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.

1 comment:

Mike J said...

We three kings of orient are
Tried to smoke a rubber cigar
It was loaded and exploded
Blew us all clean to Mars

Cigar of wonder, cigar of light
Who put in the dynamite?
It was loaded and exploded
Blew us all clean to Mars

Merry Xmas you old savings and loan!