So here we are on New Year’s Eve; basically the end of the typical holiday season. Your holiday season may vary. All I can say is, “Thank goodness that’s over for another year.” I wasn’t always this way; I used to really love the Christmas season and looked forward to it every year. I loved decorating the tree, decorating the house, all the presents, both giving and receiving.
“What changed?” I can hear you ask, out there in the blogosphere. Even if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you. I changed. I grew up and realized that Christmas was no longer a holiday, it had become an industry, and it’s been getting worse every year. That’s not merely a subjective belief, I have objective proof. Back in July a couple of chain stores ran a “Why wait until Christmas to have a Boxing week sale?” promotion. Manfully I kept from clawing my own eyes out and heaved a sigh. “At least it’s only for a week.” I told myself.
Now, fast-forward to December. Actually, you only have to go to Friday November 16th. I was heading into work, when I made the mistake of turning the radio on. Why was that a mistake? Because the first song I heard was a Christmas song and the second; I turned the radio off before the third. I mistakenly thought that the station, which is known for theme weekends, had decided to play a `Favorite Christmas Songs’ weekend. Since I don’t have any, I left the radio off until Monday.
Monday, I turned the radio on again; more Christmas music. I screamed; loudly. I think the bus driver in the lane beside me peed himself. I quickly changed stations and found one playing music that was acceptable. For the rest of the week I would go back to my usual station just to verify they were actually playing Christmas music five and a half weeks before the day, and quickly change it back to the backup station.
Of course, as soon as it turned into December, the rest of the local radio stations began adding Christmas songs to their mix. I began to play CDs in the CD player in the car.
Saturday November 17th, my company, cheap-skates that I find them, held their Christmas party. They have the annual party midway through November every year I’ve worked for them. I hold the firm belief that they do it this way to save money not having it during the rush in December. Thankfully, since it was still only November, the DJ didn’t play more than two or three recognizably Christmas song in the three and a half to four hours I was there.
I let him live.
Still, Christmas was a topic of conversation at my table. Two of the older ladies at my table bragged, bragged, about having almost finished their Christmas shopping. They had to gall to poll the rest of the table about our progress. I shut the discussion down when I asked, “Why should I shop now, Christmas isn’t for Five And A Half Weeks.” The one lady, who knows me better, remembered my rants from seasons past and went, “Oh, you’re such a Scrooge.”
I was insulted; offended even. I told them that Scrooge was an amateur compared to me. He had started out with such good intentions, but was seduced and betrayed by the tinsel side. I’m better than Scrooge, I’m Mr. Bah F***ing Humbug, thank you very much. The conversation went elsewhere, fast.
When December came along, I began to feel hunted. I pulled out my MP3 player and batteries for trips into stores. It’s amazing how calming it is to walk through a grocery store with AC/DC to keep you sane. I forgot the player one day, and had to make a naked run through the store to grab a couple of items. Naturally they were at opposite ends of the store and as far from the front door as possible. Whilst schlepping through the aisles, I had the misfortune to hear a Christmas song done in dirge tempo; I’ve been able to successfully repress the memory of which one it was.
I made a comment that I remember being appropriate to the lyrics at hand, referencing the dirge aspect of the song and the singer’s wish for a happy season. I said something to the effect that what would make me happiest right then was for the singer’s slow and painful death from some wasting disease, preferably involving laryngitis. I was startled by a stranger’s audible agreement with me.
Folks, I could have hugged that man. Perfect stranger and all; and I don’t swing that way.
I find that this post has concentrated on the musical reason I dislike the Christmas season. So, I’ll tell you why I hate the vast majority of Christmas music. There are only three Christmas songs that I like: Good King Wenceslas, Little Drummer Boy, and Deck the Halls. I’m a traditionalist; I like them done in the original, traditional, arrangements. However, it seems like every half-wit, tone-deaf, pop-star who’s been around for a year or so, releases a Christmas Album; said album contains his, her, or its version, interpretation, update, or reimagining of somewhere around 12 to 20 `Christmas Classics’. This ritual goes back decades. The idea of Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and/or Lady Gaga, doing Christmas songs makes me want to vomit.
To a certain extent, I don’t mind Elvis, Sinatra, or Bing Crosby doing their thing on Christmas songs. They could at least sing, and they more or less followed the traditional. It’s the ones who can’t sing and don’t follow the traditional that make me want to drive knitting needles into my ear drums. I don’t want to hear a rap Rudolph, a hip-hop Have a Holly Jolly, or a jangling Jingle Bell Rock. It nauseates me just thinking about it. I may even have a mild case PTSD because of it. I swear, one year, I’m going to snap and hold a fruitcake on a programming director until they agree to play nothing but hard rock until the New Year.
Next holiday to hate? Valentine’s Day.