The Star in the East Was Not a Spotlight
By: Thomas Lindaman
A spirited column…
A couple of local news stories about the holiday season caught my eye recently. One involved shoppers who made their way to the local temple to needless avarice with a food court (more commonly called â€œthe mallâ€) at midnight the day after Thanksgiving to start their holiday shopping. The other story dealt with a woman who had expensive holiday decorations in her yard demolished by unknown assailants. In both cases, the media treated the mad holiday buying rush and the putting up of holiday decorations that cost more than the Gross National Product of Paraguay to put up and run as â€œthe holiday spirit.â€
As you might have figured out by now, my annual call for holiday season sanity is directed at the media. What you guys and gals have been pushing as â€œthe holiday spiritâ€ is anything but. In fact, aside from â€œA Charlie Brown Christmas,â€ youâ€™d be hard-pressed to find anything that comes close to addressing the true holiday spirit. No, not even the â€œvery special episodeâ€ of â€œTwo And A Half Menâ€ where Charlie Sheenâ€™s character learns the true meaning of Christmas from three scantily clad Playboy Playmates representing the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Either that or the Ghosts of Blondes Past, Brunettes Present, and Redheads Future, Iâ€™m not sure which. But I do see Charlieâ€™s incredible wit as he delivers his next line, â€œHo ho ho.â€
The same media that give us â€œA Charlie Brown Christmasâ€ are the ones who have sold us on an impossible ideal: finding â€œthe perfect gift.â€ This reduces the holiday season to an odd game show combining â€œSurvivorâ€ with â€œSupermarket Sweepâ€ and more than a bit of â€œAmerican Gladiatorsâ€ mixed in for good measure. (Say, that would be a good idea for a show! Glad I thought of it!)
And hereâ€™s the funny part: you can never buy the perfect gift, EVER! As a Christian, my â€œperfect giftâ€ gets delivered right around Easter when I remember that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross to forgive my sins. When was the last time a PlayStation 3 did that for anybody? Never! And do you know why? Because itâ€™s an inanimate object, silly!
Another recent phenomenon created by the media to try to tap into â€œthe holiday spiritâ€ is the 24-hour-a-day-holiday favorites format adopted by some radio stations starting in, oh, November. Granted, with some radio station formats, this might work. If youâ€™re a heavy metal station that plays Metallica? Not so much. Itâ€™s quite a shift from â€œEnter Sandmanâ€ to â€œHere Comes Santa Clausâ€ done by the Ray Coniff Singers. But again, the media donâ€™t get it. I like holiday music as much as the next guy, but I donâ€™t need to be hearing it all day every day until Christmas. Throw in â€œWhite Christmasâ€ between spins of Madonnaâ€™s â€œBorderlineâ€ and Sheryl Crowâ€™s â€œAll I Wanna Do Is Have Some Funâ€ and youâ€™ll keep me listening without looking for the closest garland with which to hang myself.
Iâ€™ve spent a lot of time talking about what doesnâ€™t constitute the holiday spirit, so let me take a moment or two to tell you what does, in my opinion. Itâ€™s the laughter of children playing in the snow, having the times of their lives. Itâ€™s the small child trying to wait up for Santa to arrive and falling asleep in his mother or fatherâ€™s arms. Itâ€™s a feeling of joy as you sing holiday songs, religious or otherwise, and enjoy the company of those around you. Itâ€™s being with family and friends to share best wishes. Itâ€™s the sense of peace as we take a moment to count our blessings.
See? Not a one of those has to do with buying something or showing off decorations. These activities can be part of the holiday spirit, but they shouldnâ€™t supplant it. At the end of the day, anything you buy will wear out or break, but the memories you make right now are what will last for a lifetime. And real life has much better graphicsâ€¦so Iâ€™ve heard.
So, if there are any media moguls or big shot producers reading this, let me be blunt. You guys donâ€™t get the holiday spirit because youâ€™re focusing on the wrong things. Showing shoppers running into a mall at midnight or suggesting that people need to go all out with holiday decorations to get into the holiday spirit is misleading, much like positive reviews for any Jennifer Lopez movie. I donâ€™t expect you to change overnight, but I would like you to try to change. If Bill Murray can do it in â€œScrooged,â€ you guys can.
Thomas Lindaman is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. and NewsBull.com. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He is also Publisher of CommonConservative.com.