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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Signs of December

Fall classes ended Friday.  Students are frantically trying to absorb a semester's worth of information, and professors are frantically trying to come up with an appropriately diabolical fact pattern that will test in a single question each element of a course that fills 1500 casebook pages.  Temperatures dropped about 35 degrees in a few hours.  Yes, December is upon us.  The Diminos are getting into the festive spirit, and I thought I'd note a few of the traditions of the season that helped alert me that it's almost Christmas.
My first clue was the repitition in commercials that the advertised product "makes a great gift."  The frequency of these appeals is increasing, but I noticed them several weeks ago, not coincidentally during programming my children were watching.  More pleasantly, music in a department store where I happened to be shopping in mid-November proclaimed the start of the holiday shopping season.  I thought there was an unofficial embargo on Christmas/winter seasonal music until the day after Thanksgiving, but apparently Filene's Basement didn't read the unwritten rule.  Hearing these songs brings to mind nice memories, and puts me in a swell mood, at least for the first couple weeks.  I'm hoping that on the 25th I will be as happy to hear the Muppets sing A Partridge in a Pear Tree as I am now ("Five mm-goooold rings, Ba-dum-bum-bum"), but I'm not counting on it.  The music is especially nice for me, as Christmastime is the one point in the year where a substantial number of people in my generation like the style of music that I like at other times of the year.  I know there have been remakes of classic songs forever, and I know that today there are artists that come out with "new" Christmas songs every year.  Yet, few of these songs put me in the spirit of the season the way Bing Crosby's White Christmas, Andy Williams's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and the crooning of Dean Martin, Perry Como, and Frank Sinatra do.

We put up our tree this weekend and I was treated to the perennial treat of imagining oneself in the scenes of Christmas Vacation. My wife hands me the knotted mass of lights, and we all speculate as to who broke into our attic during the summer to knot them and torment us.  You get the picture.  And then there's the scene that flashes through my mind of Gerald Ford (Chevy Chase) on Saturday Night Live tumbling off his ladder as he attempts to decorate the tree.
No major disasters yet in this year's Christmas preparations, and it is truly wonderful to see my two sons, ages 6 and 4, excited about decorating, wrapping presents, etc.  I have my doubts about this Santa thing, though.  My son says the other day, "Since Santa is going to get me that baseball jersey, you and Mom can get me this other one."

Posted by Michael Dimino on December 3, 2006 at 07:23 PM in Culture | Permalink


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I didn't work in retail, but I had a similar experience when I was a D.J. We played the same commercials day in and day out for months, and you're right about the phychological effect.

Posted by: Mike Dimino | Dec 3, 2006 9:21:27 PM

I'd guess you've never worked a retail job where you have to hear this music, usually from Nov. 1st now, non-stop through christmast. Hearing that god-damned little drumber boy song 8 or 9 times a day is enough to make you want to stab a pencil in your ear.

Posted by: Matt | Dec 3, 2006 8:56:56 PM

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