Pastor and author Ronnie (Kringle) Martin asked for five favorite Christmas songs that are not hymns. I offered these:
- Christmas Waltz (Bonus French version)
- One Cold and Blessed Winter (O Bambino)
- Christmastime Is Here
- White Christmas
- Gloria, by Charlie Peacock
And that got me thinking about Christmas things.
How many Christmas songs do we play that don’t have anything to do with Christmas? “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (with a new cute video from Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé) is a winter song, not a Christmas song, but then “Silver Bells” is a Christmas song, and it has very little to do with it.
“My Favorite Things,” “It’s a Marshmallow World,” “Let It Snow,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Frosty the Snowman”? Not Christmas songs. How did “My Favorite Things” get on the seasonal playlist anyway?
Maybe the same way a movie set in December with Christmas trees, perhaps with a Christmas party, gets labeled as a Christmas movie. Is Die Hard a Christmas movie or a movie set near Christmas? Is Home Alone one? (BTW, the score from Home Alone has good Christmas music. “Star of Bethlehem” is marvelous.)
Dixie-Ann Bell writes, “5 Reasons Little Women is a Great Christmas Movie” She enthuses over the theme, and oh my word! I tucked the main theme from this Thomas Newman score into my head years ago and forgot where I’d heard it. I don’t remember where I thought it was from; I think I ruled out Emma and Sense and Sensibility.
Am I talking too much? Do you want some eggnog?
What constitutes Christmas subject matter in order to be a considered a Christmas movie? Setting is the big one; combine that with a family or home-related theme, and it’s undeniably a Christmas movie. If the story only takes place around the holiday, then people will argue with you.
Die Hard‘s Hans Gruber says, “It’s Christmas, Theo. It’s the time of miracles. So be of good cheer… and call me when you hit the last lock,” but does that make it a Christmas movie? Top men have already looked into this matter, so I’ll leave you to them if you want to dive deep.
Coincidentally I heard a song today off a John Gary Christmas album that my parents have had for as long as I can remember. It said wintertime and Christmastime are connected for us and naturally remind us that we are weak, will lose our color, and melt away. We will forget and be forgotten; we will return to the dust. But the Lord’s Christ came into our winter to renew us in an eternal spring.
“It’s the time of year for singing of the love He gave to you.”
In this light maybe “Let It Snow” gets a pass. It’s not as good as “Bolingo,” a traditional Nigerian Christmas song.