Every year Fox News and other conservative media types get their Christmas stockings all balled up over the “War on Christmas” that liberals are supposedly waging — evidenced by sporadic protests and objections to displays of “manger” scenes and the like on government-owned properties, violating the principle of separation of church and state.
Yet somehow Christmas endures. I think that’s probably because there isn’t, hasn’t been, and never will be, a “war on Christmas;” not even by the protesters who just don’t want government publicly favoring one religion over another with taxpayer dollars.
However, I think there would be a lot more support if we could declare a war on Christmas music.
Each year, the day after Thanksgiving is the start of a veritable non-stop blitz-Kringle of Christmas music in malls, shopping centers and retail stores around the country. It’s like the Christmas music army invaded and jazz, rap, rock, r&b, country and pop surrendered without a shot.
“Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph,” “Frosty,” Bing Crosby singing about a “White Christmas,” Nat King Cole waxing nostalgic for “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” and that stuff about partridges in a pear tree — I’m all for “peace on Earth, good will towards men,” and all that, but my ears are under siege and held captive for an entire month every time I step into a store.
I’m not being a Scrooge and saying no holiday music. But why for a month? It’s almost like Santa Claus officially comes to town at the close of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and issues a fiat declaring that retail shops shall play nothing but treacly Christmas music until the Big Day, or else Santa won’t bring them a black bottom line.
Speaking of which, retail behemoths like Macy’s, Sear’s, Target, etc. aren’t stupid. They’re not just playing these same tunes around-the-clock because their employees are demanding it. They must know something. I’m suspecting marketing studies exist showing that Christmas music subliminally piques consumer gift-giving impulses so they spend more. Which means that “Silent Night” and the “Little Drummer Boy” are not making us feel spiritual as much as igniting Pavlovian responses in us to pile more debt onto the Visa card.
This Christmas music invasion is not going in the right direction, either. This year I was sitting in a Starbuck’s the day after Halloween — Halloween! — and some idiot employee put on the Christmas mixtape.
That’s why I think it’s time for, if not a war, at least a little pushback on this month-long music marathon of “nuthin’ but holiday cheer.” Make it two weeks. You can also have Black Friday. And how about alternating half an hour of this stuff with half an hour of real music, if for no other reason than the sanity of the employees?
I’m not holding my breath. Every year it’s as if Santa rides into town towing behind him “Christmas’ Greatest Hits” and beneath his ho-ho-ho’s, exclaims “Veni, vidi,vici.”