My blog buddy Amanda Brice inspired this post with her musings about the traditional "No Christmas Music Until After Thanksgiving Rule." She protested the rule today, treating her office to a rousing musical celebration of "The Nutcracker." Normally, my thought is that any office playing something other than MUSAK mid afternoon as we wind our way into the dull days of winter should be celebrated. But I have to draw the line on Christmas songs, and chime in to say that we (okay, I) need to keep them on ice until this coming Friday.
Now, I'm not usually a stickler about these kinds of things. You can place responsibility for my rigidity on this particular point of etiquette squarely on the slim shoulders of my college roommate:
Back in my dorm days (junior year, to be precise) I came back to our room one morning after a Biology class that involved analyzing the inner workings of dead mammals. (To this day, nothing says "deck the halls!" to me like the smell of formaldehyde.) As a political science major/aspiring lawyer, I thought I should be exempt from dissecting animals because I spent my time dissecting arguments, but the administration didn't buy my line of reasoning. Anyway, I entered our room, threw my books on the desk, and collapsed on my bed, only to be surrounded by a surreal, high-pitched wail, an electronic drumbeat, and a bit of tambourine thrown in to sweeten the tune. To my astonishment, my quiet, preppy roommate was dancing around our room with a hairbrush, belting out the lyrics to "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus" via the song stylings of The Carpenters, and their hit album, An Old Fashioned Christmas.
It was October 19th.
The next week it got worse, as she broke out Barry Manilow's Because It's Christmas, to which I replied, "Um, no. It's not."
We had a moment of tough love there in the room. I told her that finals were coming up, that we had papers to write. She said, "But we need a little Christmas...right this very minute...candles in the window...carols at the spinnet!" "Don't argue in Christmas songs!" I protested, "You don't even know what a spinnet is!" She looked sad, like my three year-old niece when I tell her that my dog won't ever get to go to kindergarten. "But if you find out over Thanksgiving," I relented, "You can play Karen, John, and Barry all you want after that."
As Robert Frost once said, "Good fences make good neighbors."
For years after we graduated, my phone rang on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and I'd be greeted by the vibrant enthusiasm of Barry's "Baby It's Cold Outside." Payback, as it turns out, is part of the holiday spirit :)
So it's in her honor that my two new Christmas CD's (okay, the first I've ever owned - it's taken me awhile to cozy up to this seasonal music thing) are sitting on the corner of my kitchen counter, still wrapped in cellophane, waiting for Friday afternoon when I haul the decorations up from the basement and wrap our little condo in a sparkly festival of Christmas cheer.
Until Friday, though, there is much for which to be Thankful. Start thinking of yours, cause you know I'm gonna ask...