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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Come, They Told Me

THANKSGIVING SEEMS MORE AND MORE subsumed into the Christmas frenzy, if the displays of lights in my neighborhood are any sign. Not all waited until Friday to flip the switch, although the blow-up Santas didn’t start billowing until this week.

Artie Shaw
Visually startling though some of these buildings and lawns may be, they don’t provoke anything approaching the trauma that hits me when the Christmas Muzak comes to town. It used to ease into our ears, with one such song only once in a while as December began. Thirty-some years ago I worked for an AM daytimer, a low-watt radio station that played big bands and jazz, and the general manager gave me a formula for slipstreaming in the holiday juice: “First week of the month, one song out of every four. Second week: double that. Don’t make it all Christmas music till a week before.”

Would that were still the case. From gas station to coffee shop to shopping mall, we’ll be hearing the angels on high non-stop from now. Perhaps this has helped fuel my Christmas retreat, as my wife and I haven’t bought (or stolen) a tree these past couple of years, and we celebrated last Christmas in the Jewish style, with dinner at a Chinese restaurant, which we plan to do again in a scant few weeks.

Let me harken (or herald) some previous thoughts on the matter: There’s this piece, a fuller look at my relationship with the end-of-year music, and this piece, in which I found more to gripe on pretty much the same topic. You’re welcome to listen to whatever you wish, but I prefer to exercise choice and attention. Which probably means I’ll be spending the holiday with the likes of Artie Shaw.

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