Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

December 13, 2007

Can a Jew Love a Christmas Song?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 1:41 pm

I have to admit (unsurprisingly), as an unbeliever, most of them leave me cold as Frosty the Snowman (yuck!), although I certainly see how the spiritual ones appeal to sincere believers.

But I love Darlene Love’s “Christmas”! Of course it was a Phil Spector production, an emblematic product of what I once called his “Wailing Wall of Sound”, so it’s kind of a Jewish Christmas song. But, if you put it that way, so is “White Christmas” which I can’t bear.

And I love Darlene Love! I could listen to that song all year. It’s pure unadulterated joy. Maybe while Phil’s out on bail awaiting his new trial, he can work up another one for her.

p.s. Okay I thought of another one I like: the Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick”. Not the same level of greatness, but weirdly appealing. Any other Jews out there want to share their guilty Christmas song pleasure?



  1. Silent Night. Especially the Simon + Garfunkel version. But I’ve got a similar out that you do, Ron. Two Jewish boys covered it, so I can listen guilt-free. (Truth is, the S+G version is fairly ironic, too. But that doesn’t stop me from loving the quiet beauty of the song. And my wife catches me humming Silent Night throughout the holiday season.)

    Comment by Mordechai Shinefield — December 13, 2007 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  2. You hate Bruce, of course, but for this Episcopalian, nothing beats Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from the bootleg of the Pacifica broadcast of Bruce’s 1978 Winterland show, complete with long intro about meeting Clarence on the boardwalk, cribbed from 1975 tour’s “E Street Shuffle”. Also: Keith’s raffish take on Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” and Elvis’ nonpareil take of Charles Brown’s “Merry Christmas, Baby”. Rock took the Christ out of Christmas and replaced it with starpower (thusly and truly Christological). If you are still down, put on Betty Carter’s “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” (played on Dylan’s radio show recently!) and put some forsightful wist in the mist.

    Um, I don’t hate Bruce>! I love many, many songs, entire albums (“Darkness”) etc. Don’t care as much about the post 2001 work is all. Sorta like his Santa Claus song, like the Chuck Berry, the Elvis not so much. But think the Darlene Love transcendent in a way the others aren’t. But see the point about rock, Christmas and Christ.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 14, 2007 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

  3. Oh, but there is so much good, new stuff out there. Take for instance Celtic Woman, or Mannheim Steamroller. Traditional, classic tunes, but with a new twist. Or, if you are in the mood for brass, get The King’s Brass Christmas, or the Canadian Brass. There is just so much good stuff out there. You’ve got to find more than one – Ron!? A Jew can certainly love a Christmas song – or four.

    Comment by Herschel Smith — December 14, 2007 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  4. Just got this in the mail. Might be my new favorite Christmas song 🙂

    Comment by Mordechai Shinefield — December 16, 2007 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

  5. Just two — the Pogues’ A Fairytale of New York (well, it’s an X-mas song at least on the margins) and This Christmas by the unaccountably forgotten Donny Hathaway.

    Comment by Richard Schrader — December 18, 2007 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

  6. I must confess to a thoroughly Jewish weakness for the schmaltzy Pretenders Christmas song “2000 Miles.”

    Comment by David Samuels — December 19, 2007 @ 12:32 am | Reply

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