Gritty | courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers
Have Yourself a Gritty Little Christmas: Listen to a selection of seasonal songs about the Flyers’ fuzzy freak
The timeline of peoples’ varying feelings toward Gritty has gone something like this:
September 24: The Philadelphia Flyers unveil Gritty, complete with elaborate backstory. Locals are immediately skeptical, noting his somewhat unsettling appearance. Is Gritty just a weirder, oranger version of the Phillie Phanatic?
September 25: Folks from outside of the Philly area catch wind of Gritty, and begin to relentlessly mock him online. A lot of the insults tossed at Gritty are just unnecessarily rude, and overly fixated on his dead-in-the-eyes stare.
September 26 – present: Philly takes the insults extremely personally, and jumps to Gritty’s defense. We’ve embraced him as one of our own; he’s the hero we didn’t know we needed. He’s been honored by City Council, he received thousands of write-in votes for Governor of Pennsylvania on Election day, and local business have gone all out creating Gritty-themed products from donuts to beer. He’s even been the subject of not just one, but two playlists here on The Key.
And now it seems like some out-of-towners are finally warming up to the idea of Gritty. He’s finally getting the respect he deserves, and just had a new honor bestowed upon him in the form of some original holiday songs.
Long-running Connecticut hockey-themed band The Zambonis released a song called “Gritty Xmas (And A Hockey New Year)”. The song itself vaguely follows the melody of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and while it may not be canonized as a Christmas classic anytime soon, it’s just what we needed to celebrate the holidays in true Gritty fashion. The Zambonis acknowledge the controversial figure that Gritty is, but accept him with the love of a true Philadelphian: “Sure he’s got crazy eyes, but he’s got a big orange heart,” they sing, and they make a point of noting that he can be cute and scary at the same time.
The Mountain Goats aren’t from Philly either, but they sparked something when they tweeted this a few weeks back:
any Philadelphia-related act who doesn’t get a Gritty-themed Christmas song on all streaming platforms & with an option for hard copy within the next week is fucking up imo
— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) November 30, 2018
Now, I kind of wish the Mountain Goats had written a song themselves instead of just posing the idea to the internet. But in true Philly fashion some local musicians did indeed follow through — and not just with one Gritty Christmas song, but four. Unfortunately, they’ve left their identity unclear So This Is Gritmas was released on Bandcamp by someone going by the name Jawn Darnielle and the Mountain Grits as a nod to the aforementioned tweet; we’ve deciphered that the musicians are from West Philly, but that doesn’t really narrow it down much. If anyone has any clues, please leave them in the comments, because as much as we love the anonymity, we really want to know who’s responsible for this masterpiece.
Listen to all the Gritty-themed holiday goodness below.
UPDATE 12/23/19: Gritty has bonded remarkably strongly with his fellow mascots Franklin, Swoop, Phang, and The Phanatic, and they filmed this holiday video for Visit Philly, rushing all over iconic locations around the city from Termini Brothers to Rittenhouse Square to Philadelphia International Airport. Not a Gritty song exactly, but musical, and fun, and seasonal. Happy holidays!