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The Great Carols Conflict

This post appears out of order–it should have hit the net before the last post, but I’m apparently not clever enough to handle complex things like calendars.  I trust that you all are smart enough to figure it out, so here you go

My wife has a little less Christmas spirit than I do. More specifically: she’s sane. I am not.

While we both object to the ridiculous hastening of Christmas marketing–some national retailers were stocking Holiday displays in mid-October this year,– including the appearance of Christmas paraphernalia on store shelves, and Christmas commercials on TV and radio before we even carve our Jack-O-Lanterns, there is a small, silent part of me that responds to the commercial propaganda with an irresistible anticipation. My wife wants nothing to do with anything Christmas-related before about Dec 20. When Christmas carols begin warbling from the radio in mid-November she has been known to glower and mumble irritably.

My personal rules exclude carols from regular rotation until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (unless she awakes in a bad mood) because I recall fond memories of my mother rushing about wildly trying to catch up on all the holiday chores she let go until the very last minute while a succession of vinyl LPs blared Andy Williams, Steve & Edie, Bing Crosby and dozens of others on the old General Electric stereo—the fancy kind with the device on the center that let us pile on up to seven records that played one side of each in succession, after which the entire stack was flipped to play the b-sides inrecord player reverse order. That was the day, as a child, that I knew with certainty that Christmas was, at last, on the horizon—and possibly why we celebrate the holidays here from around November 25 until Twelfth Night.

We listen with some respect to my wife’s sensibility now—and it isn’t until the day after Thanksgiving, the dreaded Black Friday, that I generally  let the music fly.  Traditionally, the first Carol of the year is Steve & Edie’s Sleigh Ride,

followed by The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York—not spiritual tunes, but songs of joy, festivity, celebration, love, dreams, hopes, regrets and so many of the varied emotions that flood our hearts at this time of year.  My favorite Christmas carol pun, always sure to coax a few groans from the crowd: “Steve and Edie sleigh me.”  Get it?

I have about 40 Christmas recordings on CD dozens more on vinyl , and a growing variety of MP3 recordings– so many that some are barely played while others seem to invariably be called up again and again. Posts about my favorite Christmas albums are in the near future, so I won’t spoil that here, but for 5 weeks everyone around me is subjected to swing-heavy barrage of seasonal cheer. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the assault is relentless, but also cheerful and more than a little nostalgic.