The true meaning of Christmas (music)

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A debate has emerged about the political correctness of listening to Christmas music in public places. The whole separation of church and state in the Constitution is being called into question because of “Jingle Bells.”

But religion is intertwined within the music we listen to everyday –even non-holiday music– whether we like it or not. Try turning on the radio to any station. You’ll find Luke Bryan bellowing out praises to Jesus on one station and Kendrick Lamar rapping “This what God feel like” on another. Modern music can be just as religious as Christmas music, if not more at times.

Music is ultimately a form of self expression, meaning that religious sentiments are likely to be expressed in music.

Even then, the point of most popular radio-worthy Christmas music is not to be inherently devout. While “O Come All Ye Faithful” is an actual hymn, you don’t often hear it while shopping around Macy’s. You hear Mariah Carey, you hear Michael Bublé, but never the German church choir.

“Santa Baby” isn’t talking about the true religious meaning of Christmas, but it’s a song to have fun with, dance to, and make some money for the original artist (and Ariana Grande with her recent cover).

Christmas music has become so commercialized that it overpowers the religious messages that the holiday may include. For example, “Santa Baby” is a song about wanting more presents, not about the birth of Jesus. The song includes the verses, “a ‘54 convertible too, light blue…I want a yacht and really that’s not a lot,” and not one mention of religion in the whole song.

Additionally, thinking of festive Hanukkah or Kwanzaa songs is much more difficult than coming up with a list of Christmas songs. There’s “Dreidel-Dreidel-Dreidel,” but that’s about it. Adam Sandler even parodied the lack of Hanukkah songs with his iconic SNL skit, “The Hanukkah Song” (look it up, it’s worth it being stuck in your head for days).

Christmas songs are mainly about presents, spending time with family, chestnuts roasting over an open fire, and a fat man in a red suit.

While we can’t speak for Michael Bublé, it’s unlikely that he sang “Holly Jolly Christmas” with the intention of converting people to Christianity. Many of the songs heard around this time of year have more to do with hopes of a snowy winter and baking cookies than with nativity stories.

So the next time “All I Want For Christmas is You” gets chosen on the advisery playlist, realize that these songs are not about the importance of religion, but instead about ideals that everyone can get behind: giving and getting material things. Oh, and family too.

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