A Cultured, Musical Christmas

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with sports, but it’s Christmas-time so…I’m branching out a bit. No pun intended. Really. 


Culture of Christmas

I’m not afraid to admit it. I love Christmas. I admit it. I love the holiday season.

Don’t judge.

Yeah, yeah. I know some people can get crazy this time of year with their shopping and spending what they don’t have. I get that.

But, if you focus on the negative side, then guess what? You’re sure to find it. 

There’s no shortage of negativity during the holiday season. However, there are a lot of positive things to it too. And one that I love to focus on are the memories.

Growing up in a single-parent home wasn’t the norm growing up. Today it is. In my day, not so much. There were things, however, that I remember with a smile. Music is one of them.

We all have our favorites. Two of my many favorites are…shall we say…unique. They evoke a smile because they didn’t sound like anything else out there.

They were irreverent to some. But, they also spoke to a segment of American culture that didn’t fit in with the lily-white, perfect holiday season that was often portrayed in media when I was growing up. I mean, come on – there weren’t too many movies with a cactus decorated for Christmas. (Yeah, I grew up in Arizona)

But…I digress.

Neither song is perfect or liked by all. Then again, who of us is? Maybe that’s why I like them so much. They’re a part of my formative years. They remind me of when I was trying to figure out who I was and my place in this world.

They resonated with me.



The first one resonated with me because of one line: “C’mon Becto”. Only, to my child ears, when I listened to Santa Claus & His Old Lady, I heard “Come on, Beto”.

Beto happened to be the nickname of one of my tíos (uncles). Family, a Hispanic/Latino family, is everything when you’re a kid. And here were Cheech & Chong using the name of someone I knew in a song. A name that you’d only hear in my family – or only in Latino circles.

It went beyond Feliz Navidad.



As for the other song, let’s let them tell it:

I wasn’t a kid anymore when Christmas in Hollis came out, but I was into music. Anything I could dance to so R&B, rap, soul whatever – I was into it. Don’t try to tell me you can’t dance to Christmas in Hollis because I know you can. I did it. (Still do but that’s just between you and me and Run DMC)

For those who grew up in New York, Christmas in Hollis has even more meaning. As DMC told allhiphop.com in 2012, “…it was literally for me, like Christmas was like when I was a kid.” The food, from collard greens to the sweet potatoes – that was a Hollis Christmas. You never saw that in Rudolph or It’s a Wonderful Life


Between now and Christmas or Kwanzaa, you’re sure to hear these two songs at least once. Hopefully more. And, if you find yourself seeing all of the negative aspects to the season, just listen to these two songs. They’ll put a smile on your face and maybe bring back a memory or two.

Provided you didn’t inhale too much magic fairy dust when you were young.

Happy Hollis-days.

Merry Christmas! (1)


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