9 ways to make the holidays better

Over the years I’ve developed a set of rules about Christmas. Some are personal and some are in Congress awaiting some one who cares. Many were developed from my days in radio. As a disc jockey, I played “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” by request at least twice a shift from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. It still drones on in my head during the holiday season like an ear chigger.

Thusly, I formed my own holiday rules. These are intended to enlighten the masses about the true reason for the season.

1. Never ever play Christmas music before Thanksgiving.

There’s a limited window for Christmas songs. Ideally, it should be confined to the month of December, but Thanksgiving’s screwy schedule and the four-day weekend usually creates an opportunity for family tree-decorating gatherings. Christmas music should be outlawed after New Year’s Day. Those who wish may apply for a special permit to play Christmas music during decoration dismantling.

2. Christmas decorations should be locked in a special vault that only opens after the Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving always seems to get short shrift because EVERYONE wants Christmas. Granted, as holidays go, Thanksgiving doesn’t have a gobbler’s chance of topping it, but stretching Christmas to two months hollows its spiritual lift. Heck, my birthday barely gets noticed. When all is said and done Jesus, who appears to be somewhat modest about his status, is probably a little annoyed at the pomp and circumstance surrounding his birth.

3. There is no such thing as a combination hair and body wash.

You’re right. This has nothing to do with Christmas but the truth knows no season!

4. Jingle bells should be found in all holiday songs … even the slow ones.

Of course, I’m talking about the musical instrument, not the song. This is a bell’s time of the year. What would “Sleigh Ride” be without jingle bells and the slap stick? On the reverse side, any non-holiday music using jingle bells is automatically Christmas music for me.

5. Not all songs that have Christmas in them are Christmas songs.

This is a case-by-case basis and really is not a hard and fast rule, but musicians should take notice that just because a song contains a reference to Christmas doesn’t make it the new seasonal favorite. This is a rookie mistake made by many artists on their first commercial Christmas release. They try to add a few non-holiday treats to be different or to give the fans something new.
New holiday classics are acceptable, but lyrics must focus on the Christmas season. Songs that mention Christmas lights but are specifically speaking about a romantic breakup are ill-advised. Stick with Rudolph.

6. Songs about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day do not qualify as Christmas music.

The only good one is “Feliz Navidad” and that’s because 75 percent of the lyrics are Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas.

7. X-mas is an acceptable abbreviation.

This is one I’ve changed my mind about over the years. I always used to write out C-H-R-I-S-T-mas because I thought it disrespectful or too secular to put an X where Christ marks the spot. I was wrong. I discovered that “X” is Greek for Christ. So it’s all good.

8. Presents decked out in ribbons and bows must be under the tree for two weeks or more.

Otherwise it’s wasteful. This rule is a combination of frugality and laziness. I was never one for wrapping gifts very well. I got to a point where I gave up and just started wrapping gifts in whatever I could find that resembled festive i.e. newspapers (with color printing!), bills, catalogs, garbage bags, and more.

I went through a period where I put all my Christmas gifts in pizza boxes. They were unused pizza boxes, for the record. This kept the DVDs and CDs a mystery until the package was opened. My mom would decorate my early presents with several festive ribbons and bows. She’d use lots of glitter and manufacture origami elves and Santa figures. It was almost a shame to tear it open, but that didn’t stop me. I would tear into the presents, figures flying and all. I think she stopped doing it to save her sanity and to reduce the number of objects flying through the air.

9. Finally, I wish you and yours, a Merry Merry Christmas!

The thing about Christmas is Love. So enjoy your family and friends. Love those who are less fortunate and take stock of all the blessings you have during this glorious holiday because January can get a little gloomy around here.Merry, Merry!

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