Notes on Christmas, Part 1
On the Phrase “Merry Christmas”
I was at a restaurant the other day and I noticed a seasonal painting on the window. There was a snowman, some kids sledding, snowflakes, and gigantic letters spelling out the word “Winter.” I am not a Christian, Christ has nothing to do with my holiday season, so theoretically I should have been happy that the restaurant chose not to alienate people like me (and people of other religions) by having the word Christ (in the form of “Merry Christmas”) writ large on their window. Really, though, I saw the huge “Winter” and thought “This is ludicrous.” Winter? I mean, come on, Winter? Is that an announcement? Are you telling me what season it is? I actually kind of already knew. Or maybe it’s a command – “Hey, you! You better go winter!” “Ok, ok, I’m wintering! I’ve got my toque and mitts, what more do you want?” I kid, I kid. I just think sometimes that businesses go so far out of their way to be non-offensive that they end up looking pretty ridiculous. You know what? I’m an atheist and I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with the word Christmas. None. You can wish me a merry one, send me a card with best wishes for a happy one, or acknowledge on your storefront the fact that it is indeed that time of year. I’m alright with that. Of course, Happy Holidays works too.
On Christmas Music
I don’t understand why every celebrity (whether their fame is for music or not) has to come out with a Christmas album. It’s like it is part of their contracts “If we sign you to be on this reality tv show about living in an LA mansion with The Muppets, you have to agree that sometime in the next five years you will release a Christmas album with covers of the standards we all know and love, and a new song called “It’s a Muppet time of year.” “Well, ok, as long as I can have a children’s choir for a couple of songs, and an ensemble song with the actors in your other reality shows: “How Many Five-Year Olds Can You Take in a Fight,” “Who Wants to Marry a Man of Unknown Ethnic Heritage,” “What Are You Wearing (to The House of Commons,” and “Extreeeeeeeeme Pet Makeover: Goldfish Edition.”
Why aren’t the classics enough? I know I sure get sick of hearing the same songs over and over again, but if I do have to listen to “White Christmas,” I would much rather it be Bing Crosby singing it than Jessica Simpson. At a party I was at last night, the host was playing an online radio station of 24-hour Christmas music, and the guests were playing a game of “Guess which boy band this is!” One particular song had us all stumped: is it N’Sync? 98 Degrees? Boyz 2 Men? Boyzone? “Backstreet Boys? It turned out to be Micheal Bolton. Ouch.