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Old December 5 2011, 03:16 AM   #31
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

I grew up in a working class neighborhood in America during the 1950s and 1960s. Everyone had Christmas trees and everyone decorated their homes in one way or another. No one carolled. Ever.

I loathe radio stations and stores that play nothing but Christmas carols from the week of Thanksgiving through Christmas. I like carols - I also like jazz, country music, rock, hip-hop and a ridiculous percentage of current pop music - but I don't like being inundated by one and only one genre, all over the goddamned place, for a solid month.
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Old December 5 2011, 03:33 AM   #32
Trekker4747
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

A local radio station plays nothing but Christmas music between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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Old December 5 2011, 04:14 AM   #33
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

Yes, the people who program stations like that should be made to endure eggnog enemas.
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Old December 5 2011, 04:18 AM   #34
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

I don't know what rock you were hiding under Dennis, but the radio stations started caroling before Thanksgiving this year.
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Old December 5 2011, 04:20 AM   #35
Trekker4747
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

I really can't see being in a "Christmas music mood" unless, well, there's something Christmasy going on. Having a Christmas party? Sure. Are you decorating the tree or wrapping gifts? Sure.

Is it snowing outside and you're making a cup of hot-chocolate and you want to just curl up with a nice book? Great!

Is it 40-degrees outside and you're driving home from work as it's getting dark at 5 in the afternoon? Not exactly a Christmas-music time.

What's annoying is that working a grocery store they turn the Muzak system onto the Christmas music one so I get to hear it pretty much all day long every day of my life between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Ugh. At least this year it's on a somewhat decent station, in the past they've had on a somewhat "secular" station that doesn't play the songs more centered around the religious aspects of the holiday but more of the festive songs.

I like songs like "The Little Drummer Boy", "Silent Night" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" I like the festive stuff too, but considering the nature of this holiday hearing the more religious-themed stuff is nice, besides it means there's more of a song selection so the likelihood I'll hear the same song twice in a day goes down.
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Old December 5 2011, 04:54 AM   #36
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

Be glad one ye olde Christmas tradition has (thankfully) disappeared long ago. It stems from a time when there was very much a carnival like atmosphere to keeping Christmas which could be loud, boisterous and downright rude (even by old standards) to the point of potential violence.

It was called mumming, when bands of boys and young men of the "rough" (poor or working) class roved the streets and invited themselves into people's homes, usually the homes of well-to-do persons. In exchange for intruding into someone's home with loud singing and playacting these often disguised revellers expected servings of the house's best food and drink (usually alcohol). And they often couldn't be enticed or persuaded to leave until they had been satisfied. This practice was somewhat tolerated until what was considered acceptable behaviour changed in the early part of the 19th century.

Mumming actually predates the observance of Christmas, but it coincided with Christmas being observed in December and so the two became associated with each other. Society's upper classes and newly emerging middle class of the late 18th century were beginning to tire of this practice until they began to outlaw it in the early 19th. This coincided with changing the nature of Christmas celebration from being a public celebration out on the streets to a private celebration revolving around home and family.

Today it's hard to imagine such bizarre behaviour being tolerated as even remotely acceptable. It gives a whole new meaning to the term "home invasion." Something of a very general analogy of this practice (when taken to extremes as it sometimes could be) can be seen in Star Trek TOS' episode "The Return Of The Archons." I'm referring to the Red Hour when the docile population were allowed to blow off steam so to speak and be free of usual societal restraints. TOS' "festival" is an exaggerated fictional parallel of the once-a-year practice of mumming during the holiday season.

Mumming, of course, was an extreme example of holiday revelry. Exchanges of food and drink with wassailers was probably conducted more quietly and somewhat more civilly between land owners and business owners and their servants and employees. Today carollers are probably the only thing we have left remotely similar to what was practiced two centuries ago, or at least the most recognizable.
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Old December 5 2011, 05:41 AM   #37
SeerSGB
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

Comet and Cupid wrote: View Post
I don't know what rock you were hiding under Dennis, but the radio stations started caroling before Thanksgiving this year.
I was hearing fucking Christmas muzak a couple week before Halloween around my neck of TN.
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Old December 5 2011, 05:57 AM   #38
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

I don't really understand why people get so worked up over Christmas music. It's kind of childish, I think, to complain so much about it. Shops and radio stations have the right to play whatever music they like...except in the case of the poor person who lived across the Christmas market and had to hear it 24/7 out his/her own window, it's not like you're forced to listen to it in your own home. I don't bitch and moan when I walk into a shop that's playing smooth "jazz" or some other such rubbish.

Personally, I love Christmas music. I'm listening to it right now, as a matter of fact. And I'm not even Christian! I also recall caroling as a child, with my girl scout troupe and sometimes with my family (though they aren't Christian either, we all just enjoy the holiday).
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Old December 5 2011, 06:06 AM   #39
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
I don't really understand why people get so worked up over Christmas music. It's kind of childish, I think, to complain so much about it. Shops and radio stations have the right to play whatever music they like...except in the case of the poor person who lived across the Christmas market and had to hear it 24/7 out his/her own window, it's not like you're forced to listen to it in your own home. I don't bitch and moan when I walk into a shop that's playing smooth "jazz" or some other such rubbish.

