Sometimes it can feel like Christians have a monopoly on touching winter-holiday songs and generally the enjoyment of Christmas. One of my favorite songs, however, is a moving secular piece by comedy artist Tim Minchin (one of his few serious songs, usually played as an encore). Let’s have a listen:
I really like Christmas
It’s sentimental I know,
but I just really like it
The other day Chaos asked me “Why do you like Christmas so much?” I believe my response at the time was to stare at him in dumbfounded bewilderment before blurting out “Who doesn’t like Christmas?” I can only assume he was looking for a more reasoned answer, such as the fact that I love holidays, that I enjoy the special feeling of doing something only at certain times of the year, or that I love music and it’s only socially acceptable to listen to holiday music during December, but honestly, the question totally threw me off. Yeah, I like Christmas, but I didn’t think I liked it to the extent that would invite such a query. I think I like it exactly the right amount. Which is good, because I’m me, so I should hope I’m happy with the amount of holiday cheer I exude.
I am hardly religious
I’d rather break bread with Dawkins
than Desmond Tutu to be honest
And yes I have all the usual objections
to consumerism, the commercialisation of an ancient religion
To the westernisation of a dead Palestinian
Press-ganged into selling Playstations and beer
But I still really like it
At its heart, this song has a major theme of being able to enjoy the holiday despite the connotations, despite not belonging to the group that ostensibly ‘owns’ the holiday (and thus enjoyment thereof), despite all efforts to tarnish the warm glow usually associated with the holiday.
It’s okay to like something that’s problematic. There can still be good in it. That’s a message you don’t see often.
I’m looking forward to Christmas
Though I’m not expecting a visit from Jesus
I’ll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun
Christmas can be about family, about love, about getting together with those you care for and taking time off from your busy life to focus on the things that make you happy.
And you, my baby girl
My jetlagged infant daughter
You’ll be handed round the room
Like a puppy at a primary school
And you won’t understand
But you will learn someday
That wherever you are and whatever you face
These are the people who’ll make you feel safe in this world
My sweet blue-eyed girl
That part always makes me tear up. I don’t have that feeling. If I go home for Christmas, it’s expecting frayed nerves; constant lies and pandering to the viewpoints of those who, if they knew me better, would despise me; and a subjugation of my own wants and needs in the name of “not making a fuss”. The people who make me feel safe are the family I’ve gathered around myself, and even then, I’m not immune to feeling vulnerable and scared, and they don’t always take that feeling away. They’re only human, and not much wiser or more experienced than I am. It must be nice, to have the kind of support that older relatives can provide without having to step around land mines to get it.
And it must be nice to have someone love you so much they wrote a song dedicated to you, too.