I love Christmas for all the wrong reasons. Well, I of course think my reasons are just fine, but not everyone will see it that way. First of all, I love shopping for Christmas presents. No, I don't think the holiday's all about going into debt to impress folks with a grinchload* of gifts, but I take such joy in selecting items for friends and family, and I actually look forward to one or two trips to the insanity of the mall. Seriously. I like the crowds. I love to catch sight of the elderly gentleman debating two pairs of fuzzy slippers — pink or black? I love the families in line for Santa, and the way everyone wishes each other happy holidays at the end of a transaction. I even love the grumps, harrumphing their way down aisles with brows furrowed. There's such a "we're all in this together" mentality that I really get into it. And then there's gift wrapping — a chore to some, but not me. I'm no Candy Spelling, but I love coordinating papers and bows, folding the perfect corner, and piling them all under the tree. And, finally, what may be my most egregious holiday violation... I love Christmas music. LOVE IT. I have a lot of rules for how to live (just ask my family... tradition, remember?), and one of them is no Christmas music till the Sunday after Thanksgiving, at which point, it's ON. I take a lot of heat for it... my colleague Dalia has "Deck the Halls" from A Christmas Story as her ringtone, a wry joke, not a celebration. Scott groans when it "rings," but I hardly ever hear it... I've likely got my headphones on, listening to whatever Lite-FM station has carols on 24/7. I understand it's not everyone's cup of tea, so I don't play it aloud, but I still get mocked. It's ok — in my haze of holiday cheer, it just flies right by me. Scott actually brought me an article the other day about a "scientific" study of the most loathed and loved Christmas songs these days. It's no surprise that classics like Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" are beloved, while "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" and the barking dogs' "Jingle Bells" bring up the rear. I was, however, taken aback by the news that the Boss's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" didn't do well, and neither did the Jackson 5's version. My favorite Christmas song to hear on the radio is super cheezy, and I don't expect a chorus of comments seconding my opinion. It's Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' "Christmas to Remember." First of all, I unabashedly love Dolly. I think she's classic, and can do little wrong. Secondly, this song is saucy! She and Kenny sing alternating stanzas, telling the story of strangers who meet in the Rocky Mountains over Christmas and spend the holiday... ahem... together... "Curled up by a fireplace in a Tahoe ski chalet, with a fast talking lover and some slow burning wood." Whoa! At the end of the song, they part ways, "hearts melting like chimney snow," hoping to do it all again next year. It's hilarious, and warm at the same time — just the ticket. What's your guilty favorite?
*Is that a real word? Probably not. But you know what I mean, right?