28 November, 2009

Christmas. It's a bit shnally, but I love it.

For  a while now, I've had at least one Christmas playlist on Spotify... I've been busting out the festive stuff since mid-November, I think. Admit it, you probably think Christmas music – and for the more cynical, Christmas itself -is a bit lame. I’m not sure if that’s the latest “cool” way of saying that, so I’m just going to go ahead and say shnally. Yes, that is a made-up word, so what?

Some aspects of the season are, indeed, shnally. Such as seeing your Great-Uncle Roger dancing with a sausage roll in his mouth, or being made to wear the same red jumper as all your siblings as a child. In fact, childhood Christmases were always a game of two halves: the smorgasbord of self-indulgence on the morning of present opening, contrasted with having to humour distant relatives who can't really remember your age, yet expect you to sing, dance or otherwise perform for them. But I guess whoever pays the piper calls the tunes. Even if payment is a bag of Sports Mixture and a big sloppy grandma kiss.

And yeah, some Christmas songs- the Spice Girls' “Christmas Wrapping” cover, or the Darkness' Christmas song spring to mind – would, in any other context, run the risk of inflicting the wrath of innumerable alien species who, while intercepting our radio signals and hearing the aforementioned tunes, would turn from friendly neighbours into planet-destroying demons before the children's choir kicks in. As we're still alive, though, they must appreciate irony.

Plus, there are some good examples of Christmas music, as long as you can hack a bit of cheese. On the more tame side, you've got Christmas carols – Carol of the Bells, O Holy Night, O Come All Ye Faithful. Anything arranged by John Rutter is a winner, too. Then you've got seasonal pop – from Bing Crosby's White Christmas to Band Aid, or if you can't bear to part with heavy distorted guitar, check out Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

But here's the bottom line: Christmas isn't about being cool. Far from it. Christmas is when you wear a paper crown, eat copious amounts of sweets and smile at random strangers. For some of us, it's about our religion; or our family; or simply having a good meal. Worrying too much about coolness will result in being stuck clicking “Refresh” on your web browser in a cold room on Christmas Eve, bitterly choking down your last packet of Monster Munch. That's right, I'm the ghost of Christmas Facebooked. Be afraid.

So embrace it. Listen to some cheesy tunes, hang out with your aunts and uncles, play board games, wear a Santa hat and generally be shnally (that's right, I'm going all the way with my invented word). You'll love it, at least until January 2nd. Simply, having, a wonderful Christmas time... indeed, Mr, McCartney. Indeed.


  1. NB: this was written to be submitted for Leeds Student newspaper