Ah, Christmas, the time of year where the air is tinged with cinnamon and evergreen, the lights twinkle in brilliant colors, and everyone seems to be in a holly, jolly mood. And the songs are full of danger.
Not to be a yule log in the spiced wine bowl, but when you get right down to it, there’s a lot of safety and security issues in some of those songs you love to sing at the top of your lungs while alone in the car when no one else can judge you for loving Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time.” We don’t want to dampen your Christmas spirit, but please don’t take any of these carols literally. And don’t run over Grandma while blasting Wham’s “Last Christmas.”
“Up on the Housetop”
OK, this one is obvious: Santa’s up on your roof with his eight prancing reindeer. But who is Santa really, except a stranger who shows up once a year and breaks into your house through the chimney? He’s lucky he doesn’t get stuck in there. And don’t even get us started on how bad it is to have reindeer, let alone eight (nine, counting Rudolph) reindeer, on your roof. Reindeer can weigh up to 500 pounds EACH, so that much added weight, plus a sleigh, most likely isn’t going to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.
“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Speaking of reindeer, what is going on in the North Pole stables? Laughing and calling poor Rudy names and not letting him participate in games all because he’s different. Talk about a teachable moment to talk to your kids about bullying. And, hey, Santa, we know the song ends on a happy note because Rudolph saves the day by lighting up the skies with his bright red nose when there’s a snowstorm, but how bright can it really be? Maybe invest in some headlights to avoid any mid-air collisions. (Then again, how many other sleighs are cruising the heavens on Christmas Eve?)
“All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey
Oh, Mariah. It’s really sweet that you don’t want any presents under the tree, just your true love under the mistletoe. But you might want to rethink how you deliver this message, since lyrics like “I just want you for my own/More than you could ever know” take on a whole new meaning when written out in a font like, say “chiller”, or, even better, letters clipped from different magazines. Stalker much?
“Little Drummer Boy”
Aw, it’s a young boy who has no gift to give (pa rum pum pum pum). But he realizes he can play his drum for the little Christ child. So sweet! Until you realize this young boy probably shouldn’t be out at night all by himself. Where are his parents?!?
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
There are some thorny gender issues associated with this one (although within the context of the time it was written, the song was way more flirty than creepy), but let’s just look at some of the security issues by examining the facts. Girl and Guy spend a lovely evening together, Girl needs to get home, it’s snowing and cold outside. Sounds like she needs to call an Uber. Or if that’s not an option, at least call her parents to let her know she’s staying at Guy’s place, since she’s worried that THEY are worried. Wait, are there no working phones in this situation? THAT’s a security issue!
“Let it Snow”
We all love a good snowfall, especially on Christmas Eve. The world gets all hushed, and the purity of the white snow seems to wipe the world clean. But with snow comes slippery roads, fishtailing, and accidents. Sure, the singer of the song wants to bring on the snow “since we’ve no place to go,” but what about anyone else who has to get somewhere?
“The Christmas Song”
Also known by its first lines, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” this classic introduces the safety issue right up front: open flame. Let’s hope the adults are alert enough to watch those “tiny tots with their eyes all aglow” from getting too close to the fire!
“Jingles Bells” and “Sleigh Ride”
Nothing quite screams Christmas and winter like a sleigh ride over crisp, fresh snow in a one-horse open sleigh. But how safe is an open sleigh? How easily can one fall out? Are there seat belts? And, if there’s a sleigh, that means snow, which means cold. Hopefully you don’t have too far to go, since an open sleigh means Jack Frost might be nipping at more than your nose.
“City sidewalks/Busy sidewalks...Children laughing, people passing/Meeting smile after smile…” Any other year, this song would pass safety muster, but in a COVID-19 world, “busy sidewalks” means no social distancing and “meeting smile after smile” signifies the wearers aren’t wearing CDC-recommended masks. Hopefully, “Silver Bells” gets back on the safe list in 2021!
“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”
The title says it all, but the rest of the lyrics of this one are pretty questionable, too: “She'd been drinking too much eggnog/And we begged her not to go/But she forgot her medication/And she staggered out the door into the snow.” So, grandma gets inebriated and heads out into the cold all by herself, at the mercy of the elements and unlicensed sleigh drivers. Some family. And let’s not even dive deeper into how “broken up” Grandpa is by his wife’s apparent death by reindeer trampling! (A charge of negligent homicide might be in order here…)
If this look at the lack of safety and security in Christmas carols didn’t cheer you up at the end of 2020, nothing will. Seriously, though, we hope you enjoy your Christmas and stay safe this holiday season!
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