11/19/19: DONE TOO EARLY – OUR YULETIDE PERIL W/ AL PITRELLI AND DR. DEMENTO
DONE TOO EARLY
OUR YULETIDE PERIL
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
Like it or not, the holidays are coming and Thanksgiving the forgotten Holiday is coming a little later than normal but no worries we will have plenty of things to remind us that we have Christmas to look forward to.
Namely, Christmas music – I’d like to think that every time a Christmas song is played before Thanksgiving Santa executes an elf.
For some people, Christmas music is the embodiment of the holiday spirit; it signals the beginning of the Winter season. As Buddy, the Elf once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” For some, however, Christmas music has been so overplayed that it has become more of a nuisance than a joy.
After Halloween, many stores start shelving their holiday decorations, foods, and other miscellaneous items, although some begin stocking even earlier. This phenomenon is referred to as ‘Christmas Creep.”
Just before Halloween, I was in a store—can’t remember which one and I heard a song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I was their version of the “Carol of the Bells.” I made a comment that having a Christmas song playing this early in a store was too much.
The only saving grace was that the song was from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra who have mastered the art of taking Christmas songs and mixing them with rock guitars, woodwinds, and timber.
When I first heard their take on Christmas music I was quite impressed and bought a CD when I first heard them and started playing their arrangements in my Christmas shows.
But that was a long time ago – they have been a Christmas staple for over 20 years and they have actually made the overplaying of Christmas music bearable.
I don’t know if anyone knows this but they are one of the biggest live Rock and Roll music draws in the United States and they only tour seven weeks a year.
From mid-November through late December, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs to approximately a million fans, selling out arenas from coast to coast with a Yuletide-themed show that mixes rock, classical and theater with a state-of-the-art production featuring dazzling lasers, extensive pyrotechnics and a stage that literally transforms before your eyes.
After seeing them for the first time I compared the experience to a Kiss Concert – calling them The Trans Siberian KISSmas band.
I commented to Ron Patton, my producer that I was thinking about doing a show featuring Thanksgiving tunes just to give a metaphoric finger to the system that churns out Christmas songs too early.
However, the only song I could think of was Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie and that is an 18 minute song – I am sure that wouldn’t go over well with people who want to hear a talk show.
There is a Brandon Hath Song called The Day After Thanksgiving – and Adam Sadler sang his Turkey for You and Turkey for Me on Saturday Night Live.
So while in a brainstorming session I said that maybe we could do sort of a send-up of how annoying the Christmas season is before Thanksgiving.
Now I know the irony is that I have decided to talk about the overzealous Christmas cargo cult a week before Thanksgiving but I told my staff that this show would be an epic rerun on Black Friday if we pulled it off.
I originally did not want to give my staff Black Friday off; again, because I am “Bah Humbug” when it comes to bringing in Christmas too damn early to our yuletide peril.
We all agreed that Christmas music before Halloween is simply wrong – just like heavy snow and super cold weather in the Midwest before the first day of Winter.
I mean, they skip over Halloween, Thanksgiving and other national holidays just to go straight to Christmas. It’s getting so ridiculous. Christmas comes only once a year and it apparently comes too soon.
In fact, I was asked the other day what are my plans for the New Year and I replied I don’t know what are your plans for 2021?
When you are a child Christmas does not come fast enough when you are older it represents the coming and goi9ng of another year and before you know it there is another radio station sticking in their yuletide favorites before the frost licks the pumpkin.
Many sources have been posting about how getting into the Christmas spirit early is actually good for your mental health and those people are often happier! This is because anything Christmas-related often invokes feelings of nostalgia and happy childhood memories.
Well, now some psychologists are saying that listening to Christmas music too soon is actually bad for your health.
When the clock strikes midnight on Oct. 31, it turns into the holiday season. Though holiday cheer and merriment may seem like a good thing, you may want to hold off on the eggnog and Christmas carols. As it turns out, celebrating the holidays too early may actually be bad for your health.
A psychologist named Linda Blair claims that playing holiday music too early makes some people feel trapped psychologically.
It’s a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater to people, and organize celebrations. It can become stressful because we also need to organize family planning for Thanksgiving as well and for some, it is too much and having a Christmas reminder that happens too soon can trigger depression or worse.
And beyond the personal blows, our addiction to Yuletide tracks serves retailers, who make a small fortune off of our holiday anxiety, blasting “Jingle Bells” on a loop starting November 1.
A recent Tampa Bay Times report took a look into big-budget department stores taking advantage of our year-round hankering for carols, declaring Best Buy the worst offender, where Christmas music starts looping a full two months before the actual holiday arrives. Sears and Kmart are no better, hanging mistletoe and kicking off their Christmas push months before Black Friday.
For many people who are unaware, this is called a “Christmas Creep.” It used to be frowned upon in the 1980s until the internet came along and brick and mortar businesses were hurting financially.
