A Game of Christmas


Why Christmas reminds me too much of The Hunger Games.

I wrote this blog post some time ago. I was exposed to a large quantity of Christmas music. I did not had much choice in this matter as it was played at work. I did not choose to listen to Christmas music, and have not willing listened to any significant amount of Christmas music for a long while. It is a very rare event when I do decide to choose to listen to any holiday music. I have had Christmas music thrust upon my open ears in such quantities that I cannot find enjoyment in many of the most common carols in which others find such joy.

That is not to say that I hate all songs about Christmas. I enjoy listening to “The Carol of the Bells” as well as “Panzer Klaus.” I just prefer to not listen to most Christmas music the majority of the time.

I love to read. As a child, I often chose to read a book instead of engaging in social activities. I no longer read as voraciously as I once did, but I still enjoy reading books that others balk at, with a speed that some find surprising. The books that I have read in the month prior to writing this post include: A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.

When Christmas music is combined with a string of dystopian, violent fiction where everyone is playing some sort of game and has a hidden agenda, the world starts to look a little funny around the edges. I know it may sound a little crazy, but keep in mind corporate Christmas soundtracks only have a few approved songs that they can play.

Please understand, I am not trying to convince you of anything.I am only showing you a different way of looking at the holiday season through some of the holiday songs that I have had to listen to on repeat. In an effort to keep this entry short enough for you to stay with me the entire way, I have decided to stick to just three songs in no particular order.

Also, if you have not read the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins, This post does contain spoilers. If you saw the movies and are looking for some clarification about what is going on, this post may or may not help you. I haven’t seen the movies, so I can not say for certain.

Song One – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

This song is one that has many different versions. Some are sweet, some I only begin to wonder about after hearing them repeatedly, and some set off my Stranger Danger alarm every time I hear it. The premise alone is pretty sweet and innocent. This is a song about two people in love and they refer to the “cold outside” as the excuse to prolong their date night.

However, some of the versions are downright scary in their rendition. It sounds like the person (usually a female) wants to leave and the other person won’t let them, despite repeated protests. I feel like it is a musical version of an abusive date. There is at least one version where it is the male attempting to leave the female’s home. It is no less disturbing to me. I still feel that there is some sinister undertones to the song. There is a definite power play at work.

What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?

There is an individual who wants desperately to leave, but they can not because they have no protection from the cold.

Say, lend me your coat?

Leaving could mean death by exposure.

At least there’ll be plenty of invised
If you caught pneumonia and died!

They are at the mercy of the person whose house they are currently at.

Baby it’s bad out there
Say.. what’s in this drink?
No cabs to be had out there

It is made even worse when this song is thought out with The Hunger Games in mind.  All communication is from the Capital. Each broadcast is monitored and I’m sure all entertainment is approved before it is aired. I can see this song being allowed as it is a reminder of the power that the Capital has over each of the Districts. It is also a reminder of how power is used in order to keep power. The Capital is the rich person in the warm house with the fire and the tools to combat against the cold. The Districts are the person who doesn’t want to leave the protection of the warmth. The Districts are willing to put up with the situation, to look away from what is actually happening in order to not be forced into a situation worse than what they are already in.

Song Two – “Silver Bells”

This one got me thinking because of the line “it’s Christmas time in the city.” Looking at this line alone, it implies that it is Christmas time in the city, but it is not Christmas time any where else. This is a celebration only for those in the city. The Capital city, if you will. Taking a step back and applying the thought processes of the Hunger Games to this song, one can imagine that Christmas time is another word for the Hunger Games. Only the Capital looks forward to the Hunger Games. Everywhere else is looking forward to this with dread. I noticed that it was referenced several times in the text how the Capital would not let anyone forget about the Hunger Games. How something would happen every six months in order to ensure that people would never fall into a sense of ease or security. The constant reminder that every part of their lives is under control from the Capital.

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There’s a feeling
of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
and on every street corner you’ll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day

The Capital is the heart of it all. It is the place with the joy and the decadent opulence. It gets dressed up for the season. Silver bells ring. Shoppers buy the latest items, discarding the old as unwanted without a second thought.

Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush
home with their treasures

In the Districts, you can count yourself lucky if you have enough food for everyone in your family. But since Santa is watching, when the bells ring, when the cameras come on, smile at everyone you see, or at least do not openly rebel, otherwise it will be your family, your district who will not benefit from this time of the year.

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch
This is Santa’s big scene
And above all this bustle
You’ll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day

Song Three – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

This one is at the top of the list for me for really freaking me out. I’m starting to think of Santa as being synonymous with Big Brother, or in this case, President Snow or someone who works for him. The song starts out showing the wealth and technology of the Capital

I just got back from a lovely trip along the Milky Way
I stopped off at the North Pole to spend a holiday
I call on dear old Santa Claus to see what I could see
He took me to his workshop and he told his plans to me

I mean, space travel. In a world with hovercraft, you would think that they have the technology for space travel. I wonder if they would also have the ability to terraform? How much did they destroy the Earth with their wars and how much have they learned to rebuild it versus how much did the Earth heal itself? I digress, sorry.

Katniss refers several times to being videotaped at all times during the games and it is later revealed that there is surveillance pretty much anywhere and everywhere inside each of the Districts.

He’s making a list and checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake
Oh, you better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

Everyone needs to watch what they say and how they act at all times. If planning needs to be done to bring down President Snow, or to have more than one person survive the game arena, a code needs to be established. If you openly defy the regime in any way, then you will be on the naughty list and you will be executed.

Now Santa is a busy man, he’s got no time to play
He’s got millions of stockings to fill on Christmas day
You’d better write your letter now and send it right away
Because he’s getting ready with his reindeer and his sledge

Santa/President Snow/Big Brother will not mess around. It doesn’t matter how many people he has to go through, how much work it will take. He will bring you down. You will follow the letter of the law or he will come after you.

With little tin horns and little tin drums
Rooty-toot-toots and rummy-tum-tums
Santa Claus is coming to town
And curly head dolls that toddle and coo
Elephants, boats and kiddie cars too
Santa Claus is coming to town

Every death match will have its assortments of weapons. Ever seen the movie Battle Royale? A little poison in one bowl of soup at lunch can wipe out more people than you bargain for.

The kids in girl and boy land
Will have a jubilee
They’re gonna build a toyland town
All around the Christmas tree
So you better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

You kids. You one boy and one girl from each District. You will go to a magical world just for you. It will be centered around a Cornucopia, might as well call it a Christmas tree. It is full of weapons for you to use against each other to achieve victory. You better watch out or it will be you who dies. You can cry, so long as it is not against the state. Santa is on his way. He has been watching and he knows all about you. Santa Claus is coming to town.

Sweet dreams.