Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why I Like Christmas Music

There is probably some version of "Why I Hate Christmas Music" back in my blog around this time last year. I have been saying that for a long time. I particularly hate listening to it during Advent, I've been prone to say. We never get to celebrate the Christmas season because they play all the music early and then stop playing it on December 26, which makes no sense.

But this year, something clicked for me differently. Perhaps it was the absolute absurdity of Bob Dylan's Christmas CD. (No, I'm not making that up. Go to Amazon if you don't believe me!) Yes, it's as bad as you could imagine it to be. Some genres--and I think Dylan is actually his own genre--were never meant to cross. Especially the current Dylan, whose voice is now so hoarse that it is almost unbearable even singing his own stuff. Just try to imagine the Little Drummer boy in your head.

Anyway, I digress. I think I finally get why people need Christmas music this early, and not just because the stores want you to buy stuff. I was in the dentist's chair right after Thanksgiving and noticed they were piping Christmas music in. I made a comment to the Hygenist about how awful it must be to know you would have to listen to this for a sold month. Her response? "Oh no, I love it. I could listen to it all year long."

She went on to talk about how excited she gets about Christmas, how much she loves shopping for family and friends, decorating the tree, etc. There are a whole lot of endorphines being cranked out by this season.

That's when it hit me. People need Christmas music early to help them get into the season. All of us bitching about playing Christmas music during Advent need to realize, that this is, in fact, a form of preparation too. Would you expect the choir to go out and sing the Christmas oratorio without rehearsing? This is just another form of rehearsing for the real thing.

That can be applied to all the shopping too, when you think about it. Personally, I want more time in Advent for stillness and calm, reflection and mindfulness. But I'm not everyone. Not everyone prepares the same way I do. We ease into the Christmas season, just as Lent carries us into Easter.

Now, I would happily have the Christmas music interspersed with regular music, increasingly taking over as we get closer to Christmas Day. Fortunately, thanks to the magic of certain unnamed electronics (you know, the fruit people), I can get my wish with just a couple of minutes work each day. And I can happily dispense with the barking dogs, chipmunks, reindeer assaulted grandmas, and I'm-sorry-I-won't-be-with-you songs, by playing what I own instead of turning on a radio, at least as long as I am not out there shopping. Which I almost never do this time of year. The Internet is so much more sane, frankly.

So, this year, I vow not to say the same old tired lines about music being played too early. It's not a case of giving in, but of learning that I can control my environment a lot more if I put my mind to it. Besides, we have war, economic collapse, hatred and other real things to worry about. To put even a small amount of energy into this is rather stupid, don't you think?

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