Though you all might think I live a glamorous life where I just write Thought Catalog pieces from my bathtub, it’s not quite like that. My day job is in retail, and since Thanksgiving is over that means we have to turn on the holiday music. This is a special sort of torture.
I haven’t quite gleaned the ability to tune out the music playing at our stores on a normal day, so it’s basically impossible for me to not hear the Christmas songs. There are only so many versions of “White Christmas” a girl can hear before she wants to shoot her eye out. (See what I did there?) To be honest, working retail has ruined Christmas music for me forever – with the exception of Nat King Cole, George Strait’s “Merry Christmas Strait to You” (I just love puns) and “Hard Candy Christmas” by Dolly Parton.
These are the Christmas songs that really drive me up the wall, the ones that make me cringe upon their first notes. Working retail during the holidays is a special experience in itself – take that as you will. The music just adds a whole new dimension of fun! Try listening to these for ten hours a day, five days a week, and tell me you don’t want to bash your head against the cash register until you acquire amnesia.
Celine Dion – “Feliz Navidad”
I think Celine is a hoot; have you ever seen her on a talk show? “A hoot” is the best way to describe her, Mom-vocabulary be damned. But oh lord is this song terrible. “Feliz Navidad” is no walk in the park on its own, but coupled with Celine’s belting it takes on a whole new veil of awful. Leave “Feliz Navidad” to its peaceful, Jose Feliciano novelty, please. Let’s not cover it.
Amy Grant – “Grown-Up Christmas List”
Amy Grant was my jam in 1993, but since she left the pop world and became a Christian singer we just don’t see eye to eye anymore. (I still get down to “Baby Baby,” don’t fret.) “Grown-Up Christmas List,” which details Amy’s wish for world peace, no more war, no more hunger, is my retail holiday trigger song. When it comes on, five minutes of melodramatics, I have to run to the back room and hide. I’m not really sure what kind of statement it makes playing at a retail store where “More more more” is what’s going through customer’s brains, anyway.
Chris Rea – “Driving Home for Christmas”
Here’s a sampling of the lyrics of this gem. “Driving in my car/Driving home for Christmas/Driving home for Christmas/With a thousand memories/I look at the driver next to me/He’s just the same.” This entire meandering tune is a man detailing each minute detail of his commute home for the holiday. I get it. You’re excited to see familiar faces. Brevity is our friend here. Also, this video has 6 million views on YouTube. Am I missing something? Does this maddeningly mundane song have a sentimental bent for some of you? Show yourselves!
Taylor Swift – “Last Christmas” and “Santa Baby”
Naturally Taylor got her hands on these two classics and ruined them. I like T. Swift, I honestly do, but she doesn’t have the cheeky sex appeal to cover “Santa Baby” the way it was meant to be done. She sounds so earnest when she sings it! And the Wham! cover is the most Taylor-appropriate Christmas song of all time, considering 90% of her catalog is about getting dumped.
Cyndi Lauper – “Christmas Conga”
Retail environments love Cyndi Lauper. I love her too! Just not her extended reggae remix of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” OR this little jam. I understand that the Tao of Cyndi Lauper is that she’s fun and quirky. Whenever this plays, I feel as though Cyndi and company are forcing me to party. Maybe I’m not in the mood because this old lady won’t stop asking me why our scarves don’t come in red! OK, Cyndi?
Eager commenters, I want to know: Which holiday songs really push your “annoy” button? Which ones do you love?