- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend -Make “California Christmastime” From ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ A Holiday Classic, You Cowards
OK Mariah Carey acolytes, we all know "All I Want for Christmas Is You" is the holiday song to listen to on repeat as soon as we hit November 1st on the calendar.
And while we can always appreciate the classic anthems that help make the Yuletide gay, I propose it's time we dump the grass is always greener, or shall we say, snow is always whiter across the country trope that we're taught is essential to making the season feel merry.
Come on, a white Christmas isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be. It's freezing. Guys are creepily pressuring you to stay inside with them because baby, it's cold out there. And for those that live somewhere cold enough to experience nightly dumps of nature's dandruff, you've got to scrape your car window every damn morning!
Now, sure, there are merits, as my East Coast family can attest — the warm hot cocoa that feels just right, bundling up by the cozy fire, snowball fights where you get whacked in the face. But aren't we tired of always dreaming of a white Christmas? What if you've never had a white Christmas? What if your Christmases were spent where the sun was shining so much that not a speck of snow was to be seen on the San Gabriel mountains?
As the holiday season is bound to look a little different this year anyway, why don't we jump on the bandwagon of foregoing the traditional whims of the holiday and embrace what we have at our disposal.
"California Christmastime," from the CW musical rom-com Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, is exactly the unconventional seasonal offering we need to embrace as a holiday classic.
The pretense for the song involves Rebecca Bunch embracing her transplant status during the holidays, as she moved from New York City to West Covina, California to jumpstart a new life for herself.
So right after seeing her old flame, Josh Chan, at the mall, they embrace the childlike Christmas spirit bursting inside them, and how California has its own kind of holiday cheer (and snark).
Here is why this festive number should be promptly ushered into the holiday playlist pantheon as the entry for 2020. Stat.
The Lyrics Offer Up a Cheeky Dose of Measured Holiday Expectations
Who is really in the mood for a treacly Christmas song at the moment, anyway? If you're anything like the memes of 2020 have wrought, we want something to go down easy with a cool glass of spiked eggnog, lovingly mocking the unbelievable world we've all been thrust into.
From the start of the song, Rebecca tells New York, and her old life, really, that "you can take your snow and shove it."
It's almost defiant, basically challenging states (and her mother) that tout the icy holidays of yore to deny the alternative mode of warmth warranted by a California Christmastime — literally and figuratively. But don't stop there.
Instead of the old-timey, big jolly Santa we know and love, the Santa Rebecca and Josh tell their Christmas wishes to in "California Christmastime" is also "an unemployed stuntman" who is "really baked." Relatable or what, when the country is undergoing record levels of unemployment in 2020? As Josh sings, "If he can be Santa Claus anyone can." I can take that as, if he can get through this hell of a year and find a way to make some money, merry Christmas to you, Sir.
And while the typical holiday playlist may feature songs like "Winter Wonderland" or "Silent Night," a tune highlighting how we can also throw singing "songs by Sublime" into the mix is a more realistic version of how our shuffles might venture off when a pesky little sibling snags the aux cord.
The song ultimately celebrates how "this is our Christmas and we love it," the spirit of making the best of a Christmas that doesn't play by the book but somehow still manages to be a jolly good time anyway.
California Isn't Left Out in the Cold (Or Sun) Anymore When The Holidays Roll Around
California and the West Coast are always considered the ugly stepchild of Christmastime, so the song really hammers home that Christmas can be anywhere, and even better sometimes, in a place you might not expect would be ideal for celebrating the holidays. In fact, the song is rife with so many nods to the Golden State that if you're from California especially, it'll make you feel warm and nostalgic. That is, after the spiked eggnog buzz wears off.
For starters, the song swipes out the slopes for waves, praising the temperate weather for hanging ten with Rudolph and Prancer instead of in the below freezing chills. The song does snap back to reality that even though surfing waves and catching some rays can sure make for a joyous winter break, California's Golden State moniker does have some downsides, as Heather sings that we have "high rates of skin cancer" and Rebecca mentions, "what would Christmas be without / Historically low mountain snow causing staggering drought?" Think back to "Let It Snow." The very first line mentions how "the weather outside is frightful." Crazy Ex leans into this hallmark of holiday songs, playfully balancing both the good and the bad of a California Christmas.
And like all Christmas songs recognize, the lyrics jump to looking on the bright side, finding the shiny present even if you've got some lumps of coal next to them, as Josh says that at least "this eggnog fro-yo's super tight!" It may not be the storied eggnog your mother makes, but California's got its own version of the holiday treat that you just have to eat with a spoon instead of guzzling down.
Like "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," a big focus of holiday songs is on the presents you're going to find under the tree and whether or not you're on the naughty or nice list. "California Christmastime" doesn't forget SoCal kiddos' hopes and dream for Santa too, but notes that "the kids get lots of toys on Christmas morn / 'cause Daddy makes big bucks directing porn."
The lyrics are a wink to California's entertainment industry, but also reminds listeners that come hell or high water, these parents are going to work hard to make sure Santa receives their kids' letters at the North Pole, whether they're sent from a frostbite-ridden Connecticut or the San Fernando Valley.
"California Christmastime" Speaks to the Holiday Blues, an Underrepresented Feeling in the Oeuvre of Carols
No matter where you are, and since so many of us can't travel to see our extended family this Christmas, the song does speak to the isolation and loneliness one can feel at the holidays. "California Christmastime" reminds you that you're really not alone, because so many of us go through the same thing.
In the song, Darryl sings of receiving a henna tattoo from California's "own kind of Christmas Carol," and Paula chimes in that it's this chick named Carol who is 50 and is still finding herself. But Rebecca and Josh join in, as they sing "We're all finding ourselves."
The song also ends with Rebecca and her friends performing "California Christmastime" onstage for the mall's "Winter Wonderland," but one by one they leave her standing on her own. A gesture to the holidays not always feeling so jolly at times.
Crazy Ex shines in subverting expectations and unlearning all that we're told we're supposed to reach for in our lives, including the ordinary Christmas, so this song emphasizes that the fantasy of a holiday season is not always what you get. But like the Rolling Stones opined, even if you don't always get what you want, you might find that you get what you need. And that California "does Christmas right" in its own way.
And We Still Get Some Homages to Holiday Standards
The song wouldn't be complete though without paying due respect to carols that made us idealize the holiday season in the first place.
Like "Deck the Halls," for instance, and specifically the line, "Don we now our gay apparel." Well, in the "California Christmastime" version, Darryl requests "don we now our surf apparel." And sure, both kinds of attire can make the wearer happy, but doesn't "surf" just give it an extra special zing?
And a little more Bad Santa than good old St. Nicholas, the song references Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song," where he muses over "chestnuts roasting on the open fire." On Crazy Ex, we've got the double entendre of "Chet's nuts roasting in the bright sunlight" as Rebecca encounters mall-goer Chet, who is walking around eating a bowl of chestnuts... while in a speedo.
"California Christmastime" doesn't necessarily hail to a traditional Christmas that may come to mind, but it's memorable in its own way. If a white Christmas is the grandpa riding a horse drawn sleigh, California is the cool cousin arriving to the Christmas Eve dinner on a skateboard. They both reach the destination, just with different forms of transportation. But we can all still munch on Gingerbread cookies together.
So let's jingle bell rock our way into making this Crazy Ex-Girlfriend staple a classic — officially.