February 29th, 2024

bad holiday music spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


With December and the Christmas season in full swing, I’ve been listening to quite a bit of Christmas music while doing work at the office. Listening to this music has helped me not only get the writing juices going for my stories, but it’s also helped me get into that jolly Christmas spirit, which has actually been rather easy for me this year. 

Something I’ve discovered, however, is while there is a lot of good Christmas music out there to listen to out there, there are also multiple Christmas songs that, in my opinion, make me say “HUMBUG” or something along those lines whenever they happen to come on the radio or if they’re used in commercials or other media. 


“Santa Baby”

I hear at least the beginning of this song on the radio multiple times every Christmas season, and I always switch the station because I absolutely can NOT stand this song. It’s so insipid and cutesy and babyish to me, and it’s just so annoying. There’s been far too many versions of this song recorded and frankly (at least in my opinion), it needs to fade away and never be heard again. The lyrics are also awful and the narrator of the song is super, super greedy. Another problem I have with the song is the frequency with which it’s played, it’s played on every radio station roughly 20 times (at least that’s how it feels to me) a day. 

jingle jangle spotlight pageYoung Journey (Madelen Mills) shares a moment with her estranged grandfather, Jeronicus (Forest Whitaker) in a scene from Netflix’s “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Christmas movie watching is officially under way for many people, including myself, and each year, I try to find at least one new movie/special to enjoy to help put me in the Christmas spirit. Recently, I found a new favorite that is sure to see repeated viewings from me not only this year but also future years, with Netflix’s new release “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.”

The musical follows once-joyful toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) as he finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter, Journey (newcomer Madalen Mills) appears on his doorstep to spend Christmas with him and help him open himself to people again. 

The first thing I’ve got to praise is the musical numbers themselves. The songs are fantastic and very well performed and the choreography (which was put together by the same team that did the choreography for “The Greatest Showman”) that goes along with them is amazing. Each dance step is sharply and precisely done but also somewhat loose and extremely fun-looking at the same time, and in Victorian-era costumes, no less, so I imagine that alone was a bit of a challenge. Overall, my hat goes off to the choreography team for this movie because they did an amazing job. 

carrie underwood my gift spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The Christmas season is officially here and with that in mind, it’s now officially time to start breaking out some awesome Christmas music. 

Typically, I have a firm rule about not starting listening to any Christmas music until Dec. 1 (because let’s face it, the radio stations start pushing it WAY too early), but last week, as I was preparing some Thanksgiving work for the paper, I broke my rule for about an hour when I dialed up Carrie Underwood’s latest album “My Gift” on YouTube to help me get into a bit more of a festive mood. It turned out to be exactly what I needed. 

The first thing I’ve got to praise is the vocals throughout the album. Underwood is fantastic on each track and her powerful and sweet vocals get a big chance to fully shine as the album goes along – one issue I had with her last album “Cry Pretty” was I felt her voice was overshadowed by everything else during production, which was a bit of a shame since Underwood’s got such a great vocal talent. But with “My Gift,” everything’s much more minimalist (in a good way) and you get to hear Underwood slay every note in every song. The minimized instrumentals are also done in a very good way and they help set the mood for each song perfectly, particularly with the album’s opening song “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” – I always prefer when this song is done on a more minimal scale because to me, it lends itself to being done that way and letting the singer’s vocal talents truly shine.