Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bearing Gifts We Traverse Afar

Merry Christmas, everybody!

I find it somewhat astonishing how much Christmas music speaks with familiarity of Yuletide practices that hardly anybody alive remembers. Shopping a few days ago, I heard lots of songs in which sleigh bells and sleigh rides figured significantly. Some of them were new enough that I hadn't heard them before. People are writing new songs about how wonderful it is to use a transportation technology from the era of horses. Small carbon footprint, I guess, and for all I know raw oats are not subject to the environmental criticisms dogging ethanol and other biofuels. But I don't think we're going to see Ray LaHood pushing for sleighs as the environmentally responsible conservative's approach to mass transit anytime soon.

It was especially weird when I heard this music in Singapore, which (1) is only 15% Christian, (2) has about the most advanced transit system I've seen in a city, and (3) never had snow for sleighing, since it's barely above the equator and the temperature never gets below 65 degrees. I guess I shouldn't underestimate the ability of Singaporeans to absorb a foreign holiday that involves people buying stuff.

My favorite Christmas music is of two kinds. On one hand, there's the old minor-key standards that are meant to be played on an organ -- Carol of the Bells and the like. We Three Kings is my favorite, because I like the themes of ethnic and possibly even religious inclusion. The other kind I like is energetic peppy music with a female vocalist who seems eager to unwrap me on Christmas morning.
Post a Comment