Saturday, November 10, 2012

This Open Letter to Christmas Music

Dear Christmas Music,

I don't hate you. I want you to realize that this isn't personal. You are not the problem. (To be fair, sometimes you're the problem, but only when you're Christmas Shoes.) My problem is with stores that play you too early, and they are making me not like you. It's their fault, not yours.

You must understand, I like hearing Christmas music in December. It's a staple of the season, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My wife and I have a tradition every Christmas Day. We put on John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together, one of the greatest Christmas albums of all time. I've been listening to that album since I can remember, and I will keep listening to it every Christmas I'm around.

But did you notice what I said. I mentioned that I like hearing Christmas music in December. Because that's when Christmas music is supposed to blare from store speakers. The proper time for Christmas music is the day after Thanksgiving through December 25th. That is the acceptable time period to play Christmas music. Unfortunately, it seems too many stores are breaking the rules.

I went to a store today and I heard Christmas music. It's still early November and already there's Christmas music. Some stores begin in October. Now, I understand that Christmas is a big holiday for consumers, but do we really need a two month lead-time for it? Don't you think that we should celebrate all the other holidays first?

Halloween and Thanksgiving deserve their time in the sun, too. (Well, Halloween prefers the light of the full moon because it's gothy like that, but you get my point.) The last three months of the year are the trifecta of awesome holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Each one is fun in its own way, and we should have equal time to think about them.

What usually happens, though, is that Thanksgiving gets squeezed out like the proverbial middle child. It's hard to ignore Halloween because of its distinctive decorations and festive attire. Christmas is, of course, a holiday juggernaut. But Thanksgiving is just as important. It has it's own Charlie Brown special and has given us many a classic television episode. It's the day families gather together under one roof and remember why they gather together under one roof once a year.

This is why Thanksgiving needs space to breathe. It shouldn't be competing with Christmas, because it's supposed to be the holiday that kicks off the Christmas season. After all, why do you think Santa appears at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade? We celebrate Thanksgiving in all it's glory, and then we get to have the yearly realization that Christmas is right around the corner. One holiday seamlessly transitions into the other, and it's a divine moment. We realize, once more, that the holiday hasn't ended, the Holidays are just beginning.

This is why Christmas music should not start up until the Friday after Thanksgiving. We need to respect the proper order of things, because to do otherwise robs us of the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It's more than just turkey comas and football games, it's about being thankful and appreciating your family. It's about counting your blessings and realizing that no matter what happened this past year, there's still so much to be thankful for.

That's the attitude we need when we plunge headlong into Christmas. Christmas is more than just a time for getting as much loot as possible, more than prying every last cent out of the hands of shoppers, it's about celebrating Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Man. Remembering that God loves us so we should go out and love others. It's about making sure that the true spirit of the season is not overshadowed by naked consumerism, that we reach out in love to everyone who needs it that season. That's the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown.

Which is why I am annoyed when stores play Christmas music early. It makes us sick of the holiday, sick of Christmas, and we spend the season thinking Ebeneezer Scrooge had the right idea after all.

So you see, Christmas music, it isn't you. You are awesome, whether you're sung by Bing Crosby or Twisted Sister. It's the fact that you are being misused and abused, and I'm not happy about it.

Seeing you the day after Thanksgiving, and not before,

Charles B. French

More Open Letters

No comments:

Post a Comment