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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