Personally, I love Christmas music. I'm listening to it right now, as a matter of fact. And I'm not even Christian! I also recall caroling as a child, with my girl scout troupe and sometimes with my family (though they aren't Christian either, we all just enjoy the holiday).
For me, I just don't like it. As I said, I've heard some wonderful performances, I still roll my eyes and think "oh for fuck's sake". Can't explain, always been that way.

The other thing is that, at least in stores, comes off a bit pushy. Like stores are just driving it home over and over that this there is this time of year coming up where you're expected to spend money on presents (which for the kids and wife, it doesn't bother me but any one else: fuck you, you're lucky to get a card in the mail) and make nice with family that you never talk to the rest of the year or if you do talk them you don't get along with them but you have to been nice cause "It's the holiday season"

I think a lot of MY issue is that as I've gotten older, and I've had my own kids, the overt commercialism and missed messages of this time of year sort makes me pause more than they used it.
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Old December 5 2011, 06:06 AM   #40
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

Let me just say that I applaud tsq for not bitching and moaning when she walks into a shop that plays smooth jazz. Although I am also sure that if she chose to do so, they'd listen.

That being said, I don't carol. When I listen to Christmas music it is usually this.

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Old December 5 2011, 06:35 AM   #41
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

Adm. V'ates wrote: View Post
thestrangequark wrote: View Post
I don't really understand why people get so worked up over Christmas music. It's kind of childish, I think, to complain so much about it. Shops and radio stations have the right to play whatever music they like...except in the case of the poor person who lived across the Christmas market and had to hear it 24/7 out his/her own window, it's not like you're forced to listen to it in your own home. I don't bitch and moan when I walk into a shop that's playing smooth "jazz" or some other such rubbish.

Personally, I love Christmas music. I'm listening to it right now, as a matter of fact. And I'm not even Christian! I also recall caroling as a child, with my girl scout troupe and sometimes with my family (though they aren't Christian either, we all just enjoy the holiday).
For me, I just don't like it. As I said, I've heard some wonderful performances, I still roll my eyes and think "oh for fuck's sake". Can't explain, always been that way.

The other thing is that, at least in stores, comes off a bit pushy. Like stores are just driving it home over and over that this there is this time of year coming up where you're expected to spend money on presents (which for the kids and wife, it doesn't bother me but any one else: fuck you, you're lucky to get a card in the mail) and make nice with family that you never talk to the rest of the year or if you do talk them you don't get along with them but you have to been nice cause "It's the holiday season"

I think a lot of MY issue is that as I've gotten older, and I've had my own kids, the overt commercialism and missed messages of this time of year sort makes me pause more than they used it.
It just sounds as if you're very negative and cynical about the whole holiday. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to admonish you for it, because I'm fairly negative and cynical myself about a lot of things. I guess for me, Christmas has always been more about what I make it--I don't feel pressure from anyone to behave in any certain way, or to shop, or to send cards. Maybe it's because I'm not religious, so I don't have that complication of reconciling commercialization with spirituality. But I enjoy the decorations in shops, the Christmas movies on TV, and the Christmas carols on the radio.
Or maybe it's because I come from an impoverished background. Growing up, Christmas was never about spending money on presents. It was about buying what I could afford for the people I loved because I really enjoy giving...or making them gifts when I couldn't afford anything at all. It was about spending time with the people I love, not feeling obligated to post meaningless cards to acquaintances. It was about the fact that for thousands of years...going back long before Christianity...people of all different cultures and traditions chose this time of the year to celebrate light, life, family, friendship, and most importantly, hope, because everyone needs a break in the middle of a long winter.

I don't think it hypocritical of people to make an effort to be more kind and merry during the season. Rather it's a an act of recognition: recognizing that life is cruel; that winters are long and dark and cold; that people are evil, torturing, maiming, and killing eachother; that there will always be wars, famine, politicians, and bastards, but that we have it in us, if only for one month of the year, to come together and hope that someday we could be something better.
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Old December 5 2011, 06:55 AM   #42
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

Christmas is my favorite holiday but I hate hearing Christmas music all the time. It wears you down and most of it simply isn't very good.
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Old December 5 2011, 09:21 AM   #43
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

My sisters and I used to do it with my Mom and some other families from the neighborhood back in the late-70s and 80s just for spreading good cheer (as opposed to doing it to raise money or anything), but it kind of fell out of favor after that. Occasionally you'll see some people doing it but it's pretty rare in these parts now.
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Old December 5 2011, 12:17 PM   #44
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

cultcross wrote: View Post
There's a funny mix of teenagers messing about and thinking they'll make money from it and people who take it very seriously indeed.
Down our way we also get younger kids going for the "Awww! So cute!" response to their performance. The best part is the mangling of the words. For instance - did you know that the ickle lord Jesus was asleep in a shed? You do now. Well worth a quid.

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Old December 5 2011, 12:36 PM   #45
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Re: Carolling and other defunct traditions?

Carolling rarely happens in Scotland because the weather stops people from roaming around outside. I sang in a choir for more years than I care to remember and they are always in big demand at Christmas, for shopping centres and concerts. If I never sing another carol again it'll be too soon. However there are plenty choristers still out there. One of my nieces plays the euphonium and has been in various bands for years. She gets together with a group of pals and they go and busk shopping malls, playing carols. They make an absolute bloody fortune at it.
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