Friday, December 25, 2009

ideas for a future Christmas/holiday post

Well, first off, Merry (what's left of) Christmas to those who celebrate. Hope all my readers (spammers who seem to be the only recent commenters here excepted) are having a great holiday season. I finally got back into blogging via my sports blog a little chippy but haven't transferred all that energy over here yet, so I missed out on the pre-Christmas posts I'd wanted, but I can throw a few ideas out here for the future and hope no one outright steals them...

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 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...


Swanksalot said...

I'm only going to say one thing: wish that teleportation was real because I'd like to be able to pop in and visit with my family for a few hours without having to actually, you know, travel.

Austin is about 2:30 away, by air, not including all the crap that air travel entails; how far away is Iowa?

k of c said...

As you can tell from my Flickr photos, I don't mind lots of long bus/train rides, but yeah, travel can be a hassle...I don't enjoy getting to/from Greyhound, which is currently the only way I have to get to central Iowa. It's about 8 hours on the bus to there, so I guess it's an hour or two less to drive.

Thanks for commenting, even if you're not here to also defend fruitcake, heh.

Whetstone said...

I'm relieved to know that I'm not the only person who finds "Baby It's Cold Outside" really creepy.

The only thing that makes me think otherwise is when the "mouse" (ick) sings "At least I’m gonna say that I tried." So maybe it's less rapey than it is about the difficulties of hooking up when hooking up when hooking up was scandalous (for women).

k of c said...

Yes, I think the song could be interpreted in a pre-"sexual revolution" way, too. The line that really stands out, though, is "Say, what's in this drink?" Yikes.

I wonder if anyone's made an updated version of this song (with new lyrics, I mean; I know it's been recorded in recent years.)

Lee said...

Glad to hear there's another fan of "A Christmas Gift For You" -- I believe it is an incontestable fact that "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is the greatest Christmas song ever. And you are so right about "Baby It's Cold Outside."