Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
Everyone from Brooklyn to Borneo knows the story of Christmas, right? Whether it’s the Nativity or Santa Claus and his magic sleigh, we all think we’ve got the whole tale – but we don’t. There’s another side to Christmas — a dark side – a side that nobody wants to talk about. Here are a couple of items from a tell-all book that has been suppressed for many, many years: Christmas Confidential. This is the stuff Big Christmas doesn’t want you to know.
We have love songs, working songs, birthday songs, etc., etc. but only Christmas songs are called carols. Why? The reason is a tawdry little secret: Santa Claus is divorced. That sweet little lady, Mrs. Claus, is actually a trophy wife. It seems that at some point in his long career, Santa had an affair (after all, he knows where all the naughty girls live.) This was alluded to in Tommie Connor’s song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” written in 1952. Anyway, soon after Santa’s digression was discovered, the Clauses had a very messy divorce. However, given the sensitive nature of the proceedings, a Universal Gag Order was issued by The International Court of The Hague, so very few details are known. Naturally, though, a lot of people were pissed off at this sordid situation, and they started calling Christmas songs “carols” so that, Caroline Claus, Santa’s first wife, would not be forgotten.
The Other Reindeer
We all know that Santa has 9 reindeer – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blixen (You sang that last part, didn’t you?) and, of course, Rudolph. However, most people don’t know that originally there were 10 reindeer. Donner was actually a twin. Unfortunately, his brother was an evil twin. He was a nasty piece of work who spent most of his time lying around the North Pole, eating candy canes and drinking Finlandia vodka. Rumour has it that he was the one who started “Elf Tossing Tuesdays” at the Caribou Bar and several witnesses have come forward who accuse him of calling Rudolph names and not allowing him access to any reindeer games. This situation went on for years until one “foggy Christmas Eve,” drunk off his antlers, Donner’s brother refused to pull the sleigh. “Get the little freak to do it” he said, “or pull it yourself, Fat Boy.” He went on to make a few choice remarks about Mrs. Claus and her relationship with several of the elves. Then he pushed Santa out of the way and stomped off into the forest. Finally, out of patience, Santa turned to Mrs. Claus and said, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Never mind, my darling! You set the table, and we’ll have a fine late supper when I get home tonight.” Then he reached for his rifle that was hanging on the wall. Donner’s brother’s name was Dinner.
The Little Drummer Boy
Forget everything you know about the little drummer boy — it’s all a pack of lies. Yes, there actually was a Little Drummer Boy, but not the one we know from the song. The truth is, he was a small-time sneak thief who spent his nights picking the pockets of decent folk in the souks of Baghdad. He wasn’t very good at it, though, and after getting caught — a lot — he was told to either hit the road or become the newest member of the one glove club. Drummer Boy skulked out of town on the next full moon and was well on his way to anonymity when he ran across the Three Wise Men who (as everybody knows) were on their way to Bethlehem. LDB travelled with them for the next several days, shamelessly fawning and groveling in the hope of gaining their trust and getting his mitts on some of their treasure. Unfortunately, wise as they probably were, when it came to street smarts, the Three Wise Men weren’t the sharpest scimitars in the desert, and they fell for this blatant con. Drummer Boy made off with a jar of frankincense and headed for Damascus. The Three Wise Men journeyed on — just a little wiser and one jar of frankincense lighter. However, rather than admit they’d gotten scammed by a petty little crook, the Wise Men decided to rework the story in a more favourable light, and so emerged the tale we know today — “pa-rum-pum-pum-pum” and all.
And what happened to the Little Drummer Boy? He was arrested for selling stolen frankincense, convicted and sentenced to 10 years hard labour in a Damascus prison — which is exactly what the treacherous little bugger deserved.
And, BTW, many people believe “The Little Drummer Boy” was written, in 1941, by Katherine Kennicott Davis, a mild-mannered New England music teacher. This is not true. The song was written by Nazis — flesh-eating, green-saliva Nazis — who were trying to undermine our morale during World War II.
How cool is Christmas? Christmas is so totally cool that it has its own Playlist. No other holiday has a catalogue of special songs you never hear any other time of the year. For example, they don’t start playing Valentine’s Day music in the middle of January and drive you crazy for an entire month until finally you just wanna kick the … but I digress. My point is, unlike every other holiday on the calendar, Christmas is such a Maximum Celebration it has its own musical genre. Every year from midnight October 31st until midnight December 25th it’s wall-to-wall deck the halls – “White Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow.” Then there’s “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” “Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk On Christmas” (which is a real song, BTW) “Christmas Island,” Christmas Kisses,” ”Christmas Lullaby,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Christmas in Killarney” and OMG, “Christmas Carols by the Old Corral.” There’s just no end to it.
Plus, there’s all the novelty songs. These are those stupid little ditties that they trot out every year cuz somebody thought they were funny back in 1951. Crap like “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” and the second-worst Christmas song ever written*, “All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth.” These unholy staples of AM radio have been haunting the holidays ever since Gene Autry, the Chipmunks and “Jingle Bell Rock” ruled the airwaves.
However, the thing that kicks Christmas through the goal posts of Super Holiday Stardom is its weird ability to act like a super vortex and suck a bunch of ordinary winter song into its musical orbit. Think about it! Do you ever hear, “Frosty the Snowman,” “Winter Wonderland” or “Jingle Bells” in January? No, you don’t. Even though these songs have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, never even mention the holiday and were quite possibly written to celebrate a February week-end in Vermont, they are all de facto Christmas songs. As well as, “Let it Snow,” “Sleigh Ride” and the recently disgraced, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Why? Nobody knows. Christmas just came along and said, “This one’s mine. This one’s mine. And this one’s mine.” And nobody was brave enough to say “No!” That’s some holiday cojones, boys and girls.
Personally, I think there’s too much Christmas music, and I like to stick to the old favourites. I have a general rule of thumb that if it hasn’t been covered by the Vienna Boys Choir, I’m not really interested. Although I do have a special place in my heart for Harry Belafonte’s “Mary’s Boy Child.”
*The worst, of course, is “The Little Drummer Boy” which was written specifically to vex me.