Johnny Ryan

Being an embittered Jew, I've always despised Christmas. Among the many aspects of the season that make me want to yak (the ceaseless, crass advertising; the rancid family films; the floods of stressed-out, manic people) nothing disgusts me more than the frothy holiday music that comes belching out of speakers in malls, on the radio, and fucking everywhere.

While my loathing of Christmas has always been there, my particular hatred for holiday warhorses began when I was 19 and was hired to work at a toy store around Christmas. I had the vague idea that this job would be fun—the manager said I'd stand by the door and blow bubbles. But that manager was fired on my first day of work and there was no more blowing of bubbles. I learned to gift-wrap quickly after my first failed attempt, when an irate mom grabbed the gift away from me and insisted, "Just give me the wrapping paper! I'll take it home and do it myself!" It was just a few weeks into the job when all the somewhat annoying, but comparatively soothing children's music cassettes that we played over the store's loudspeakers were replaced with Christmas Carols for Children and Raffi's Christmas Album. While I was being verbally abused by neurotic Beverly Hills moms and dodging their slobbering, snot-nosed children, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Deck the Halls" began to gnaw at my brain like weasely varmints. All the sickly cheerfulness seemed to be mocking me and my pathetic existence as another one of Santa's wage slaves.

But that was back before Christmas music completely took over the month of December and much of November. Jack-o'-lanterns were just beginning to rot this year when drugstores started hauling out their Yuletide teddy bear sections and inflicting Kenny G's Faith: A Holiday Album upon innocent shoppers.

However, it's not just the obvious targets that stink: the drippy holiday elevator Muzak, the poorly aging novelty tunes like "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," the bloated, twanging country versions of "Silver Bells." The myriad of jazz hipster Christmas albums also suck reindeer dick, from Diana Krall's overcooked Christmas chestnuts to Nat King Cole's eternal Yuletide blandness all the way back to Bing Crosby's earliest wintertime snoozers.

I must admit that I do have affection for songs that skewer Christmas. My favorite is Treacherous Three's old-school "Santa's Rap," wherein a young Kool Moe Dee raps about being "po'" in the ghetto—the fucked-up, hand-me-down GI Joe action figures and a decorated pole that serves as a Christmas tree.

But the most glorious seasonal classic for grinches is Christmas with the Vandals: Oi to the World!, the musical equivalent of the film Bad Santa, which trashes the holiday with spirited glee. This nasty collection of punk-rock immaturity peaks with the suicidal ballad "Hang Myself from the Tree."

These occasional stabs at the evil Christmas beast are but mere falling trees in distant wood. Christmas reigns over America in December like a gargantuan octopus swallowing a clipper ship. Songs like the moronic "Jingle Bell Rock," the less-than-funny "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," the intestinal-discomfort-causing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and the Abu Ghraib prison torture theme song "All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)" are like indelible lines in the Constitution. An army of Jews, Muslims, ACLU lawyers, and furious black metalers could never defeat them.

Every holiday season the retail world—as well as radio stations, restaurants, and local city councils—conveniently forget that not everybody in America is a goddamn Christian or a celebrator of Christmas. The whole Santa and elves thing has nothing to do with Jesus, they reason, so it's kosher to put up gigantic city displays and pump out ghastly Christmas music in public spaces.

Yet there is nearly no mention of Hanukkah, Ramadan, or Kwanzaa, except the occasional, unpopular postage stamp. Not that those holidays and their respective awful music need to be equally represented.

It would just be nice if for once during the holiday season this Jew could walk into a store and not be whacked with giant candy canes by Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, forever intent on forcing their abject jolliness upon the Santa haters.