Christmas music: love it or hate it?

There’s no point in my trying to be cool and pretending otherwise: I love most Christmas songs. Who can fail to crack a smile every year as Mariah Carey, Noddy Holder, and that one from Boney M effuse their seasonal salutations into our homes?

For me, tradition makes festive music special. It’s not holiday season in my house until the Motown Christmas compilation comes out. Christmas songs are homely and comforting, a constant in our ever changing world. Regardless of what happens during the year, George Michael and friends will always make their seasonal skiing trip. And, of course, there have been plenty of Christmas songs of musical merit. ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ by John Lennon and Yoko Ono is one of the most stirring examples. As well as allowing otherwise serious artists to let their hair down (The Darkness and Status Quo among others), Christmas songs can also do some good – think Band Aid.

Finally, it’s unpopular opinion time. We can’t avoid discussing ‘Fairytale of New York’. I think it’s terrible, but I can just about tolerate it for December. And if that’s not an example of festive goodwill, then I don’t know what is. – Tony Allen

People could easily argue over whether Christmas music either classic or cheesy, loved or overplayed, but I will not propose a balanced response to these questions.

To me, Christmas music is the best genre around, and I will defend that claim with my life. Christmas music fully embraces what Christmas is. Every song is filled with such simple joy and wonderment, and it’s completely unapologetic about that fact.

While I know that you can over-do the festive spirit – I’m looking at you, people who play it in early November – I think that Christmas songs should be played to everyone, and played loud. What is there not to love about songs that simply want to make everyone sing about mince pies and reindeer?

Christmas music is there to make you feel good. This year more than most, people need a lift in their spirits, to sing with hope to Fairy Tale of New York or Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.

Christmas music is both the genre we deserve and the one we need. To help everyone, even the Scrooges of the world, to feel a little bit better. – Sam Whitelaw

12 days of Christmas my arse, now it’s so extended its virtually an epoch. The steady Americanisation of Britain has resulted in the slow encroachment of the bank-draining, budget-smashing, bloated winter festivities as early as October, ironically symbolised by gluttony himself – Santa (pass up the cookies this year mate.)

Marking the beginning of this senseless commercialised cash-grab is Christmas music and adverts: the corny, overly sentimental and transparently cliché assault on the senses – watch out bank balance, Wham! is here.

Let’s all rush to the shops, because I’ve seen a bin-rummaging ginger, bouncing next to tuberculosis-ridden badger on a now piss-soaked trampoline.

Worse still are the premature, ‘Christmas light show-off’, ‘dad didn’t buy you a bike when you were six years old’, regressive fucks who put Christmas lights up early. I don’t hate Christmas, just the material culture. Christmas is a short holiday for a reason, it makes it intense and special – but instead it’s become the symbol of the downfall of society. The promise of 25% off a Morphy Richards Toaster is enough to make supposedly civilised humans turn on each other. So piss off John Lewis, piss off Wham! let’s wait til December, give each other oranges, and remember the true spirit of the holiday. – Billy Kensit

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a Café Nero in Cambridge where Christmas music was playing. Now, I had no issue with seasonal songs being played a full eight days before the 1st December, I’m not quite that petty. But, it being Cambridge (a place for overaggressive cyclists, centuries of tiresome snobbery, and a surprisingly nice Wetherspoons) their Café Nero plays dirge-like carols sung by what I only imagine were monks who could still remember the Reformation. Now, I have no issue with carols in the right setting, by which I mean in churches, and in the immediate proximity of carol singers. But in a coffee shop one expects to hear the cheesy, shitty, brilliant music that lightens the heart and emphasises the giddy joy of the Christmas season.

Those insipid, prematurely decrepit humbugs who say that the commercialisation of the season has robbed us of the traditional family holiday have obviously never heard mine and my brother’s triumphant rendition of Mudd’s ‘Lonely Christmas’. Yes folks, Santa Claus is coming to town, and we shouldn’t ask him to pass up on the calories, the man can do what he wants, so what if he embodies gluttony, there’s enough body-slamming going on without getting St Nick involved. Piss off Scrooge, Christmas music is great. – Louis Pulford


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Tony Allen