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

December 12, 2014

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A pine before the lights and ornaments…

A while back Chicago Tribune writer, Barbara Mahany wrote a guest column about taking the time to appreciate the stillness and quietude of the season. Amid the cacophony of December, she wrote we had to “look for the stillness.” If and when we ever found it, she concluded, “the sacred comes.”

Normally, this is just the sort of smarmy holiday reflection that makes me wince and move on to the next. Yet, ironically, I paused. December is indeed a loud month. Between 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” become so damn loud? Even the colors scream. Red! Green! Silver! Gold!

Without doubt, our industry drives the cacophony. Every commercial on radio and TV seems brasher and busier, turning beloved Christmas carols (the other mariachi music) into terrible jingles about great deals.

Maybe if holiday advertising came during the 12 days of Christmas we’d welcome it more or at least not dread it. Instead we are still eating Halloween candy when the “jingle” bells begin. By mid December the noise is like a china cabinet falling down the stairs.

And so I appreciate Mahany’s plea for peace and quiet. When I take our dogs out for their last walks before bedtime there is true stillness. A crescent moon. 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.

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