I love Christmas. I love holidays in general, really, but Christmas is one of those… well, you know. It’s so magical.
And I love Christmas music, I remember growing up one of our local classifieds ad… book… things used to publish this book of Christmas songs every year, I guess so you could go caroling? And we did. And it was great. But anyway, there are all kinds of songs that I just love from the holiday season. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is probably one of my favorites (I love the religious ones) and there’s the secular pop favorites like “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” that you just can’t help but bop around to.
And even though I might complain about it audibly and groan every time I hear “SIIIIIIIIMPLYYYYY HAAAAAAAAAAAVING A WONDERFULCHRISTMASTIME” I still acknowledge that this is one of the sounds of the holiday season so I grin and grit my teeth and enjoy the terribleness of it like any other normal human.
There is one song, though, that… man. I know we’re supposed to be thankful and in the holiday spirit but nothing gets me more annoyed than hearing it at Christmas. And it’s not the stupid hippopotomus song, either, though that’s a pretty close contender.
It is one that, regrettably, is at the top of like everyone’s list.
It is “My Favorite Things.”
I have several issues with this song, but perhaps the largest and most egregious is the fact that this is not a Christmas song. It isn’t. It’s from the 1959 Rodgers & Hammerstein classic The Sound of Music, a musical that seems to have a completely bizarre and inexplicable association with winter holidays. This drives me crazy on it’s own, least of all because I hate The Sound of Music, but mostly because this musical has even less in common with Christmas than the Harry Potter series, which at least gives a passing three minutes to the holiday in every film to give it status as a “holiday classic.” In fact, the majority of the musical is set during the summertime.
That’s what makes this song so frustrating: anyone who’s seen the 1965 film with our lady of beauty and greatness, Julie Andrews, will remember the iconic scene where Maria sings this song to distract the children from a terrible thunderstorm. I get that Christmas isn’t universally a winter holiday, and all, so maybe I can excuse this as being a Christmas classic down under where Christmas thunderstorms are actually a plausible forecast for the day, but otherwise? Every time I hear it all I can picture are those bratty children jumping around on the furniture and giggling and how it is generally Not Winter Weather.
And then I think about how much I hate “Sixteen, Going On Seventeen,” but anyway. Different song, different rant. Gotta stick with the program, here, or we’ll be here all day.
I get that the song itself has lots of ~winter imagery~ with the snowflakes on eyelashes and presents and what have you, but half of the lyrics just seem to be interpreted as winter because we want them to be, because according to Wikipedia some guy named Jack Jones decided to throw it on a self-titled Christmas album back in 1964 (I can only guess someone paid him to do this to promote the forthcoming film.) Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are, really, springtime things. Girls in white dresses are kind of an Easter thing (and also, who’s favorite thing is girls in dresses, exactly?) Sure, okay, yes, you could interpret it as winter, but that stupid thunderstorm imagery.
This song is just a list of things. It’s barely lyrics so much as it is bullet points, putting it on roughly the same level creatively as “The 12 Days Of Christmas,” a song we all think we like until we hit about the seventh or eighth verse and then start realizing in horror that we’re barely over halfway through. The chorus also gets me, it tells us “when the dog bites / when the bee stings / when I’m feeling sad” to just think of our favorite things and it’ll make it all better.
Which is perhaps alright advice for, say, surviving a thunderstorm but maybe if you are bit by a dog and stung by a bee you should seek medical attention? Like, what if you’re allergic to bees? Are we just supposed to sit around and think about how much we like girls in white dresses and schnitzel with noodles? Is thinking of kittens going to keep us from bleeding profusely out of a major artery?
I understand, sort of, why people love this song. Really. I get it, it’s cute, it’s happy, it’s got a good point about trying to focus on positive things, but every time I hear it it just makes me wonder if we can’t start grabbing showtunes at random and applying them to various holidays just for the fun of it. I might also be biased because shows like RENT have such great (if a little depressing) Christmas tunes, and yet we get this? THIS? This is the best we can do?
Anyway, I realize I am literally the only person in the world who holds this opinion so please feel free to berate me for my opinions in the comments or to give me an itemized list of why this makes a great Christmas song. I’ll be over here listening to Bing Crosby (who never covered “My Favorite Things,” thanks Bing for keeping it real) … and trying to get this stupid song out of my head now that I’ve written this.
(At least I’ve moved on from “Sixteen, Going On Seventeen.”)