Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Something Special About December: The sacrificial snowman and the worst Christmas song ever!

There are good things about the Christmas season. There are bad things about the Christmas season. And sometimes there are things that are so bad that they are good.
Today’s Something Special About December takes us to what I consider the worst Christmas song ever. This is a tale from the blog archives.
We’re not talking about the intentionally bad stuff, like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."
I mean the kind of stuff where someone sat down intending to create some holiday warm-and-fuzzy, completed the task and said, "Whoa, this is . . . awesome. I now know the true meaning of Christmas."
Years ago I stumbled across an album called "T.V. Family Christmas." It’s filled with, you guessed it, songs that were either included in very special Christmas episodes of sitcoms, or holiday albums that were rushed out to cash in on a show’s popularity.
And you’ve got some sad stuff, like Gene Autry’s "Nine Little Reindeer," an obvious sequel to his Rudolph hit that is as good as "Caddyshack 2" and about as welcome.
But included in the schlock is "A Crosby Christmas," which is the "Billy Don’t be a Hero" of Christmas songs.
It’s a medley of mostly some bland stuff like "I’d Like to Hitch a Ride with Santa Claus."
Things go completely off the rails when some of the Crosby kids break out with something I think is called "The Snowman." Here are the lyrics:
"On a Christmas Eve
A happy snowman
Stood and dreamed beside
A cottage door
How the children loved
Their friend the snowman
And the funny fedora
That he wore
When they said "Good night,"
They told the snowman
That a gift for him
Was on the tree
So he called himself
A lucky snowman
Just like one of the family
Was he"
OK, this is pretty lame so far, but nothing too freaky. We’ve all made snowmen and added hats. Once I made a cool one with a Wiffle ball bat and Mets batting helmet. And for the sake of holiday cheer I’ll buy into the premise that this snowman can think and dream. The snowman might be somewhat delusional if he thinks he’s really part of the family, but they did promise a gift.

But things are about to go horribly wrong. Back to the lyrics.
"The cottage porch
Looked beautiful and bright
The holly wreath
Was hung up for the night
When all at once,
It caught on fire and fell
He couldn’t knock
He couldn’t ring the bell
He couldn’t run for help
He couldn’t call
But then he had
To save the children after all
He knew he’d melt away
But then the snowman
Threw himself across
The burning floor"
What the heck was that?
First we have a Christmas wreath that is hung on the door "for the night" as if it hasn’t been hanging there since the week after Thanksgiving.
Then, this wreath spontaneously ignites? How? Why?
We established earlier that this snowman can somehow think and reason. But he can’t speak?
And how come he can’t run for help or ring the bell, yet can somehow drag his icy butt up the stairs and hurl himself on the flaming wreath, regretting that he had but one life to give for his family?
It’s just not consistent. Either he’s a magical snowperson or he’s not.
And how are we supposed to feel happy about all of this? "The Gift of the Magi" story is all about sacrifice — and really isn’t one of my favorites — but this downer ditty takes it to a new level. It’s one thing to give up your hair or watch, but another to accept a fiery death.
Back to the story:
"How the children missed
Their friend the snowman
But they’ll always remember him for
A heart that was brave
And the joy that he gave
And the funny fedora he wore"
And then Bing, looking to transition to the next part of the medley, says:
"Ohhhh, great little guy, the happy snowman. I’ll never forget him."
"Great little guy, I’ll never forget him?" That’s what you say about a neighbor who helps you dig your car out of the snow bank. Bing, the snowman took an early exit — sacrificing both his life and the gift on the tree — to save you and your family. And that’s the best you’ve got?
And technically they still have the funny fedora, though soggy, to give to the next snowman — unless the kids are too traumatized to build another one.

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