A news report covered locals polled on their thoughts about all-Christmas music radio schedules started early in November. Most people felt that it was simply too soon for Christmas music and would appreciate it more following Thanksgiving. I found myself agreeing, already having my two favorite stations jingling all the way before Halloween costumes were packed away good. But my opinion has changed.
Maybe we don’t have to reject Christmas music because thankfulness is too difficult a theme for us capitalists to convert—and since Thanksgiving presents none of the flare and seasonal accoutrement Christmas does. Perhaps we have been blinded by the overwhelming commercialism of Christmas and do not notice that we love about Thanksgiving the same things we enjoy about Christmas yet don’t celebrate but for a day.
The Power of a Wish
When I consider these conjoined holidays, something like a domino effect occurs in my thoughts. I think of a wish, in all its magical wonder and good fortune, with the power to cram a tike’s toy list as well as a heart hoping for a soldier’s return. A wish tends toward indulgence, of heart and mind, and sets the imagination free to run—How nice it would be to have snow. How cool it will be to see auntie. How healing reconciliation could be.
Every now and then a catharsis of unrestrained delight, if only wishful thinking, becomes essential to well-being. Sweets are so commonly a way we tangibly make this point. Whether it is the pumpkin pie we overeat at Thanksgiving or the simple proof that we often make our most uninhibited wishes over ornately beautiful cakes, we cannot get around the deeper fact that we crave a certain kind of significance and playfulness that measures in more spiritually appeasing ways than the dollars we earn and the possessions we accumulate.
Snow. Family. Friends. Food. Fun. Laughter. ‘Tis the season to go crazy wishing upon every star to be found because it is the only one in which we feel it safe enough to indulge the guiltless pleasures that do the most for us, which is humanize us. And opposite any religious significance we choose or do not choose to draw from the season, it is the spirit of this time that enthusiastically lends itself to being repeated any other time of the year.
Until There’s Thanksgiving Music…
Thus, we get lighthearted when Christmas music plays because it encapsulates everything we cherish about both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It open-handedly offers us those missing spiritual elements we’ve longed for all year and wrests us free from the grind of making lives for ourselves to simply enjoying those lives for once.
Christmas music is a gladdening music that sadly gets squeezed into a corner of the year. I get why people spurn its play in November, but to dissociate the themes in the music from Thanksgiving may be a false dichotomy because thankfulness is the touchstone of both holidays.
So that’s why I’m already listening. I can’t help myself.