Yes, Virginia, There Is A Grinch

by Bill Brenner on December 16, 2011

Everything about Christmas is infuriating me today. It’s progress, because Christmas once brought out deep feelings of sadness, and I prefer self-righteous fury over sadness.

Still, this is supposed to be a joyful season and I’m trying to find that joy. After all, nobody wants a cranky bastard in the room ruining the party. So I’ve been seeking ┬áTHE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, and I must admit the results have been mixed.

One thing that makes me cranky is the music. Erin has this “Rock N Roll” Christmas album she loves to play, but I hate it. Billy Squier and Bon Jovi singing Christmas songs grates on my nerves. So I searched for alternatives. Twisted Sister made a Christmas album, which always amuses me since they are a band of Jewish guys from New York. Check this out:


That cheers me up a bit. But I also wanted to find some Christmas music that was more serious yet in tune with my heavy metal tastes. Duh, says my friend Dave Marcus. Rob Halford has just such an album. That’s right, Rob Halford, lead vocalist of legendary metal band Judas Priest.

I found some Christmassy warmth in this rendition of “Oh Holy Night” —

In another effort, I turned on all the Christmas lights even though it was the middle of the day. It all looks pretty, but it’s also a lot like the happy lamp I’m supposed to use when the darkness of winter sets in: My brain knows it’s not real sunlight, and that sort of spoils the moment.

I figured going to the Christmas pageant at my kids’ school would put me in the spirit, and it did brighten the mood for me. The kids and their teachers did a wonderful job putting it on. But it was offset by my annoyance at all the parents who get pissy about where you sit at these events because they’re trying to save a bunch of seats for relatives who are running late, like it’s their God-given right to do so.

I finished all the Christmas shopping in record time, but I see all the packages in the garage and know it’s only a matter of time before I have to start wrapping. Boo hoo.

Yeah. I’m just not feeling it. Not the warm and fuzzy stuff, anyway.

But that’s OK.

There are upsides to the downside.

One is that once Christmas Eve and Day arrive, I usually have a pleasant day with family. Maybe it’s a reward for enduring the rest of the season.

Unlike the Christmas seasons of several years ago, I’m not binge-eating my way through December. That’s huge progress, because I was always a pile of toxic waste this time of year. No binges means that while I’m still cranky, I’m healthier.

I also feel more grounded in knowing that in the end, when you strip away all the bullshit, the holiday is about Christ entering the world to save sinners like me. The annoying stuff will come and go, but that truth is always there.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

nanjcsy December 16, 2011 at 3:44 am

Love this one! I can relate..this year is very rough for us here and I am having a hard time with feeling jolly!

Julie Booth December 16, 2011 at 4:33 am
Matthew December 16, 2011 at 7:28 am

Hi Bill,

You might get a kick out of this.

I wasn’t going to do it because of the cost, but my son just heard a commercial on the radio, and said he will be willing to give up all Xmas presents this year for us to see… Guns and Roses tonight! He even volunteered to buy his own ticket. It’s funny that it is my almost 9 y.o. son deciding we need to go. He only knows a few of the songs, but he is loving the concert experience.

See, metal and Xmas sometimes fit nicely together.

Duff also lives in this town, and my son has met him, so we are hoping for a guest appearance. Fingers crossed. I’ll let you know if bloated Axl can still pull it together…

billbrenner1970 December 16, 2011 at 7:29 am

Wow! Have fun! I hope Axl gets his ass on stage. You never know with him.

Matthew December 19, 2011 at 7:09 am


Axl not only showed up, but was ON TIME on the stage and put on a hell of a show. I had heard anecdotally that his voice had gone downhill, but he actually was really quite good – Highly energetic, good willed and seemed to be having fun up there – actually smiling at several points, having fun.

I also thought missing the rest of the old crew was going to be a little strange, but he has put together some really TIGHT musicians in that band. All three quitar players took different leads at different times. And, Duff’s band Loaded opened, so he did come up on stage to play “You Could Be Mine” with GNR.

Paradise City closed the encore (my son’s favorite) – and he walked away having a great time. We all did.

Mark December 11, 2013 at 8:35 am

Had never heard Halford’s version of that song. Awesome! Here’s another for you Dio and Iommi with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:

Bill Brenner December 11, 2013 at 8:40 am

I have heard that one, and it is outstanding!

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