Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Music

There is the bag of music that exists in my mind as Christmas Music. All the turns run together, some more frequently than others, in a big lump, like a ball of yarn:
Oh Little Town of Three Kings Roasting Frosty the Red-Nosed White Christmas Wonderland Deck the Halls Silent Night Feliz Merry Gentlemen Hark the Messiah Favorite Things Joy to the World.
What’s interesting is that it’s a fairly closed group of tunes and, for the most part, it only floats through my mind during the Christmas season. If for whatever reason one of these tunes should occur to me at some other time of year, then the rest will come trailing along. You pull on one thread from the ball, and you get all the yarn.

The seasonal nature of the music, of course, is not something I’ve invented. It’s a fact of life in America, and has been for some time. Not so long after Thanksgiving those songs start showing up on the radio, on television, and on the streets. And they attract near everything into the same ball of seasonal yarn.

There’s nothing else quite so, so pervasive. There are other holidays, ones important enough to get a day or two off from work: Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, Easter, and so forth. But Christmas is the only one that’s so pervasive.

I suppose that’s because it somehow – there’s a history here and I’m sure you can find it on the web – tied up with gift giving. If you’re going to give gifts, then you have to have gifts to give. Most likely you’ll purchase those gifts. So Christmas is good for business.

It’s the only holiday like that. And so it gets a bad rap for being commercialized. It’s not a real holiday. It’s a fake holiday captive capitalist greed and graft. The complaints too are now traditional. It’s part of the same ball of yarn. And why not?

It’s that time of year. In a few days we’ll all pull on the yarn and then ball will unravel. Relax. Because on January 1st you’re going to start gathering it up again.

Round and round and round.

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