The wife and I went shopping a couple of weekends ago to the tune of holiday music even though it was a week until Thanksgiving. Most of the songs were the popular Christmas numbers that I’m not a big fan of, but they come hand-in-hand with the season. Then it happened. I was looking at merchandise and half-listening to Christmas music when “My Favorite Things” came on the air. It wasn’t even Julie Andrews’ voice! “That’s no Christmas song,” I thought, but I dismissed it. However, at different store, I heard a different version of “My Favorite Things” mixed in with the holiday tunes. It was another version that also wasn’t Julie Andrews.
What’s going on here? Are we so hard-up for Christmas music that we have to resort to popular show tunes to make up the gap? On the contrary, there are more holiday songs than can be listened to each year (especially given the low standard of songs being played in public these days). I don’t think it’s another symptom of trying to avoid religion during a religious holiday. We have scads of winter-themed songs that ignore all faiths. Why are we making room for The Sound of Music?
No, do not misunderstand me; I think “My Favorite Things” and The Sound of Music are both perfectly fine. I’m not a big fan, but neither do I hate them. It’s just that “My Favorite Things” has nothing to do with Christmas. I guess you could argue that “white copper kettles and warm woolen mittens” or “snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes” are wintery things. However, there are plenty of other lyrics that suggest other seasons. “Raindrops on roses?” That’s spring. We also have “Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple streudels.” One could eat apple streudel during Christmas, but it’s not inherently holiday-related; ponies are for all seasons. Combine all of that with the fact that Maria sings the number during a thunderstorm, and there’s no reason why we should make this a Christmas song.
So why are we making this musical error? I think it comes from conflating Christmas with The Sound of Music. As I recall, ABC airs the musical on Christmas Day quite often. Perhaps we’ve grown so used to hearing that song on Christmas that they have become linked. If this is the reason, why aren’t “Climb Every Mountain” and “So Long, Farewell” Christmas songs?
Clearly there is no logical reason to connect “My Favorite Things” with Christmas, and those who play holiday music over the airwaves and/or in stores should delete it from their playlists. They won’t, of course, and I guess it could be worse; at least they aren’t playing anything from Annie. But if we must pretend that “My Favorite Things” is a Christmas carol, may I make one suggestion? Let’s play only the Julie Andrews version.