Michelle and I had an interesting conversation last Sunday. We brainstormed about blog post topics for Christmas week. I’d just finished the Christmas day post (Just Like the Ones We Used to Know) in which I mentioned the common tendency of radio audiences to barely tolerate Christmas music.
I’ve noticed that it’s fairly common that radio audiences seem to expect that Christmas music stop on their radio stations at noon on Christmas day. Michelle suggested I write about this. I dismissed it, saying that this isn’t a problem for us, because we rarely rely on others to provide our Christmas music. On Christmas day, and throughout our Christmas season, which runs from the day after Thanksgiving until Twelfth Night, January 6th we largely play our own CDs, setting our own soundtrack of our celebration. Restrictions on the amount, timing, and quality of seasonal music on our local radio station, or any other we might pull in via shortwave, AM band signal skips, or the Internet, have little influence on us.
Michelle calmly pointed out that this proved her point: we are self-reliant when it comes to Christmas entertainment. And, as usual, she’s absolutely right.
We both grew up on homemade, family centered entertainment. Christmas activities for us have always been more focused on family games, assembling puzzles, reading aloud, and helping create holidays meals and treats (“helping” may not be the correct word here—see Christmas Larceny and Deceit: A Memory of Mom). Our expectations for the season, shaped when we were children, are ideally suited to our current lifestyle, particularly since Christmas week sometimes brings weather that lowers our power capacity (see Christmas, Mother Night, and a Period of Low Power). To us, cards or dominoes by candle-and oil lamp light feels especially right at Christmas time.
When it comes to Christmas movies and seasonal television specials, we have our DVDs, and can schedule them as convenient. Thank goodness! When we visited family for Thanksgiving, we learned, incidentally, that our beloved Rankin/Bass production of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer had aired the week before Thanksgiving! This may mean missing out on first airings, or movie premieres, but by the time the ones we want to see come out on DVD, we can fit them into our schedule, rather than work around their scheduled appearance.
So often, our society seems to focus on disappointment at Christmas time. We find that our holidays offer far less disappointment when we take responsibility for our own entertainment. This applies to our lifestyle throughout the year as well.