Then the Christmas Creep became a necessity for survival. It has also been seen as a distraction where some people do not even recognize Thanksgiving and just plan for Christmas and the New Year.
The Christmas Creep is a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers introduce Christmas-themed merchandise or decorations before the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, which in the United States is on the day after Thanksgiving.
There is also the seasonal creep where Valentine’s are sold in January –and this year I actually saw Halloween store opening up in August.
When a radio station starts playing Christmas music too early – they are participating in the Christmas Creep. It is simply a strategy to get retailers to spend their Christmas budgets and in some cases, it is a ploy to position itself as a “Christmas listening destination.”
Prior to the early 21st century, radio stations commonly began adding some Christmas songs to their regular playlists in early December and then playing an all-Christmas playlist on December 24 and 25.
After the year 2000, some stations began playing an exclusively Christmas format for the entire month of December, a practice that became more widespread in 2001. In subsequent years, such stations have commonly shifted to an all-Christmas playlist after Thanksgiving, or even several weeks earlier.
Some satellite channels now play Christmas music from November 1st to January 1st.
It is still extremely rare to hear stations other than those pulling a stunt between changing formats. Change to Christmas music in October.
It used to be that participating in a Christmas Creep was in poor taste; in fact, some people go out of their way to listen to radio stations that do not play Christmas music before Thanksgiving.
I say that it is still in poor taste; in fact, it sends a message of desperation and also adds to the cliché that Christmas is just too damn commercial.
Maybe we should boycott Christmas music that is played way before Thanksgiving.
But then again some people like that torture.
There is an old saying that comes from St. Thomas Garnet’s Theorem.
He postulated there are actually 3 kinds of people in the world. Those who hate Christmas, those who are ambivalent, and those who adore Christmas.
Then he was hanged.
He claimed on the day he was executed that he was the happiest man alive.
He apparently did not have to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.
In the U.S. at least, we should wait until after Thanksgiving to play Christmas music because Thanksgiving is an important holiday too, so we should still acknowledge it.
For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a special, beloved holiday for eating turkey and spending time with friends and family.
However, for others, the celebration is deeply controversial – as now we are being told that there needs to be a vegetarian alternative to the Holiday and some people are quick to tell you that Thanksgiving has a contentious history that goes far beyond when the first feast was held.
It has become a holiday that is being hijacked with cultural appropriation complaints that this period of history in America is frequently white-washed – which leads some Americans to ignore the Holiday.
Sadly, the Holiday is becoming more political and with impeachment on everyone’s mind, we will certainly be seeing fewer people being invited over because of their political views.
It is even worse if those you disinvite are family members.
No matter how annoying they may be – families are still worthy of being recognized and held together.
However, now the shopping malls are available for family hangovers.
Black Friday used to be 8 a.m. after Thanksgiving, Now it’s Thanksgiving night, extending to a full 36 hours in some cases.
No time to hang out with the family, time to pack up the car and head to the mall—because everything will be picked over by the Black Friday vulture class.
Some people have the tradition of Christmas decorating on Black Friday. In the 20th century, Good Housekeeping once stated that Christmas decorations should actually be put up no sooner than a few days before the actual holiday, and they should remain until the New Year – I believe that this was recommended because by that time your live tree would be dead.
It is also important to note that the longer a live tree is in the house, it can cause upper respiratory problems.
However, there have been a lot of controversial discussions about what triggers the inflammatory cytokine storms in humans that eventually break down their immunity to the flu every year at pretty much the same time.
The answer may be as simple as an allergy to Christmas.
Now you may be thinking an allergy to Christmas? What is this, an Illuminati plot to once again declare war on Christmas?
No, it is very real and there have been a few very interesting stories floating around that may pique your interest as to what may be triggering the initial inflammatory symptoms that lead to a cold or flu virus attacking your body without warning.
There are many things that can trigger an inflammatory response at Christmas time and a lot of it has to do with exposure to aluminum, mold and other toxic substances during the holidays.
For example, artificial trees have always been popular to avoid the hassle of a dead tree sitting in the home shedding its needles and even leaving sap on the floor, which for some is also a trigger for an inflammatory cytokine response.
The sap contains terpene and other substances that can irritate skin and mucous membranes, and pollen stuck to the tree may be released inside the house and can lead to cytokine and histamine reactions that can lead to a long term relationship with a cold or flu.
Within just two weeks of bringing a tree into your home, indoor mold and pollen counts can increase significantly.
So that sneezing and coughing may be an allergy to Christmas in the form of mold and other stuff that gathers in the attic on the Christmas lights and the sap from your tree.
However, no matter how hard I fight for the Thanksgiving holiday it falls hard for the Christmas Creep.
The National Retail Federation estimates 40% of consumers start their holiday shopping in mid to late September.
This year, holiday sales are projected to be over $730 billion dollars.
The very idea that this is even a thing makes me cringe.