I Hate Christmas Music

Really, I do. And yes, I am one of those people who hates it when retail chains, roommates, office space neighbors, radio stations, or even drivers with their windows down (in California of course) start playing Christmas songs before Thanksgiving. I swear there's a law written somewhere in some county that outlaws Christmas music before the last Thursday in November. I'm going to move there some day.

So, yes, I hate Christmas music. But before you go all anti-humbug on me, let me qualify that. I hate the unoriginal, pop-cover, retail store Christmas music that you hear every year over and over again.

The Good Stuff

Chanticleer - A 12-voice men's choir based in San Francisco

Chanticleer - A 12-voice men's choir based in San Francisco

You know what I don't hate? Quality Christmas music. It's rare. You almost never hear it on the radio… unless you happen to tune into the classical station at the right time. But it can be magnificent. Want to know what I love about this music? It's not cheap. It's not patronizing. It involves you. I mean, you can't just idly listen to this music. To truly enjoy it, you need to sit in a quiet room with quality speakers… and maybe wearing a cardigan.You pay attention to the words as much as you do to the chords and harmonies. There aren't any of the obvious progressions and rhythms like you find in pop music.

And so here are just a few of my favorite Christmas carols and songs that you may not be familiar with. I've included them in an iTunes playlist down below so that you can hear samples or go and buy them if you're as tired of that common stuff on the radio as I am. Be sure to check out Chanticleer's 'Glory to the Newborn King' and Robert Shaw's 'Ave Maria.' (If you like those, then you must take a look at the Christmas With Chanticleer DVD.)

Oh, and that whole rule about not listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving? Well, I love this good music so much, I tend to listen to it all year around. So sue me.

What is your favorite kind of Christmas music? Why? And when are you allowed to start playing it?

Oh, and I can't really post about Christmas music without including this little gem. I have no idea who it is, but my voice teacher in San Diego introduced it. We cracked up while listening to it, and I still can't help but admire the sincerity of someone with a voice as atrocious as this. I always want to inconspicuously include it in the playlist at a holiday party and watch the looks on people's faces when it comes on.