Christmas Conversations #3: What do you think about Christmas music?

By Stacey Tuttle

One Christmas while working at the mall in a children’s store, I started noticing the music—not hard to do when the same songs play over and over again.  I started noticing the messages of some of the holiday songs.  Many were traditional Christmas songs, Rudolph, Frosty, etc.  There weren’t many carols, no O Come, O Come Emmanuel, as I’m sure corporate protocol tried to steer from anything that might be overtly tied to any religion.  And many songs were fairly new to me—songs born out of the Disney channel stars, new pop songs, etc.   I can’t remember now any specific titles, but I do remember being a little taken aback at the incredible selfishness purported by some of the music.  “Give me, Give me, Give me”… “I know what I want”…  I know there’s that song about “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”, and another about “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas…only a hippopotamus will do”– but for some reason those always seemed fairly innocuous to me.  The songs I was bothered by lacked the silliness, and kind of had an air of entitlement—they felt really demanding to me.

I grant you, I was probably hyper sensitive to this as I watched so many worn out parents respond in frustration to children who were acting demanding and entitled.  I began to wonder if possibly there was some link between the music the kids were listening to (not just in our store—obviously) and the attitudes they were taking on.  I know it’s more than just music—that’s just one of the many influences.  But it does raise the question about how sensitive we are to those different influences.    

 So it raised some questions among our staff about Holiday music.  What do we think about much of the music that is out there?  How do we think it affects us and our children?  How can parents respond in a way that makes even songs that they don’t approve of into teachable moments?  Is there a way to help a child think beyond whether or not they like the sound of a song and think about it’s meaning, and discern for themselves whether that meaning is positive or negative?  Should all Christmas music be about Jesus—do songs about Santa take away from Jesus; are some songs about Rudolph OK?

 What do you think?  It’s a broad topic and we’d like to hear your thoughts, ideas, concerns.  Anyone?  Bueller?

Check out our other Christmas Conversations:

We have 25 different “conversations” going online and we’d love to hear your thoughts!  See the list below and add your two cents when and where you can, and benefit from the collective think tank as you go!

  1. How do you keep the spirit of giving in your Cristmas shopping?
  2. How do you bring Jesus into your shopping experience?
  3. What do you think about Christmas music?
  4. What’s the worst Christmas song and why?
  5. What’s your best idea for using a Christmas movie to spark a conversation about Christ?
  6. What’s the worst Christmas movie and why?
  7. What’s the most meaningful Christmas tradition that your family has?
  8. How do you get your kids attention (or even your own) off of the gifts you get?
  9. How much is too much when it comes to giving your kids gifts for Christmas?
  10. What are your favorite service-oriented things to do during Christmas?
  11. Is Santa a naughty or nice Christmas tradition and why?
  12. What Christmas traditions have you chosen not to follow, and what have you replaced them with?
  13. If you’ve chosen to do Santa, how can you use him to point your kids to Jesus?
  14. Do lighting displays add to or detract from the real meaning of Christmas?
  15. What kinds of gifts can you give to non-Christian friends that make Jesus attractive?
  16. What are your best ideas for using Christmas to spur conversations about Jesus?
  17. Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas – Does it really matter?
  18. Should we boycott stores based on Christian principles during the Holidays?
  19. How do you deal with the Grinches in your life this Christmas?
  20. How do you deal with Christmas as a joyous family time when family is hard? 
  21. What do you know about the Biblical concept of hospitality and how do you apply that during the Christmas season?
  22. How do you find spiritual refreshment in the midst of an exhausting season?
  23. When do the excesses of Christmas cross the line from communicating the lavishness of God’s love for us to fostering excess, greed and pride?
  24. How do you respond to feeling like someone else “does Christmas better” than you?
  25. What is the most meaningful Christmas memory you have?