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As one among those who appreciates the anticipation of Advent and celebrating Christmas starting Dec. 24, I try to avoid Christmas music before Christmas, but it gets harder all the time. What really annoys me is the setting of commercial jingles to sacred tunes. I do not believe that a sale on [fill in brandname here] merits a full-scale rendering of Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus, sometimes with new lyrics. On the other hand, John Mark Reynolds reminds us that things could be worse, because there are some truly terrible Christmas songs out there that no one wants to hear under any circumstances. One of them, “Santa Baby,” has been playing over a commercial this year—which is fairly appropriate—but where are the PETA protests over a little girl running downstairs singing “put a sable under the tree—for me”? Maybe she’s just asking for a live weasel as a pet?

Even the most gruesome Christmas song can have unexpected consequences,  perhaps: in Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, the enormous fortune inherited by Will, whose father wrote “Santa’s Super Sleigh,” enables him to live in splendidly selfish isolation, until—well, I recommend the movie!