Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Christmas Observations

On December 25th, I made an interesting observation. It was about Christmas music. You know by now I'm sure how much I hate the annual aerial bombardment of Christmas music. From the first moment some daring indivdual decides to pipe in "Silver Bells" over the system in the mattress store sometime in mid-October, to a few days after new years when the last Starbucks clerk realizes he needs to change the store CD back to Louis Armstrong, it's all-Christmas, all the time.

And of course, it's all really lame remixes of classic carols. I've commented on this at length before. But my observation this week was noticing the dramatic change on Christmas Day itself. For months, all the music we are subjected to is this pop-tripe. Hip teenage country vocal starlets giving us down-tempo Silent Nights with too much vibrato. Then suddenly on Christmas Day, no more of that shit! For one glorious day it's all bell medleys, purely instrumental versions of carols, boys choirs, orchestral pieces with generous horn sections.... Now that's good Christmas!

Too bad it's only one day a year we actually get some decent Christmas music. Or maybe, good that it's only one day. We wouldn't want to get sick of it.

Another observation. The calendar-as-Christmas-gift is PLAYED. It's the official least imaginative, least original, least exciting gift in the gift universe. It makes socks look like a 1st edition autographed copy of a favorite book.

I mean, sure, it's a somewhat useful gift. Sort of. And there are ways of personalizing your calendar choice. Kind of. But even if the person gets you a Weimeraner calendar because they know you love Weimeraners, there's still that feeling that they used Microsoft Gift-Wizard to get you the present.

For me, a present warms the heart in a direct proportion to how much thought was put into it. It's not about money, and it's not about practicality. Isn't it about an expression of affection? The calendar is the anti-affectionate gift. It says "I was obligated to get something, but I either a) don't care one bit, or b) lack rudimentary present skills."

And this years award for most irritating Christmas commercial goes to....

Honda's "Happy Hondadays" - for actually blending the loathsome use of holiday in the singular (as in "Have a great holiday" or "This holiday...") with blatant greed ("Hondaday") and simultaneously exploiting their little play on words as a way of excusing their taboo use of a Christmas Carol through humor. Hmm, I bet no one understood that. I think when it comes to hating Christmas marketing, I'm in my own little universe that only I can understand. Basically what I'm saying is, most commercials are too timid to actually use Christmas Carols in the commercial. It's too preferential to Christmas as the expense of say, Kwanzaa. Honda found a way around that politically correct obligation - not by growing a backbone - but by gently mocking the holiday through the use of a pun. Instead of "Holy", now it's "Honda"! Isn't that funny! Using a Christmas carol is okay, since it's meant in jest!

These are the things I think about.

Finally, I have a Christmas gift for anyone who's reading this. Don't think I haven't forgotten about you. Your present is that I'm going to spare you the long, detail filled, terminally boring story of my hassle-filled airport experience coming home yesterday. See, most people would tell you every last excrutiating detail, as if they were the only people in history who ever had hassles at the airport, and as if it was an interesting story, even though it would not be one. Like these people, I too am seized with a desire to start talking about it. But I will refrain. Merry Christmas.

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