‘Tis the Season…for Hyped-up Music and Bad Acting

Grant Mayfield, Identity Editor

The best part of the Christmas season for me are all the cultural artifacts we Americans compulsively consume every year. So before you all head back to your parents’ homes in the suburbs of Chicago to celebrate this year, here are three of my favorites.

“Santa Clause,” the Movie

I’m sure you remember this legalistic Tim Allen classic about the implications of accidentally killing the big man from the North Pole. As it turns out, whoever is responsible for his death is legally obligated to put on his suit and finish out the night, whereby they literally become Santa Claus. I’m talking weight gain and full beard. But hey, that’s the way it works according to the unbelievably antiquated “Santa Clause.” That’s right, clause with an ‘e.’

Obviously this movie is a completely bonkers concept that made it through Disney focus groups because of its “family values” revenue model, but my problem isn’t actually with Tim “The Toolman” Taylor’s satisfactory performance. My biggest beef is with the absolutely terrifying Jack Frost character created in “Santa Clause 3, the Escape Clause.” Martin Short plays a bonechilling (ha) version of the B-list holiday creep. In all honesty, the “Council of Legendary Figures” carries the film  although I’m not sure how the Sandman made the cut alongside the Easter Bunny, Cupid and Mother Nature). If you have a few slow days over winter break, brew some peppermint tea and enjoy the jingle jangling, absolutely jolly, downright cheerful Santa Clause franchise. But for the love of God, skip “Santa Clause 2.”

The Twelve Days of Christmas

So this song sucks. It turns what started out as a grand metaphor for the approaching birth of Christ into a memory test that you fail every time. Is it “ten Lords a Leaping” or “eleven?” And do the drummers drumming come before or after the maids a milking? You don’t know and that’s fine because, regardless, it’s a garbage song. Everyone has tried to pull off this song from the cast of Phineas and Ferb (look it up I beg you) to Frank Sinatra, but everyone has failed. You can’t make this song good because no one knows what to do with 17 birds of five different species(I counted). It’s unrealistic. And don’t even get me started on that Straight No Chaser monstrosity that completely disrespects the sanctity of “Toto” by Africa. Perhaps the only redeeming version of this song is the collaboration between The Muppets and timberline tenor, John Denver. That man and those puppets can do whatever they want and I’ll buy it. No questions asked.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey

Before you read this, go listen to this unreal piece of Christmas culture. If you’re not near your Spotify account, let me just walk you through it. The song starts with a delicate, tinkling xylophone riff and then *BAM* in comes a swelling cymbal drum and Carey’s silky smooth vocals. The exposition of this song is a hit by itself but after the Goddess of Garland herself smacks you around a little with her pitch perfect falsetto, the party really starts. You are tossed into a song which I can only assume was inspired by an office holiday party right before it got sloppy. There’s a baseline that rivals “Ice Ice Baby,” backup singers that “ooh” and “ahh” like sweet cherubs hovering over Christ’s manger and literal jingle bells through the entirety of the song. But as we all know, the crown jewel of the song is “that note.” You know the one. You can’t hit it. Neither can your friend that sings in mass choir. Only Mariah can hit it. Because she invented it. Just like she invented Christmas. Don’t @ me.

Honorable mentions include: Elf on the Shelf, eggnog, the holiday Google doodle, Starbucks cups, giant Santa blowups, people who decorate their cars—and as always—Melissa Joan Hart in “Holiday in Handcuffs.”