By DYLAN BROWN
Christmas music has long consumed the entire month of December, but the unwritten rule was no dreaming of a “White Christmas” before Thanksgiving. Christmas has gnawed away at the end of November, however, leaving the less festive among us with a headache even before polishing off the turkey.
“Silent Night” and “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” may play 10,000 times and the FM speakers will force feed the holiday spirit to the unwilling, but what else is Christmas music supposed to do with Thanksgiving failing to pull its weight? The post-Halloween void left by a lack of turkey day tunes is just begging radio stations to play Michael Buble and Mariah Carey’s Christmas albums in November.
Yet while it has to counter Christmas’ centuries of tradition, Thanksgiving has all the thematic elements necessary for good fuzzy-feeling songs.
First, it’s a holiday about families reuniting, braving winter weather in the name of joining together to share a feast. While many dinners end in petty family squabbles, that just means Jack Johnson or somebody can write the Thanksgiving equivalent of kumbaya for families in need of some acoustic counseling to ease the tension.
Second, it’s right in the name, Thanks-giving. Someone among the millions of people out there wedging in the last piece of pie should be able to express their gratefulness through song. Or is the tryptophan crippling budding Thanksgiving singer-songwriters? Every kid writes what they are thankful for on their hand-turkey every year, so I think it’s time the adults, many of whom are the ones complaining about Christmas music, start giving thanks through song.
Some brave men and women have tried to break down the barrier to other holiday music before. The next four songs fight gallantly, mostly with food, to stave off Christmas, but the gauntlet has been thrown down for the “I hate Christmas music” musicians out there — either lay down some tracks or be forever culpable in the inevitable transition of the November holiday into Christmas warm-up dinner.
“Mashed Potato Time,” by Dee Dee Sharp
“It’s the latest, it’s the greatest … Mashed potato.” When it topped the charts in 1962, the doowop track was talking about the latest and greatest dance move — like a wobbly-legged twist — but while the dance craze passed, plenty of creamy veggie volcanos will be filled with gravy today.
“I’ve Plenty to Be Thankful For,” by Bing Crosby
The Northwest native probably had more to be thankful for than most, but this classic should be included for Grandma’s sake. Otherwise she’ll talk about your cousin’s nose ring leading to the end of civilization.
“My Sweet Potato” and “Green Onions,” by Booker T. and the MGs
The most underrated dish at Thanksgiving deserves a funky shout-out once in a while and another tasty addition in case the mashed potatoes are wanting for flavor is a sprinkling of the band’s most famous song.
Brown may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2278. Follow him on Twitter @DylanBrown26.