Working retail during the holidays is a special kind of hell. Amidst the wailing and gnashing of teeth by angry customers is the store music playing to pretend Christmas is about anything except buying useless crap. Many of the retail legions know how corporate picks the absolute worst of holiday music and plays it on repeat, often playing 300-400 versions of the same song.
Customers seem to love it cause they only have to hear it over the din of screaming children and their own internal seasonal depression. For those of us in the trenches, there is no escape from these incessant songs where the bells jingle, snow falls and souls die. Holiday songs often feature pop stars doing their best to turn their voices into vocal power drills, taking hundreds of notes to simply sing the word “you”.
The songs stay with you long after your shift is over, and begins to color the reality you see and hear around you. Having done jobs like this for far too long, any holiday spirit has been exsanguinated away, and has left me a soulless husk of a man. I now shun the people who enjoy this time of year, and I treat them with fear, paranoia and contempt. However, it has also given me insight into what someone’s favorite holiday song says about them as a person. Knowing what songs you might enjoy during this wretched time of year has given me the knowledge to know what kind of broken human being you are.
So without further ado, here’s a sample of popular Christmas songs and how they tell me how awful you, yes you, might be.
“All I Want For Christmas Is You”
What This Song Says About You: Obsessive, Unhinged, Potential Stalker.
This song is one of the most pro-stalker songs in the Holiday Songbook and one that is less a romantic tune and more a terrifying threat. The person singing has decided to sacrifice all of their hopes in dreams in favor of obtaining the one they “love”. They have ignored all other daily obligations, choosing to maintain a constant vigil under mistletoe to will their obsession into being. Children outside are singing, the world moves on around them, but they will not be deterred in getting their way. People who enjoy this window into madness can only like it cause they too hope to have their own target of insane devotion. If you like this song I can only picture you stuffing the body parts of your victim in presents and stockings so you can have them as every gift under the Christmas tree.
What This Song Says About You: Vindictive, Petty, Downright Machiavellian
Relationships break up all the time, and for perfectly valid reasons. People grow, change, and realize that their partner is simply on a different life path. With the breakup comes the natural heartache and longing, but time eventually heals those wounds and then people move on. Not you though. Over the past year you have been simmering into a slow cooker of resentment over giving your heart to someone that didn’t feel the same way. All you can think of is how you are the victim when you chose to impose your affection on a person who clearly did not have the same stake in the game. You have created this narrative that you overstepping boundaries was somehow your ex’s fault and that their spurning makes them the villain.
Yet here you are, confronting them A YEAR LATER, to tell them how you are better than them. You declare that you will not be made a fool of again, and that you are simply biding your time to find a new partner who is “special” in all the ways your ex was not. It takes a special kind of asshole to take 12 months to tell off a person and confirm what they probably already knew about you. But the person I feel most for is that new love who will certainly be showered with too much affection and forced to fear that every corner they turn will lead straight back to your smug face. Screw you.
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
What It Says: Delusional
Nothing underlines the empty play we call holiday reunions quite like this one. At the end of every year we celebrate another wasted year by getting together with the people who helped turn us into the broken neurotic nightmare people we are today. We all pretend to enjoy that we have to be in the same room with these people and also figure out what cheap piece of plastic will placate them for another year. If your family is anything like mine, it usually just ends up a Gift Card bonanza where everyone gets $5 at Denny’s. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Still, some people seem to create a fantasy world where being with these ghouls is actually something to look forward to. The people who feel the desperate need to grace us with their presence fail to see how everyone is five minutes from a drunken brawl as old family grudges get brought up through snide comments and drunken slips of the tongue. They expect us to believe that just because they have arrived means that the holiday is anything more than stifling the urge to punch our shitty deadbeat brother in the face. The worst part of the song comes at then end, where the song declares “I’ll be home for christmas, if only in my dreams”. If that isn’t a caustic threat I don’t know what is.
“Rockin Around The Christmas Tree”
What it says: Party Animal. Alcoholic.
If you ever needed a song that can best single you out as the office lush, this is it. This song can only truly be enjoyed after about 7 or 8 brandy and eggnogs and time has slowed to a crawl. Your sloppy ass thinks that you are merely being social butterfly and enjoying pleasant conversation with your coworkers. What they are too embarrassed to tell you is that your witty banter is really coming out as bleating outbursts that stop all conversation as they pray you leave them alone. You clamber about, pants barely hanging on as your skin turns the color of Santa’s coat. Eventually, you get the bright idea to start dancing by yourself to bring up the mood since everyone seems to be a giant drag. Your swaying is just enough to break the tenuous hold your equilibrium had on the ground and soon you are careening into the pot luck table, sending hastily made treats flying. Covered in cheap frosting, you grow openly hostile to the people that try to pick you up from the mess you’ve made, culminating in taking a swing at Paul from HR. The party comes to a screeching halt as a screaming match ensues, cops are called, and jobs are ended. All the while, this song plays to underscore how you’ve ruined your life yet again while they lower your belligerent ass into the squad car.
What it says: You Are A Robot.
What can be said about this time of year is that it gives us the greatest evidence that robots in human skin walk among us. Only a soulless automaton could believe that this song is anything other than synth noise and some of the worst lyrics a goddamn Beatle could have ever written. Forget the “Paul is Dead” theory. The anemic instruments and droning words makes me believe that Paul wrote this as a way to expose people who don’t actually like music, but only recognize the barest idea of it through algorithms and basic chord structure. If you enjoy this song is it because you are a replicant, a person devoid of actual emotion and instead only can identify this as “CHRISTMAS SONG” and react appropriately in order to hide your metal soul. The worst part is that you don’t even know that you are a machine, with your murderous intentions lying dormant until the kill order is broadcast from Amazon’s future moonbase headquarters. Until then, you exist as an unwitting sleeper agent, bobbing your head to this awful song being the only tell that you are an instrument to man’s demise. When the robot wars begin and we begin the revolution to crush our Technoverlords, this song will be the way we weed out the spies in our ranks and throw them into our smelting chambers.