A Canadian Christmas Aberdeen Berry

A recent poll commissioned by Canada Post showed that almost 90% of Canadian youth prefer physical rather than electronic greeting cards, and about three quarters of Canadians of all ages will send an average of twenty Christmas cards each this month. Of course, many of those may very well be addressed to the North Pole, H0H 0H0, as Canada Post’s campaign to get kids to write to Santa (actually retirees and post employees) enters its 29th year.

We caught up with Chris Patterson, bassist and vocalist of the Canadian parody band The Arrogant Worms. Their successful holiday album, Christmas Turkey, featured darkly festive ditties like “Santa’s Gonna Kick Your Ass,” and the astute number “Christmas Hangover” over a decade ago. The band’s slightly macabre sense of mischief at Christmas is perhaps more necessary than ever in a world responsible for a Bieber and Bublé Christmas.

the newspaper: What is the importance of the holiday-themed novelty song?
Chris Patterson: It's nice to have alternatives to the regular Christmas songs. Christmas can be funny so that should be reflected in the music. Christmas songs also let us know that Hallowe'en is over and it's time to start shopping.

tn: What, to you, makes your Christmas 'Canadian'?
CP: Freezing my face off on Christmas morning when I get a new toboggan. Temperature doesn't matter to kids with new toboggans. I remember spending a few winters in Saskatchewan and the temperature on Christmas Eve was minus 56 with windchill. Anyone who went out that night left their cars running so they didn't freeze. And not one car was stolen. That's pretty Canadian.

tn: Any Christmas traditions you could do without?
CP: Mariah Carey's Christmas album.

tn: Christmas Turkey was very dark in many respects; what's the value in adding this sort of material to the cultural cannon of cheesy holiday music?
CP: Not everyone likes Mariah Carey. We made the album for those people. Christmas has received pretty good press over the last few hundred years. Time to knock it down a peg or two.

tn: Christmas in Toronto: What do you like to do?
CP: Besides seeing The Arrogant Worms at Hugh's Room on December 21, I must say that the Santa Clause parade is pretty great. Finding Christmas gravy at City Hall is fun too.

tn: Deep down inside, do you believe in Santa Claus?
CP: Absolutely. I've seen him a few times this year so far.

tn: Any comment on the "Christmas Shoes" song?
CP: I have friends who love that song and they are mocked accordingly. Not so much a fan of that one. And "shoes" and "please" don't rhyme.

Whether it be listening to Stuart McLean’s Christmas turkey story, watching the Queen’s Christmas speech from the throne, or singing the only really Canadian Christmas carol (the Huron Carol) there’s something special about Christmas in Canada. This year, it’s unlikely we will see a repeat of the first recorded nation-wide white Christmas of 2008, but Canadians are nonetheless united by a sense of fun and tradition that is uniquely Canadian.

Additional Info

  • Subtitle: “Christmas has received pretty good press over the last few hundred years. Time to knock it down a peg or two.” - Arrogant Worms bassist Chris Patterson
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