Monday Motivation: Holiday Music

If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

Anyone who reads this column on a semi-regular basis knows the title of each post typically highlights the artist or album I have chosen to write about, but this week is a little different. Christmas is coming in just four short days, and like many of you I have a longstanding belief that the vast majority of seasonal music is garbage. If not garbage, then at least far too middle of the road to elicit much, if any, emotional response from the listener. It’s as if all holiday songwriters knew their music would largely be background noise to other happenings, be it a dinner, holiday party, shopping, or something else altogether, so they spent very little time worrying about the feelings their words would evoke beyond the notion that, “Oh yea, it’s Christmas.”

That last paragraph may make me sound like a bit of a grinch, but having grown up in a house with two parents who adore classic holiday music I think have experienced enough to make these claims. I’m not saying all holiday music is bad, but I do think surface level holiday music is fairly forgettable. Songs like “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” will be sung and taught for hundreds of years to come most likely, but their prolonged presence in Christmas culture does not equate to musical greatness. If anything, the continued interest in these songs is proof they have become staples of this time of year, much like “Monster Mash” is a consider a staple of Halloween. 

As I continue to age, I have come to realize that you can complain all you want about the music that is played around the holidays, but unless you’re going to shut out the outside world completely there is very little you can do to avoid sleigh bells between the day after Thanksgiving and December 25. You can cry foul all you want, of course, but the only thing you are really going to accomplish is annoying the friends and family members who believe experiencing such music is key to having a fulfilling holiday season. You don’t want that, and I don’t want that for you, so I have written today to provide the only solution I have found.

The key to surviving Christmas as someone who dislikes Christmas music is to find holiday themed albums and songs you actually enjoy. That may seem simple, and if you’re lucky it will be, but for others such a task may be akin to climbing Everest. Not every genre has a wealth of great seasonal material, but many do, and if you are willing to put in the effort to search through the various holiday releases that exist in the genres prefer I can guarantee there will be something you can stand to hear while preparing for Santa’s arrival. I cannot promise that your family will understand your selection, especially if the lyrics are depressing or overly explicit, but if they see you making an effort to get into the quote/unquote ‘Christmas spirit’ they will be pleased. 

James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.