It is very nearly that time of year. It is nearly the time when I can start listening to Christmas music. I have been enforcing my rule for many years: I can’t start listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.
Because of a comment by a friend on Twitter, I wound up in a discussion about my Christmas music, and because the person I was talking with is also a friend of my husband, he had to chime in with some comments about the size of my Christmas music collection. Which got more friends involved as we debated the timeless question: is there such a thing as too much Christmas music?
I, obviously, firmly believe the answer is a resounding “no.” Which is not to say that all Christmas music is wonderful. There is some truly awful Christmas music out there. I am selective in which recordings I add to my collection.
My husband keeps saying that if my collection ever reaches the point that I could not listen to all of it during the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas, that I have to stop buying more music. Or I can only buy new music if I get rid of some old stuff.
And I always respond that that rule isn’t reasonable for a few reasons. One, just because I own it doesn’t mean I must listen to it every year. Two, the Christmas music seasons begins the day after Thanksgiving, yes, but it does not end until Three Kings Day (otherwise known as Epiphany).
The beauty (or difficulty) in either definition is that the two holidays in question: Thanksgiving and Three Kings Day, vary slightly. In Anglican and Catholic tradition, Three Kings Day is observed on a Sunday between January 2 and January 8. While in the U.S. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, so it can fall as early as November 22, or as late as November 28 (as it is this year).
So the number of days varies, which makes the amount of music I can have and still abide by my husband’s rule varies.
As we were discussing it, he made his usual jokes about sacrificing mediocre music to protect the awesome music and so on. This is an “argument” we’ve been having for years. And usually one of us manages to make the other laugh eventually.
This time he made the comment that since no matter how we calculate it, it’s amount of music well in excess of 675 hours, and that meant that I had a long, long way to go because, “I’m pretty sure you’ve only got something like 10 hours.”
So I was the one who got to laugh. “You think I only have 10 hours of Christmas music? Oh, honey, that’s so cute.”
It so happens that I currently own 99.9 hours of Christmas music. And there are five Christmas albums currently sitting in my iTunes Wish List, and three more on my Amazon.com Wish List.
The 675 hour limit is a lot closer than he thinks!
[TRIGGER WARNING: References to torture, child abuse, and sexual assault. Heavy use of sarcasm. Proceed with caution.]
Note: Whenever I write about Christmas music, someone feels compelled to write to me about their traumatic experience, usually in a retail job, being forced to listen to Christmas music when they didn’t want to.
That’s nice. Really, it is.
I don’t want to hear it.
No, that’s not true. It’s not merely that I don’t want to hear it.
See, here’s the thing. That isn’t traumatic. It isn’t. Getting physically abused as a child, that’s traumatic. Being water-boarded, that’s traumatic. Being held in a jail cell for months or years, deprived of a lawyer and never brought up on trial and never allowed visitors, that’s traumatic.
But being in an environment where they play cheesy Christmas music for hours on end? It may have been upsetting for you. It may well have been a crime against good taste. But it was not, absolutely not traumatic.
Unless you were gang-raped by a roving band of Christmas carolers (who insisted on continuing to sing throughout their sexual assault), your constant need to tell those of us who like Christmas music about your dislike of Christmas music (and why you’re justified in disliking it) is just you being whiney baby. Furthermore, your insufficient knowledge of musicality leaving you unable to tell the difference between the tinny muzak-style music you had to endure and the orchestrations of the music in our collection is something you should be ashamed of, not something you should proclaim to the world.
You don’t have to like Christmas music. Even if you hang out with me, you aren’t likely to be forced to listen to it, because I try to keep it to my headphones unless I already know that the other people with me are willing to give it a listen. But me listening to my Christmas music doesn’t impinge on you in any way.
I truly feel sorry for you because of this. But not for the reasons you want me to.
Because sometimes I’m a jerk, and I’m okay with that.