A couple of years ago I made peace with Christmas music. I had to, it was inescapable. Every trip outside my apartment during “The Christmas Season” was saturated with Feliz Navidad, Jingle Bell Rock, White Christmas (which I’ve still never had…), and the Augie Rios smash hit, Donde esta Santa Claus?. I tried glowering, displaying my distaste to anyone in eyeshot. I tried the permanent use of headphones blasting my preferred music. Mainly though, I tried to bear it like I do the cold weather, letting its tendrils of artificial goodwill lap at my hard exterior, while I held strong my rigid core of unemotional stability. Every once in a while though, as we all know, one sneaks inside and provokes an involuntary shiver.
If the definition of involuntary is a lack of control, then every shiver can be viewed as a sign of weakness. All shivers tend to deliver a modicum of transcendent warmth, one that is always proportional to the degree of prior discomfort, which is itself is proportional to ones weakness. The more one submits to weakness, the higher the priority on comfort, or the rejection of discomfort, becomes. This is where independence is lost and parasitic behavior begins. If my reward for walking 2 miles through the snow is a warm bath once I finally arrive at my home, then the independence of my walking moments are sacrificed to the weight of the moment I lower my body into the steaming water; I shiver, sigh, forget about my tribulation. During my walk, I am emotionally parasitic – I live for the bath, the shiver, much like an addict doesn’t feel alive before his fix.
“The Christmas Season” is one long shiver for a country that endures throughout the year. We are addicted to it, yet we esteem it to hold its place at the end of the year, only extending it as early as the day after Thanksgiving. After Christmas is over (the 26th), we hover in a strange delirium until we dash out all memories and emotions of the “Season” on New Years Eve, and vow to start the parasitic process over with new methods of dealing with it.
About two Christmas’s ago I decided to start “feeling the Christmas spirit”. It wasn’t so much of an embrace as it was a submission, but the seduction of submission can often trump independent desire. Picture me as Ripley, falling back into the flames, arms outstretched in vague Christ-imagery, the monster of independence ripping free from my bosom.
Here’s a visual:
The main manifestation of my yule-tide resurrection was my tolerance and even appreciation of Christmas music. But even if I tolerate Feliz Navidad, I still much prefer the more obscure and unique Christmas songs and covers.
This collection has been making the blog rounds recently. It is a collection of old (old!) recordings of Christmas music on cylinder, going back as early as 1904! There are some favorites, as well as a whole bunch I do not know. I’ve had trouble downloading/listening to the songs from the site, but a commenter made a RapidShare download of them all as a whole. The commenter has no email or website, so as always download with caution, although I did and it seems legit.
And as always, for all your old-timey music needs, check out the 1920s Radio Network. I listen to this station daily on iTunes and their selection of old Christmas tunes is great.
I’ll be blogging through the holidays, but while I’m at it, Happy Annual Extended Shiver everyone!