The sweet sound of tradition

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, November 20, 2008

Less than a week remains until Thanksgiving, and you know what that means. Turn on the radio, and there is a good chance you will hear Christmas music playing.

It didn’t used to be like this. It seems like you used to only hear this stuff for a few weeks around December, and then it would fade away. Then, a few years ago, radio stations started playing it after Thanksgiving.

But now, come November, everybody starts singing “Sleigh Ride,” and it’s time to break out the red and green decorations. And there you have it, the commercial phenomenon everybody knows as Christmas.

It seems as if every singing group or soloist has their own Christmas album. It doesn’t even have to be religious. Just take your typical love song, put it in a wintry setting, throw in a few bells and you have yourself a Christmas song.

Even the ‘80s hair band Twisted Sister has gotten into the Christmas game. They recorded a version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” that sounds eerily like their rebellious anthem, “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with Christmas music. I have my favorites, like “The Andy Williams Christmas Album” and the Vince Guaraldi Trio. But when it comes to Christmas music, as with any genre of music, you have to make your selections carefully.

There is one Christmas carol to which none other can compare, in my opinion. It is “Silent Night.” There is nothing so reverent as when this is played during a church candlelight service.

The simplicity of this song, which I believe was written originally for guitar, best sets the tone for the humble setting of the Christmas story.

As you listen, don’t forget to remember why we celebrate.

– Scott Mims is the news editor for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Friday. He can be reached at