Dear People Who Hate the Paul McCartney Song “Wonderful Christmastime,”
Hi, it’s me. I’m that person who loves the song “Wonderful Christmastime.” What do I mean by “love,” you ask? I don’t mean I find myself accidentally humming along with it while I’m shopping for sherpa-lined sweatpants or driving to a December root canal. No. I mean I listen to it on purpose. I mean I seek it out.
Because you have not replied to my previous letters, I’m brainstorming my own best-guess reasons for your hatred of this song. Before we begin, please understand that hatred is almost always based on one primal, human emotion: fear.
You might fear the Paul McCartney song “Wonderful Christmastime” because you are afraid of being left out of wonderful Christmastime celebrations. These range from ironic ugly sweater bashes to sincere gingerbread-swap scenarios to glittery how-is-she-not-freezing-in-that-sleeveless-dress galas you’ll remember into your twilight years. The joy of not being alone in December!
There is a word for this fear. You are likely unfamiliar with the word itself, though you have long experienced its gnawing insidiousness. The word is “autophobia,” and it means fear of being left alone. (This is what we had before FOMO, and it’s basically the same thing.)
I, in writing this letter, have refused to leave you alone, and I hope the healing can soon begin.
Maybe you fear the word “simply.” The idea of pure, unadulterated joy fills you with angst and dread. You are thinking, have I ever experienced pure, unadulterated joy before? If so, will I ever experience it again? Or am I doomed to an earthly existence of noticing there are always shades of imperfection and doubt that crop up even in the most blessed and blithe manifestations of life on this imperfect planet Earth? That is what you’re thinking.
You may be afraid that, no, your presence at a party is not enough and will never be enough. And here, you’re probably right. But a little suspension of disbelief doesn’t hurt anyone, especially when the days have gotten shorter, and we’re inclined to stare out into the darkness and question our life decisions.
It is possible you fear Paul McCartney himself. Why does he come across as so much sweeter and more adorable than the rest of us? Surely there is some sinister agenda lurking behind that pretty face. A plot, perhaps, to ruin everyone’s Christmas, or everyone’s late November to early January, whether or not they celebrate Christmas. By some metrics, perhaps even in your own eyes, yes, he has succeeded.
I assume you do not care—or somehow have failed to notice—how many hours of work the children put into their carol. Listen to me, these children practiced all year. An entire year, not merely in the few weeks leading up to Christmas, but ALL YEAR, just to get that ding-dong exactly in harmony, completely in sync, and who are they singing for?
Ultimately, they are singing for all of us. Ultimately, they are singing for you. Would it kill you to listen to their bell chime vocals for even a few seconds, you ungrateful…
Gosh, I almost lost my Christmas spirit there. Please forgive me.
Perhaps the song is simply not your cup of tea, or not your cup of whiskey-laced eggnog. That is okay, because you only enjoy complex lyrics, and you have never done the twist at a wedding, or eaten chicken nuggets, or spoken to a dog using babytalk. Good for you.
But before we move on, let’s address what may be your deepest fear of all: that I’m nowhere near alone in loving “Wonderful Christmastime.” Who do you think adds it to radio station playlists? Who do you think chooses it for the holiday Muzak you can’t escape in supermarkets and drugstores? It is us, the people who genuinely enjoy “Wonderful Christmastime.” We exist, and we walk among you. In some cases, we even share a bed with you. We whisper strains of “Wonderful Christmastime” into your ear so you wake up with it repeating over and over in your head, all day and into the next morning when you’ll doubtless hear it again while you’re in the self-checkout buying cranberries and headache medicine.