The holidays are too loud. Take a moment and chill.

December 23, 2009

Holiday quiet zone…

I wrote a similar piece one year ago today. With edits I offer it up again for the holidays…

Chicago Tribune writer, Barbara Mahany wrote a guest column about taking the time to appreciate the stillness and quietude of the season. Amidst the cacophony of December, she writes we have to “look for the stillness.” If and when we find it, she concludes, “the sacred comes.”

Normally, this is just the sort of smarmy holiday reflection that makes me wince or, more accurately, turn the page. There are box scores to get to. And besides, I have packages to wrap. (BTW: I stink at wrapping gifts)

Yet, Mahany’s article gives pause. December is a loud month. Between our sugar high children and the endless blaring from always-on TV sets, when is there ever a moment of silence? Since when has “peace on earth and goodwill to men” become so damn loud? Even the colors scream: Red! Green! Silver! Gold!

Without doubt, our melodious industry is the most heinous culprit of all. Every commercial on radio and TV seems brasher and busier, turning beloved Christmas carols (the other mariachi music) into countless terrible jingles about saving money and the like. The assault on our senses make last years infamous “Saved by Zero” campaign seem like birdsong.

The seasonal assault begins so early by mid-December we are sick of it. I am anyway. Maybe if holiday advertising came during the 12 days of Christmas we’d welcome it…more so anyway. Instead we are still eating Halloween candy when the ringing of “jingle” bells begins. It is usually the local advertisers who come first, their desperate pleas for having clean carpets in time for the holidays. Hollywood begins trumpeting their holiday fare for adults and children alike. Last year, I knew about “Four Christmases” before I had my one Thanksgiving. By December we are being bludgeoned by flat screen TVs and digital cameras, all specially priced for Christmas. All together, the noise is like a china cabinet tipping over…endlessly.

And so I appreciate this plea for peace and quiet. And I know just where to find it. When I take our dog out for his last walk before bed there is stillness. The snowed over lawns and deserted streets. The silent sentry of barren trees. This is the proverbial silent night, holy night. The effect is mesmerizing, a perfect and ironic antidote to the commercial chaos of Christmas. Here I can smoke my cheap cigar in peace, waiting for Bo to do his business.

Happy holidays to all my readers and may your God(s) go with you.

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3 Responses to “The holidays are too loud. Take a moment and chill.”

  1. Justin said

    Amen! I laughed at: “the local advertisers who come first, their desperate pleas for having clean carpets in time for the holidays.”

    And “Saved by zero” would have been a tolerable commercial had the creative/production just known about the media saturation for TV/Radio. They could have simply remixed the song a few different ways to phase out or replace the original version, which would at least generate some buzz…and that isn’t a terrible thing for a retail campaign.

  2. Michael R. Allen said

    That is why people in general need to turn off the television and commercialized radio. This is one of many ways to take a break from the constant bombardment of capitalist ads and advertising.

    You are right. Being in nature away from technology is probably the best way to get away from some of the BS propaganda that goes along with X-mas.

    “Nature thrives on patience; man on impatience.” Paul Broese.

    • SRP said

      Michael-
      Thank you for your comment and the quote.
      PS: You have no idea what a huge fan I am of your site!
      Here’s hoping (naively) for “28 Months Later” from Danny Boyle.

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