First off--has anyone done any real investigation of the popular wisdom that the Christmas season (at least from retailers, radio stations, etc.) "starts earlier every year"? I'm just not buying it. I'm sure it's changed if you go back a generation, but Christmas products in stores soon after Halloween (or often before)--that's been around as long as I can remember. Yet every year people act shocked, SHOCKED, that Christmas stuff shows up well before Thanksgiving. I wrote a paper in 8th grade where I actually spoke to people at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target and maybe the mall in town (this was in central Iowa). I believe Target said they put out holiday products in September. (Yes, I know that's anecdotal evidence, to put it mildly...) The earliest I saw this year--the Family Dollar store very near me in Chicago started stocking Christmas products the last day of summer. (I was in the same store the day earlier.) But I'm pretty sure I saw it that early as a kid, too. So, I'd love to see a story on "The Myth of 'Christmas Creep.'" I might not be the one to write it, but expect this little rant again next year. (I'm not saying I'm OKAY with stores doing this; I'd prefer seeing much less Christmas stuff, and not till Thanksgiving; I'm just saying I think it's been a problem for a long time, not getting worse all the time.)
The "War Against Christmas?" That's not even worth the space to refute...but, I grew up Christian in an overwhelmingly Christian town saying "Happy Holidays" (or at least sending cards that said that) because I took the phrase to mean "Merry Christmas"/"Happy Hanukkah" AND "Happy New Year" (and I was often a little late with my cards). I don't remember anyone freaking out about it then. Shakesville had a lively piece on the War on the War on Christmas, and an awfully strange reaction to the "war," Deck the Cross.
look, "Happy Holidays" in the title of a 1950s Christmas cookbook! does Fox News know about this?!
On another note...10 Things I Hate About Christmas, at Jezebel, is a reasonable, and entertaining, list, but...there's so much contrarian/curmudgeonly stuff out there about Christmas, I want to be a counter-contrarian (er, possibly not a word) and say: dammit, I LIKE cheesy Christmas music! I've been listening to the lite station since they switched to all-Christmas music, before Thanksgiving. (I wish they didn't end it right at midnight on Christmas; it should at least go another few hours...) I've grown to tolerate or like many of the songs I used to hate ("Santa Baby," even "Wonderful Christmastime," but there's no question that "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a really disturbing song). And I love eggnog! Or at least Silk soy versions or the regular kind diluted with milk. And I even love fruitcake--or at least our family recipe for it, which is lemony and slightly boozy and delicious. I keep meaning to make it myself someday; I think I bought the lemon extract and candied fruits oh, 5 years or so ago and they're probably still in the pantry. I'll make the family recipe, I'll try to make a vegan version of the family recipe, I'll try a different recipe for comparison, and I'll write a "Fruitcake Isn't that Bad" post. (I'm sure some foodie blogs and magazines have already done stories like that...)
that's "Fluffy Fig Pudding," which may or may not be that bad
(more holiday cookbooks of decades past from my collection)
More reading: the excellent blog Sociological Images had Fun with the 2009 Target Catalog and looked at Gendered Gifts Galore, as well as Santa's Evil Side Kick, Krampus. The Sexist reports on a story on different stereotypes of unhappy women at Christmastime.
Now, I'm off to play my "A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector" CD yet again, which, if last year is any indication, I'll be listening to every day well into January...