Nothing says festive like terminal illness and eventual death!
I suppose it’s inevitable that tear-jerking trauma is commingled with Christmas cheer. Even Dickens interposed Tiny Tim into his Christmas carol.
There’s just something so very grubby, and manipulative, about efforts to sell songs by taking advantage of the emotionally vulnerable.
The reigning champion of this effort is “The Christmas Shoes,” which has been for three years the animating horror of your intrepid team here at Christmas Spirit Fail:
This song has spawned an execrable film and a novelization, not to mentioned being played every seven minutes on the radio from November 1 to December 25. It’s so awful that there is nothing we can say that would call attention to this abomination that it doesn’t do for itself.
But country-Christian crooner Matthew West has a strong contender to knock the “Shoes” off their pedestal, and that’s “One Last Christmas”:
It is the story of a toddler, Dax, diagnosed with leukemia, and how his family goes all out to give him “one last Christmas” before they lose him. (It has also been turned into an F-list movie.)
Now, CSF is fully sympathetic to the families whose Christmases come tinged with loss, grief, and sadness. (Indeed, CSF was itself treated for cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where Dax also received treatment, and feels a pang when reading Dax’s story.)
But songs like “The Christmas Shoes” and “One Last Christmas” don’t memorialize the dead and comfort the survivors; they trivialize the loss and commercialize the lost. The Christmas Shoes lady and Dax both died, but these songs will play on forever–and that’s a triple tragedy.