NOVEMBER 1st IS A PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TIME TO LISTEN TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC, DON'T @ ME
Back in July, my wife and I attended a wedding in Wisconsin. The playlist, expertly curated by the happy couple, spanned decades and genres, from Springsteen to Migos. But there was one song that got every single person at that wedding, young and old, on the dance floor and singing along at the top of their lungs with great gusto and glee.
And that song was Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
Some Internet goofballs created a Facebook event inviting Chicagoans to sing that very song to the Bean in Millennium Park today, making it only the second-best Bean-related novelty Facebook event after “Fling Rahm at Trump Tower Strapped to the Bean Using the Picasso,” which I have already cleared my calendar for. The comments of the former event are mostly favorable, but there are inevitable detractors. There will always be naysayers who declare that November 1st is far too early to start listening to Christmas music, that we must wait for Thanksgiving to pass, that there is an order to these things lest we dare disrupt it.
Those naysayers can say what they’re gonna say and feel how they’re gonna feel. But November 1st, in the nightmare year of our Lord 2018, is a perfectly acceptable time to start listening to Christmas music, and this is the snowy hill I have chosen upon which to die.
October sucked, y’all. Every month of this miserable year has simultaneously lasted 30 seconds and 64 years. October *started* with Brett fucking Kavanaugh and somehow got worse. I didn’t realize it was even Halloween yesterday until a small Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz showed up to our office to shake us down for candy.
But now, it’s November. A new month that will probably come with its own gift-wrapped fresh hells, with reminders that we’ll all be wiped out by the melting ice caps and that the disastrous Kevin Costner vehicle Waterworld will, in fact, become our reality. Our kids will all have gills and shit. But with a new month comes new chances to do something, to make things slightly less bad for ourselves, our communities, our world. And if we’re gonna have the energy to take on whatever this world throws at us, we need to make time and space for the things, no matter how small or silly, that make us feel good.
And as my friends proved at their July wedding, sometimes that thing is Christmas music outside of the socially-prescribed Christmas season. Who even decided when Christmas music season really starts anyway? What is time anymore when a year’s worth of news happens in a single day?
With the urgency of oh, everything, in 2018, maybe some of us don’t want to wait until the end of this month to bust out the A Very Special Christmas compilations or listen to giddy seasonal jams. Who cares if it’s early when it’s an antidote to general seasonal bummerdom? Maybe the warmth of “Mele Kalikimaka” soothes against the grey, chilly backdrop of a Chicago fall-winter commute. The bouncy piano backbone of “Linus and Lucy” gets you chair dancing while getting through a row of spreadsheets. Hell, I’ve already listened to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” like six times today, and between that and watching footage of Oprah canvassing for Stacey Abrams in Georgia, I’m in an unusually buoyant mood. I’d honestly recommend it. We’ll see how long it lasts, but it’s a start.
The midterms are next week, and you should absolutely vote in them (holy shit, please vote, even you, disaffected youths), and regardless of how they pan out, there will be a whole hell of a lot of work to do. The upcoming holidays are a reminder that after big national events, there will be things we have to do, big and small. Some of these are routine, every year, like running through the apocalyptic hellscape of Old Orchard Mall on December 23rd or attending too-boozy, awkward office Christmas parties; some are harder and more urgent, like finally confronting the extended family members who happily attended your gay wedding but also enthusiastically support anti-gay and anti-trans politicians, or figuring out how you’re gonna show up for people who are still gonna be vulnerable after the midterms.
You’re gonna need your energy for that, for all of it. So why bother expending that energy on things like having opinions (or reading other people’s opinions) on the color of seasonal coffee cups or feeling weird about listening to Christmas music well before Thanksgiving? Put on those headphones and open that Hanson for the Holidays Tiny Desk Concert. Let that cozy, tacky sweater feeling wrap around you for a few minutes and revel in it. Let it keep you going later when you need a boost. It’s okay.
The Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums are still a mess though. You can skip those.