Yesterday afternoon I walked into a prominent Tucson framing store to pick up some artwork. I was immediately assaulted by a dippy version of “It’s A Jingly Jangly Jolly Holy Holly Santa Sleigh Ride” or some such. Really awful it was. I barrelled straight up to the counter and barked at the salesman: “You are not playing Christmas music on November 11!”
“They started playing it on October 31st, mate,” he replied. “How do you think I feel? I’m going completely mad.” Yes, he was very funny charming and—like me—not originally from around here. We went on to commiserate about the cheesy and repetitive Christmas songs and I realized that, much as this tacky fodder is irritating to shoppers, it must be soul destroying for the store employees who have to exist with it 24/7 during the run-up to our country’s most blatantly corporate-sponsored holiday.
I discussed this matter with a friend yesterday evening, and her professional opinion as a wordly Tucsonan and bon vivant is that it’s acceptable to begin with the Elvis Christmas songs on November 15, and then gradually degenerate down to the sappiest and most obnoxious material by December. From the sublime to the ridiculous.
Wiser people than I have noted that the piranha-like pre-Christmas commercial feeding frenzy begins earlier each year. Store managers used to patiently hold their breath until the day after Thanksgiving before unleashing their sleigh bells and reindeer playlists (particularly absurd lyrical content here in the desert). Now the dreaded debut has been moved up to early November. That means we are forced, while attempting to complete our normal, civilian, non-Christmas shopping tasks to endure mind-numbing ditties for seven weeks out of the year.
I predict that next year the store managers who are hungriest to cash in on what was once a happy family-based religious event will start up with the nonsense in mid-September. Within a decade the need to maximize pre-Christmas profit will mean we are required to listen to pop pap year-round. Laughing and drinking will be banned and if you don’t sport a colorful Santa and the reindeers magnet on the back of your car, you may be rounded up by the Department of Homeland Security for anti-social and un-American behavior.
It truly is the Nightmare Before Christmas.