In the truly immortal and deeply insightful words of Bill Murray as lounge singer Nick Winters on Saturday Night Live (1978):
Give me those Star Wars!
Nothing but Star Wars -
Don't let them end.
Ah, Star Wars!
If they should bar wars,
Please let these Star Wars stay!
How about that nutty Star Wars bar?
Can you believe all the creatures in there?
Darth Vader in that black and evil mask -
Did he scare you as much as he scared me?
Those near and far wars,
In this, the year of no more important event than the end of The Star Wars Saga, we must contemplate this moment and it’s meaning in our collective history. Not in our lifetime has an entertainment franchise had such a deep and lasting impact (Harry Potter is essentially Star Wars with magic wands…think about it). From the many new words and ideas that it has added to the cultural lexicon, to the very way we look at film production and distribution, No matter how you feel about it, Star Wars has touched at least some aspect of all our lives. And lest we forget the toys, the glorious toys! No Christmas was EVER the same after the Early Bird Figure Set (basically an empty box with a mail-in certificate) hit stores in time for the 1977 shopping season.
The nostalgia associated with those films and their place in gauzy-lensed holiday memories runs deeper than religion for more than a few. Many would say it IS their religion. And more still might even call it THE defining cultural influence in their lives. For this reason, the new trilogy and especially Rise of Skywalker, the supposed conclusion of the original Saga, have been anticipated with an excitement that can only be generated by those hoping to recapture something they long thought lost. And this is why disappointment is their ultimate destiny.
We humans are truly creatures of habit who are largely comfortable in the familiar. Change is frightening, especially when we see it within ourselves. We fear becoming something too far removed from what we thought we were. We fear not feeling the same about the things which once made us happy. We fear a Star Wars that does not carry us along with it back to the exact moment we want and need it to. And in case you have forgotten, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
And suffer we will as there is no possible way for all of us, really any of us, to be completely satisfied with the end of The Saga. Star Wars isn't too big to fail, it's too big to succeed. There will be no return to the same feels a Star Wars could give us at 8 or 10 or 12. Even the nostalgia we felt for it in our 20s and 30s (and some of us beyond) cannot be returned to us, no matter how much eBay purchasing we do to retrieve all of the toys our parents disposed of. Similarly, there is no return to the Christmases of our past. Kylo said as much when he baited Rey with: “Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you are meant to be.” This Horrible Holiday playlist will not kill the ghost of Star Wars past for you, but it will definitely maim the bastard.
The delightful audio collection I have curated for you in this, the year of our Sith Lord 2019, is designed to help you kill the desire for the dark side of nostalgia, the “toxic impulse” as John Hodgman calls it. “No!” You might say, “That’s IMPOSSIBLE!!!” But indeed change is possible. The creators of many of these musical gems obviously love Star Wars (except the one from The Holiday Special, they CAN'T love Star Wars), but are not beholden to a sense of reverence that does not allow for loving parody and even some harsh ribbing. They know that anything taken too seriously is fodder for Russian Trolls to divide America. Let’s show the that we are more than the sum of our Star Wars and enjoy this auditory assault on our senses with unified “pleasure.”
Some of these “songs” are funny and some are just trying to be, but all of them were created with the desire to intertwine the artist’s love of Star Wars with the joy of the season…except the ones that are just an obvious cash grab…and the one that reminds you that droids have a lot in common with house elves in that they are sentient and have free will, but live out their existence in servitude to their master (unless someone falls for the old “remove my restating bolt an I will show you the secret message” trick). One especially horrifying example is when a droid working in what sounds an awful lot like Santa’s intergalactic sweat shop hopefully asks if they will get presents too, they are told “Every time you build a toy, you’ve already been given a gift.” I like to imagine that the words had barely left the man’s mouth when he became the first victim of a bloody robotic uprising.
Yoda advises that you, "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose." When the things we love the most become the most divisive, perhaps it is time to let them go…or at least evolve into something not so beholden to the past (and pray that no one connected to the series says anything terrible on social media - we’re looking at you, J.K.Rowling). Your memories will always belong to you, but that does not mean they will always feel the same. That is true of Star Wars and of Christmas. And if you can’t stomach that, there is always The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda (or whoever he/she is) to invest all your hopes and dreams in, right?
Have a Great Holiday and May The Force Get You Something Nice (with a gift receipt just in case)!
PS - I am just as guilty of needing good Star Wars as anyone, so most of this letter involves me completely talking out of my ass.
Also, because I know you needed this, all 6 horrible holiday playlists can now be found online!
If you prefer to stream the full collections, you can find them by going to audiomack.com. You can also, God Forgive You, post them on Facebook or Twitter directly from Audiomack!
If you desire more control through the ability to download individual tracks, you can find them all on this Google Drive. The special part of this route is that you can view the track lists and cover art as well as read all of my letters from previous years (Only a portion of the 2019 list is available at this time.).