Music

Suck It, Scrooge

We need a little Christmas

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

I am surrounded by Scrooges. They are in my home, at both of my jobs, among my friend and peer groups, and in my newsfeed They hate Christmas—indeed, the entire holiday season—for reasons that, admittedly, have some validity.

It is a consumer holiday. The whole culture and economy surrounding Christmas is problematic. Its religious origins are concerning. The fact that it has strayed so far from its religious origins is concerning. For people without family or friends to speak of, it’s an especially tough holiday. Forcing children to sit on Santa’s lap is confusing when trying to teach little ones about bodily autonomy. The cookies have gluten and encourage gluttony (well, at least mine do). The songs suck.

I can get down with nearly all of the reasons to hate this season. Except that last one.

Suck it, Scrooges. Christmas carols rule.

As I mention without fail every holiday season, I spent a dozen years working mall retail. As anyone who has been in, near or around a shopping mall from Black Friday through the New Year can well imagine, working retail during Christmas is a very particular trial-by-hellfire experience and one that will absolutely test a person’s patience and quite possibly their sanity.

Part of what makes it so challenging is listening to the mall soundtrack of Christmas carols—and very often actual carolers—hour after hour, day after day. I would not say that every single retail worker hates Christmas music, but 99 percent of them probably do.

Not me. I somehow emerged from more than a decade in the belly of the consumer beast with my love of the holiday and its music firmly intact. Retail workers aside, I appear to be in plentiful company, judging by the amount of holiday concerts happening during the coming days. Should you need a little Christmas, read on (even more holiday concerts can be found in the event listings on the following page).

Once upon a time, Polecat used to throw a big Halloween show every year, complete with a theme and over-the-top costumes. They don’t do that anymore, not because they’ve grown too responsible and dignified for such shenanigans, but because they’ve taken the energy they used to expend on Halloween and applied it to Christmas. Their Sat., Dec. 8 show at the Wild Buffalo will feature costumes, a decked-out stage, possibly some mistletoe—and a guest appearance by Craig Jewell as Alvin of Alvin and the Chipmunks. True story: Christmas with the Chipmunks is one of my top-three favorite holiday albums, along with Elvis’ Blue Christmas and Barbra Streisand’s Christmas Album. Obviously, this show is made for me. Where: 208 W. Holly St. Info: http://www.wildbuffalo.net

The North Pole might be ground subzero for Christmas as far as Santa is concerned, but for those of us who love the sounds of the season, Mount Vernon’s McIntyre Hall is where it’s at. The venue’s entire month has been given over to holiday programming—that’s serious Christmas commitment. It begins Fri., Dec. 7 with the Skagit Valley Chorale’s “Heralding Christmas,” which this year comes with a welcome theme of “Deep Peace.” An encore show will also happen Sun., Dec. 9. A pair of concerts will take place Sat., Dec. 8—in the afternoon, the Fidalgo Youth Symphony will globetrot through the immigrant songs of “Carols Around the World” before the Skagit Symphony takes over in the evening for its ever-popular annual holiday concert. Picking up where they left off on Mon., Dec. 10 will be the Mount Vernon High School choirs with back-to-back presentations of their “Winter Concert.” But that’s just the beginning for MVHS, who will be back on the McIntyre Hall stage, this time for concerts on Wed. and Thurs., Dec. 13-14 with both the choral and instrumental departments joining forces to haul out the holly. Where: 2501 East College Way, Mount Vernon Info: http://www.mcintyrehall.org

Most of the year, the folks at Sedro-Woolley’s Eagle Haven Winery are very busy crafting artisan wines for their loyal friends and followers. However, during December they’re turning their scenic surroundings into a winter wonderland. Visit their “Tasting and Tour of Lights” every weekend before Christmas for everything the title suggests, as well as a hayride and hot cocoa. You won’t find Santa onstage at the winery on Sat., Dec. 8, but you will find Whiskey Fever, and they promise to “light up your holidays with a thousand watts of pure Yuletide rock,” so hold them to it. Bring your kids, bring your wives—but leave your Scrooge at home. No one needs that kind of humbug in their holiday.
Where: 8243 Sims Road, Sedro-Woolley Info: http://www.eaglehavenwinery.com

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Today
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Birch Bay Kite Festival

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Birch Bay Book Sale

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Lummi Island Artists' Studio Tour

10:00am|Lummi Island

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Solace on the slopes

7:00am

Ski to Sea Race

7:30am|Mt. Baker to Marine Park

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Ski to Sea Seconds Sale

10:00am|Good Earth Pottery

Historic Fairhaven Festival

10:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Paper Voodoo Workshop

10:00am|Blaine Harbor Center

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Bellingham Handmade Market

11:00am|Goods Nursery and Produce

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Public Sails

12:00pm|Squalicum Harbor

History Tour

12:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

History Tour

12:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

La Conner Live!

1:00pm|Gilkey Square

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|BAAY Theater

Oceans Flamenco with Savannah Fuentes

7:30pm|Tha Outlet

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Tomorrow
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Public Sails

12:00pm|Squalicum Harbor

Oceans Flamenco with Savannah Fuentes

7:30pm|Tha Outlet

Plant Diagnostic Clinics

4:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Swing Dancing Classes

5:00pm|Presence Studio

Open Mic Night

7:00pm|Village Books

Salish Sea Early Music Festival

7:00pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Poetrynight

7:00pm|Alternative Library

Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

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Tuesday
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Mapping Mars

4:00pm|Wilson Library

Artist Workshop

6:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Bellingham Reads

6:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Books & Brews

7:00pm|Village Books

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Punch Up Comedy Showcase and Open Mic

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Spring Choral Concert

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