My iconoclastic Christmas

A couple years ago, a very good friend of mine, someone who has known me for decades, said I was an iconoclast. I suppose that’s true; other people have said over the years that I march to the beat of a different drummer.

Most people listen to “Christmas music” between Thanksgiving (or earlier) and Christmas. Not another note after that, because the tree has already been literally thrown to the curb. I put “Christmas music” in quotes because so much of it has nothing to do with Christmas. Certainly all the secular songs about Santa and reindeer are about Christmas. And some of the religious stuff, though, since we are in Advent, not Christmastime, you may not have noticed here are more about the baby having been born than anticipation of the event.

(One of my favorite podcasters mused whether River by Joni Mitchell is a Christmas song. I say: absolutely. It speaks of cutting down trees, and reindeer; it may express ANXIETY over the holiday – they’ve made whole movies about THAT – but it’s no less applicable.)

Then there are those songs that just have to do with cold weather. Now these have NOTHING to do with Christmas whatsoever: Jingle Bells, upon which River is based; Jingle Bell Rock; Frosty the Snowman; Winter Wonderland; and especially Baby, It’s Cold Outside. But try playing Sleigh Ride or Let It Snow in early February; people would think you are crazy.

I tolerate listening to the music starting on November 22, which is the earliest date Thanksgiving can occur – it was on November 28 this year, the latest it can take place. But I don’t start playing tunes until December 6, recognizing some European tradition, and don’t stop until January 6, at the end of the 12 days of Christmas. Hope that doesn’t weird you out.
The American Family Association’s Naughty Or Nice List And The Vapidity Of The ‘War On Christmas’

5 thoughts on “My iconoclastic Christmas”

  1. I extend Christmas to Epiphany every years! Not one decoration comes down before January 6th. We also have the tradition of keeping one gift back for Epiphany. If I get the urge to listen to Christmas muzak before Thanksgiving, I usually listen to Bob Rivers Twisted Christmas tunes. 🙂


  2. I tend to agree with the extension of Christmas to Epiphany. That’s how people used to do it. The Twelve Days of Christmas and Twelfth Night and all that….It makes me sad to see it seemingly declared “old hat” on the 26th and pushed aside for another year.

    I listen to mostly classical stuff at work and a lot of the classical pieces my Pandora station has been serving up are as much Advent as they are Christmas. (Lo, How a Rose E’Er Blooming; Of the Father’s Love Begotten, and so on)


  3. Yep, Christmas has 12 days! My sister’s BD is on the Epiphany.

    As for Christmas music, when asked the Top Ten Christmas Songs, the only one that came CLOSE was “Little Drummer Boy,” and that’s not even historically accurate.

    We play carols the week before Christmas (also the day we trim the tree, earlier in the month) and the 12 days of the season. The only non-Christian themes are found on three fave CDs: The Andrews Sisters Christmas, Bare Naked Ladies (lots of Hanukkah songs, too), and Phil Spector’s Christmas album from years ago.

    I love this season, but truth be told, I’m more of a Lent/Easter person than an Advent/Christmas person. I’m proud that I raised a baptised Irish Jew on a non-commercial Christmas and Hanukkah as well. She always wanted books! Smarty. Love your post, Roger. Amy


  4. I was allowed to start playing our Christmas records on Thanksgiving day, but I don’t remember when the end date was (though my mother didn’t take down the tree until January 6). Nowadays, all my Christmas music is digital, and I have to remember to re-set iTunes to allow it to play Christmas music, since I have them turned off most of the year. I’m not always successful.


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