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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas As It Never Was?

I've been listening to Christmas music the past couple of weeks. I prefer the classics sung by the classic artists--you know like Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Doris Day, etc--but there are a few newer performers, too. Josh Groban's O Holy Night is awesome and I downloaded Darius Rucker's Candy Cane Christmas when iTunes had it available for free and it's totally wonderful. It's a new song, but done with the heart and soul of the old classics.

The thing that I find interesting is what this music evokes in me. I picture a simpler time, a time when parents weren't frenzied trying to make the holiday "perfect" and full of presents for their kids. A time when kids were satisfied with a few gifts and didn't expect the kind of frenzied consumerism we see today. I see a time when Christmas was about family and friends and not about buying and decorating.

Maybe this never existed. (After all, wasn't the Cabbage Patch madness in the 80s?) Maybe Christmas has always been prostituted by retailers in order to turn a profit. But I remember a time when holiday decorations weren't put out before Halloween. And when I was a kid, the expectations for gifts were a lot fewer and a lot less expensive. At least that's the way I remember it now. :-)

Maybe this ideal I envision is nothing but a fantasy of how a lot of people wished things were. The thing about this fantasy, though, is that while I can implement it to a degree in my life, I can't do anything about anyone else and it's their frenzy that wears me out. Traffic on the freeway near the Mall of America is horrendous and leaves me stressed. I can't imagine what the atmosphere is like inside the mall. It's all about consumerism and we've lost the holiday and the joy that we should be seeking rather than presents, presents, and more presents.

Or maybe I'm the only one who feels this way.

I used to love Christmas, but now I'm finding myself more and more often thinking, Bah, humbug because of what we've turned this holiday into. Of course, your mileage may vary.