Roll out the holiday hits


 

It’s that time of year again. Everywhere you turn, Christmas music is taking center stage and playing over the airwaves. For better (or worse, depending on your perspective), the holiday hits season is in full swing.

From my point of view, nothing sets the mood for the season quite like a collection of classic Christmas carols. Somehow, the annual Christmas family reunion becomes more festive when “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree” or “Jingle Bell Rock” play softly in the background. Other classics like “O Christmas Tree” and “Frosty the Snowman” take me back to my childhood, eliciting memories of decorating the family Christmas tree and charging outside to romp in the snow on Christmas Day.

While some holiday hits bring back a tinge of nostalgia for me, others serve to add excitement to the Christmas season. My personal favorite is Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s version of “Carol of the Bells.” I love how the song starts out so tranquilly, then bursts into a rousing rendition of hard rock riffs…which all builds to a dramatic climax.

In my estimation, Trans-Siberian Orchestra does justice to the original “Carol of the Bells,” while lending its own flair to the classic. Plus, the tune gets my blood pumping to snatch up those elusive “perfect gifts” on a lastsecond Christmas shopping trip.

Christmas music season also presents an important sacred element for many who observe the birth of Christ. “Joy to the World,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Away in a Manger” are just a few beloved hymns that help to bring faith and family full circle for me around the holidays.

If I’m feeling a little down during the holidays, there’s also some comedycentered Christmas hits that help to brighten my mood. I still get a chuckle over the dark humor in “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and the clever wordplay in “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

For some people, the constant stream of holiday hits from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day can be a bit irritating—especially when radio stations and department stores alike play nothing but Christmas music for 24 hours straight for over a month. I, for one, don’t have a problem with the constant input of holiday tunes…although I’m not usually one to join in on hammy sing-along sessions of “Deck the Halls.”

In general, Christmas music serves as a mechanism to express the comforts and festivities that many of us associate with the holiday season, whether it’s the warm reassurance of Bing Crosby’s “I’ll be Home for Christmas” or the child-like glee of classics like “Here Comes Santa Claus.” No matter how old or familiar the songs might be, we continue to enjoy them in our own ways—sometimes in quiet reflection, and at other times in the midst of celebration and family time.

With Christmas just around the corner, let’s be sure to appreciate the timeless music that accompanies the season, and keep the holiday hits rolling along.

Ben Gagnon is reporter with View Newspaper Group. You can contact him at 810-452-2661 or bgagnon@mihomepaper.com.