Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells

December 21, 2017

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By Tom Poland


Bah Humbug

You’ve heard this perverted version of “Jungle Bells.” Variants of the song exist but all demean Christmas, as does something else. TV ads. Just once, I’d like to go through the Christmas season without hearing advertisements hijack classic Christmas songs. Every Christmas season ad agencies subject us to Christmas songs converted to advertisements. How brilliant.

Tell me something. Just how creative is it to take the “Twelve Days of Christmas” and turn it into an ad for new cars? I guess they just can’t help it.

It’s bad enough that Christmas is over-commercialized but turning Christmas songs into commercials for sofas, cars, coffee, you name it, is too much. And that’s what several of us were talking about the other night. That led to a discussion of just how much Christmas has changed since we aging babyboomers were kids. Case in point. The TV specials just don’t seem that special anymore. I recall the Andy Williams Christmas specials, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and classic movies like “The Little Match Girl,” which no young person has ever heard of.

Come Christmas I don’t turn the TV on. Why bother? The commercialization and politicizing of Christmas spill over into other aspects of TV commercials. Today, it seems the ideal family consists of Asians, whites, blacks, Hispanics, and mixed-race folks (why not throw in a Martian), but if yours isn’t, well, you must be a racist. I get sick of it and I suspect you do, too. Yep, things sure have changed. Be alert at your office party. Kiss that pretty girl standing beneath mistletoe today and you’ll earn a sexual harassment lawsuit.




Don’t despair. I still see reminders of Christmases of the past. Real trees. Real wreathes. Manger scenes. Beautiful Christmas cards. Real candles, not LED candles. Small town lights. Over here, across the Savannah, Irmo, South Carolina, puts white lights shaped like sailboats on its utility poles, a nod to nearby Lake Murray.

I still see people who go all out and fill their yard with lights and deck their house with lights galore too. Love it. Years ago my family would drive over and we’d tour some of the “light extravaganzas” over here. One of the better places had a small pond with an island in its midst where a beautiful Christmas tree stood. It no longer exists. A shopping center swallowed it.

Worst of all to me are the TV ads that use classic Christmas songs to drive their salesmanship. Tell you what, I’d rather be forced to eat one of those dry fruitcakes from Claxton, Georgia, without a drink of water than subject myself to Christmas commercials.

And so it goes … progress some call it. Thus we have plastic trees, shallow TV specials that are anything but special with “stars” I never heard of, floods of junk emails selling everything you can think of, and gift cards for everything under the sun. Now some of the more modern shows are great, like “The Polar Express,” but for goodness sakes, the plasticized, over-commercialized politically correct barrage of TV ads is just too much. It’s enough to make grandma wish, well, wish that she’d get run over by a reindeer.



Visit Tom Poland’s website at www.tompoland.net
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Tom Poland is the author of twelve books and more than 1,000 magazine features. A Southern writer, his work has appeared in magazines throughout the South. The University of South Carolina Press released his book, Georgialina, A Southland As We Knew It, in November 2015 and his and Robert Clark’s Reflections Of South Carolina, Vol. II in 2014. The History Press of Charleston published Classic Carolina Road Trips From Columbia in 2014. He writes a weekly column for newspapers in Georgia and South Carolina about the South, its people, traditions, lifestyle, and changing culture and speaks often to groups across South Carolina and Georgia, “Georgialina.”


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