Non-Fiction

Celebrity Christmas Songs: Festive? Or Just a Money-Grab?

Culture can be changed by how we engage with holidays.

What’s the deal with celebrity covers of Christmas songs?

Let’s take Anna Kendrick’s cover of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. She’s an excellent singer as usual, and I’m sure it’s good fan service for all the people who want to be her BFF. That’s not to make fun of them; they have good taste in dream BFFs. Their taste in Christmas songs, however, is garbage.

Why does this need to exist? Does anyone think that Anna Kendrick made this cover to express herself artistically, or make some deeper point, or even enjoy herself much? It entirely exists to make money.

But then you’re cracking open a can of worms the size of the Yellowstone volcano: very big, although without the risk of everyone dying.

Does Christmas mostly exist for corporations to make money through nonsense like celebrity songs? If we can get to the root of that before you get distracted and click back onto social media, we can save Anna Kendrick’s soul.

When people complain about celebrity Christmas songs, they’re usually complaining that Christmas isn’t being done right, that it should be done a different way or maybe not happen at all. A lot of folks like the religious aspect or seeing family or giving gifts. But, they might feel that things like celebrity culture and extending the holiday across two months reflect everything wrong with Western consumerism.

Other people might think that people who complain about this sort of thing are just being cranky old Scrooges.

Culture is like light. It’s all around us and it’s what we live in. But, light is invisible. Light illuminates what it hits but it rarely reveals itself. A holiday such as Christmas is a prism that takes culture and turns it into something tangible that can be more easily criticised. It’s easier to look at Christmas and say “I don’t like celebrity covers of Jingle Bells” than it is to form a worthwhile attack on a whole social and economic system.

You have to respect people with different worldviews. The main reason that someone would dislike Anna Kendrick’s song is that the blatant consumerism doesn’t quite jive with their worldview. But for other people, those cheesy songs are what Christmas is. Poke fun if you will. But, is your aim to change people’s minds? If so, you shouldn’t call them idiots.

At the same time, consumerism is objectively bad. That’s why Christmas, in a roundabout way, is an exciting opportunity. Just as light bends when you manipulate a prism, culture can be changed by how we engage with holidays.

Just bear in mind that probably the best and most useful way to change the world is to get out there and actually do something. Make gifts for your friends by hand, by the sweat of your own brow. Maybe even make charitable donations instead of giving gifts, since it’s the same basic premise.

The point is, yes, it makes sense to be annoyed by celebrity Christmas songs. But if you have a problem, you should get out there and do something about it. And let it be something more useful than whining about other people’s beliefs on a blog (whoops).

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