Has anyone else noticed that "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" sends a terrible message to kids? Basically Rudolph gets used like a tool and we’re supposed to be happy about it. At first Rudolph is shunned by the other reindeer because of his appearance, ostracized from their clique-ish "reindeer games." (And where is Santa during this bullying?)

Then, for no reason other than meteorological happenstance, the tide turns dramatically "one foggy Christmas Eve," when suddenly Rudolph can be useful to Santa and Blitzen and the rest of the ‘foggy-weather friends.’ It would be perfectly reasonable for Rudolph to tell them to kiss his red ass…but I commend him for taking the high road of reconciliation.

Christmas Song Grade: B-  Engaging story; catchy tune; terrible lesson.

On the other hand, I love "The Little Drummer Boy."

First of all, you can’t beat the hook: the killer snare drum line echoed vocally with the "pa rum pum pum pums. " Second, the story is awesome, if legendary. (I hear the Little Drummer Boy cried when the Jesus Seminar voted that his existence was unsupported by scholarly evidence 🙂

I love the drama of the impromptu command performance for the new born King; the heart-rending statement,"I am a poor boy, too"; the use of his art as a gift; and the determination to play his "best for Him."

But without question, my favorite line is, "The ox and lamb kept time."

I can totally picture the scene inside the manger…The Three Wise Men; Mary; Joseph; the infant Messiah; the Drummer Boy going for broke, and the ox and lamb there to help him rock the spot like a seasoned jazz trio.

I imagine one of the Wise Men telling his friends later, "Dude! The ox and lamb were killing it! They were totally ‘in the pocket’ and in the groove…The ox and lamb were gettin’ down! You should have seen it…"

Talk about miracles…an ox and a lamb who have mastered complex time signatures and sophisticated poly-rhythms?

Christmas Song Grade: A+  Great track; fun to sing; awesome narrative, concisely told.