Monday, December 11, 2006

Almost in the spirit

I've been pretty "Bah! Humbug!" about Christmas this year. Not that I was Mr. Reindeer and Mistletoe in previous years.

My parents' decision not to put up a Christmas tree for the past 10-12 years has been passed onto me. My last apartment was tree, wreath, and light free. In previous living situations, roommates always handled that mess. Now that I'm back home again, there's virtually no sign of the holidays, other than the pile of Christmas cards on the dining room table I should really work on. And since I'm visiting my sister in South Carolina this year, I really don't see that changing over the next two weeks.

I'm sure a lot of it has to do with an awful Thanksgiving. (Blogging about it has been withheld to protect the innocent and ashamed.) But other than a brief tingle in my chest while doing some holiday shopping, I haven't felt much Christmas spirit. At least until this weekend.

I hate Christmas music. Beat that little drummer boy on the head. How about truly making it a "silent night" and not singing? Nothing would compel me to rethink my stance on gun control like a group of carolers showing up on my doorstep.

And I will never, ever abide by radio stations that change their entire format to Christmas music the day after Halloween. (You might be able to convince me that it would be okay after Thanksgiving. I still wouldn't listen, but it wouldn't be quite as unbearable.) That $#!+ almost completely derailed me in school at Iowa. I found one station I liked and then it stuck knitting needles in my ears for the last two months of the semester.

However, there's one song that always gets me around this time of year. If I don't hear it (and there have been a couple of years where that happened), it doesn't feel like Christmas time. But this year should be okay, now that I finally heard Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" at an area cafe.

(Circa 1975, according to the only guy I'd ever ask about Springsteen stuff. Rob has something Bruce-related on his blog today, in fact.)

As soon as I hear those sleigh bells, the accompanying piano, and Santa "ho-ho-ho'ing," I perk up. Very Pavlovian. Every time Bruce asks the crowd if they've been good, I chuckle along with him when not many people clap. ("That's not many...") And when he asks Clarence Clemons if Santa's going to bring him a new saxophone, I instinctively smile.

Yeah, I know I'd probably hear it frequently if I listened to a classic rock station, but I don't do that. But c'mon - it wouldn't hold nearly the same power for me if I heard it once a day over a six-week span. And it certainly wouldn't ignite the twinkle of Christmas spirit I have right now.