Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a Brown Christmas

A solstice fact for the day, courtesy "December 20 and December 23 solstices occur less frequently than December 21 or December 22 solstices in the Gregorian calendar. The last December 23 solstice occurred in 1903 and will not occur again until the year 2303. A December 20 solstice has occurred very rarely, with the next one occurring in the year 2080."

Looks like Christmas Day in northern Illinois will not feature crystalline water ice coating the mixture of clay, sand and organic matter that serves as substrate for plant growth. That is to say, there's no snow on the ground today, and none predicted for the next few days. I wonder, was a "white Christmas" a popular idea before the Irving Berlin song, or did the song foster the idea? Probably the latter, considering how astonishingly successful the song has been.

Roy J. Harris claims in the article linked above that "longing for Christmas snowfall was hardly a common image before Berlin's song." But it is now. My own daughters are complaining about the prospect of a brown Christmas. But that doesn't bother me, since it's just like the ones I used to know.

I had a fine time driving home from Phillies (see yesterday), listening to Christmas music on WXRT, which has started playing it from 8 p.m. to midnight. That station, which normally plays a broader range of popular music than most, has figured out an alternative to the repetitive, unimaginative approach WLIT takes to Christmas music every year. First of all, XRT plays it only four hours a day; that should be more than enough for anyone. More importantly, countless artists have recorded countless holiday titles over the years, and the station dips deep into that well.

The selections include unheralded versions of classics, lesser-known songs, and a variety of demented holiday tunes. You never know what you'll hear next. I was enjoying the songs, but after awhile Lilly wanted me to change to WLIT, so she could hear "something I can sing along with."

"What, you can't sing along to 'Father Christmas'?" I asked. That was the song playing at that moment. (The Kinks, 1977; not exactly unknown, but the Christmas Lite wouldn't touch it.)

But the last time I played Father Christmas
I stood outside a department store
A gang of kids came over and mugged me
And knocked my reindeer to the floor

They said: 'Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys.
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over...'

I allowed that maybe "Father Christmas" didn't quite inspire the holiday cheer she was looking for, so we went back to the usual suspects for a few minutes. And what do you know, WLIT soon played the original Bing Crosby version of "White Christmas." I can't really complain about that. A few songs can take the repetition.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home