving!?!? REALLY??? Maybe in 2011 when you wrote this.In 2016, this nauseating crap started MID OCTOBER.

    My biggest reasons for hating All Things Christmas are caused by all of the insensitive people who insist that Christmas is a secular & universal holiday.

    Anybody who doesn’t understand that it’s secular and universal is worthy of scorn and derision. Seriously,I’ve had decades of insults because I don’t do Santa, red noised reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.

    Not being Christian doesn’t excuse me from this mandatory merrymaking. Once you have non-Christian kids, the criticism just gets more aggressive. My favorite was “What are you…. ORTHODOX or something???” Yes, I’ve been told I’m a bad parent for “denying my children” the festivities. Even by other Jews!!!

    It’s not just non-Christians who catch flack. My religious Christian friends get criticized for not doing the secular shit, too. Guys, this is a sacred holiday about the BIRTH OF CHRIST, not the spontaneous generation of flying snowmen! At least THOSE friends understand why I don’t celebrate Christmas!

    But most of all, it’s the way people treat children that makes me seethe. The endless assumptions that all children participate in the holidays and that they will receive lavish presents just are so hurtful is so many ways. Whether it’s “we’re Jewish”, “we’re fundamentalist Christians”, “we’re too poor to afford presents” or one of a long list of reasons kids might not be participating, putting kids on the spot like that is just unfair. You’re not asking what the kids’ thoughts are — you’re just looking to have your own ideas mirrored back from the kid. Otherwise, why not say “Are you doing anything fun this vacation?” or “What are your plans for the school break?” or “Do you have any fun traditions to tell me about??” ANY KID can answer those, unlike “What’s santa bringing you or were you a bad boy? Did you go get your pictures taken with Santa? Don’t you just LOVE the Frusty movie? What does YOUR family eat after you open presents on Christmas” blah blah blah

    The only thing worse is watching that disappointment in your own kids’ eyes when they realize the friendly person chattering at them doesn’t actually CARE to hear about what she or he has to say about her (non-Christian) plans. Or that the offers of goodwill don’t really extend to them if their reply is less than 100% Christmas related. How dare you treat my or anybody else’s kids that way???

    [Reply]

    Sandra Mort Reply:

    Edited:

    My biggest reasons for hating All Things Christmas are caused by all of the insensitive people who insist that Christmas is a secular & universal holiday.

    Anybody who doesn’t understand that it’s SECULAR AND UNIVERSAL worthy of scorn and derision. Seriously, I’ve had decades of insults because I don’t do Santa, red noised reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. Hey, didn’t you know that advent calendars are secular?
    Not being Christian doesn’t excuse me from this mandatory merrymaking. Once you have non-Christian kids, the criticism just gets more aggressive. My favorite was “What are you…. ORTHODOX or something???” Yes, I’ve been told I’m a bad parent for “denying my children” the festivities. Even by other Jews!!!

    It’s not just non-Christians who catch flack. My religious Christian friends get criticized for not doing the secular shit, too. Guys, this is a sacred holiday about the BIRTH OF CHRIST, not the spontaneous generation of flying snowmen! At least THOSE friends understand why I don’t celebrate Christmas!

    Most of all, it’s the way people treat children that makes me seethe. The endless assumptions that all children participate in the holidays and that they will receive lavish presents just are so hurtful is so many ways. Whether it’s “we’re Jewish”, “we’re fundamentalist Christians”, “we’re too poor to afford presents” or one of a long list of reasons kids might not be participating, putting kids on the spot like that is unkind and unfair.

    The only thing worse than feeling excluded is watching that disappointment in your own kids’ eyes when they realize the friendly person chattering at them doesn’t actually CARE to hear about what she or he has to say about her (non-Christian) plans. Or that the offers of goodwill don’t really extend to them if their reply is less than 100% Christmas related.

    You’re not asking what the kids’ thoughts are — you’re just looking to have your own ideas mirrored back from the kid. Otherwise, why not say “Are you doing anything fun this vacation?” or “What are your plans for the school break?” or “Do you have any traditions that you want to tell me about??”

    ANY KID can answer those, unlike “What’s Santa bringing you or were you a bad boy? Did you go get your pictures taken with Santa? Don’t you just LOVE the Frosty movie? What does YOUR family eat after you open presents on Christmas”

    Whatever would make you think you can treat my or anybody else’s kids that way???

    [Reply]

    Sandra Mort Reply:

    Having internet issues. Sorry.

    [Reply]

  • Frankie

    Yeah…no one is JEALOUS of Christians getting all of December. We are rightfully angry that y’all seem to think your holiday is the only one that counts. I’m Jewish and y’all constantly push Christmas on everyone. That’s not jealousy, honey, that’s irritation at egotism and bigotry. So glad I’m not a Christian.

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  • Len Haverback

    It’s American consumer culture that has overhyped Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas to the point that it just stresses everyone out. I grew up with a low key Christmas, Low key Halloween, and low key everything else. You can’t go to a mall or restaurant now within two months of either Halloween or Christmas, without seeing someone dressed up as a vampire or Santa Claus. It seems to appeal most to females and their penchant to decorate and dress up everything. I see it as a shallow attempt to cover up and forget the very many negative aspects of our society and culture today.

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  • Michael

    I hate christmas and christmas music with a passion. As a child I was very poor. Each year I recall coming to school and all of my friends were going on vacations and talking about their list of christmas gifts they were getting. I remember the shame and embarrassment of the week following christmas where we were asked to show and tell our favorite christmas gift. I would have to lie and bring something that I already had since I received nothing for christmas (hell, it was holly-jolly if we had a meal that day). Nowadays, hearing the music is just a pavlovian recall of those days. It makes me uncomfortable and sad and reminiscent of those days.

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  • Tired of the same old Christmas music? Here’s a playlist of some lesser-known Christmas songs: Obscure Christmas Songs

    [Reply]

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