Track of the Day: ‘The Christians and the Pagans’ by Dar Williams

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

I tend to favor depressing Christmas songs, but reader Adam Feiges probably has a better idea during this already depressing post-election season:

How about Christmas tunes, specifically ones that work that holiday magic of bringing people together? I know that they can be clichéd, but I always find myself looking forward to the first time each season that I hear Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Winter, especially here in Iowa, can be depressing, and a little yule-time cheer can really brighten things up.

My suggestion to start things off is Dar Williams “The Christians and the Pagans.” It’s a bouncy happy tune with lyrics that praise the importance of family, tradition, and faith while at the same time drawing attention to the beauty of our differences. It is also evocative of the potential for healing of wounds between various religious factions stating with hope that “now when Christians sit with Pagans only pumpkin pies are burning.”

If you have a creative pick for a Christmas song you like—not one of the well-known classics—please send it our way, along with a few words about it, or maybe a memory you associate with it:

(Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)