Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Is At Our Throats

I have just watched (on TV, of course) the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. I watch it every year, along with Charlie Brown Christmas, the Grinch (the animated one with Boris Karloff, naturally), and when it's on, the only version of Christmas Carol - the 1951 version with Alastair Sim. (This, by the way, should you care to see it - and you should - is actually called Scrooge. Sometimes it turns up in the TV guide like that, but sometimes it turns up as A Christmas Carol, so go by the date. If it says 1951, that's the one you want. Trust me.)

I must, however, complain. I am the worst traditionalist you ever met in your life when it comes to Christmas. If I'm going to watch a Christmas tree being lit, I want it accompanied by massed choirs and people singing actual Christmas carols - sung the way they're supposed to be sung, not jazzed up and tricked out. This year's broadcast featured Miley Cyrus singing Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, which - would you believe - was actually better than Beyonce singing "her version" of Ave Maria, which was a song about something else altogether except that she sang Ave Maria every so often. Just those two words. The song seemed to be about female empowerment or some damn thing. That's not Ave Maria. And Harry Connick, Jr., whom I adore, messed up a Christmas song so horrendously that I can't even remember which one it was now. Don't get me started on the Jonas Brothers. who were singing something about "All I want for Christmas is the girl of my dreams." (Whatever happened to my two front teeth?)

Faith Hill, God bless her, sang an absolutely straight and lovely version of Joy to the World with a real choir! And the one and only Tony Bennett sang Winter Wonderland. By the way, speaking of Mr. Bennett, what ails people? There were all these crowds, they were listening to Tony Bennett live for God's sake, and every time the camera panned behind them, they all turned their backs on him to wave at the camera. Really, people - if Tony Bennett is singing live in front of you, PAY ATTENTION.

However, the Rockettes did do their kicks at least. I was terribly afraid they weren't going to be on this year, but thank God they turned up right at the end after the tree was lit. I always look forward to them - I mean, what's more New York Christmassy than Rockettes?

And now I shall settle down to getting our Christmas put together - and I assure you it will have every single thing we have every year - a huge tree with our old and idiosyncratic collection of ornaments (you have no idea what odd things we put on our tree...there's that thing that Sarah made in kindergarten or first grade or something with popsicle sticks and yarn, which is totally falling apart, and those three short lengths of shedding silvery stuff, and some weirdly shaped clay ornaments that we got somewhere, and the little red apples and cherries that I bought for my first Christmas tree in New York some forty years back...the list goes on), our annual Christmas Eve Lobsterfest, our roast beef and flaming plum pudding Christmas dinner...and it will be just lovely.

And Santa Claus or somebody will bring me the money to do all this, right? Actually, I think I may have a little bit of luck in the lobster department this year. I saw an article the other day saying that the lobstermen were extremely upset because the price of lobster was dropping (I mentioned this a few posts ago in re having found a cooked 1-1/4 pounder for sale for $10), so Chinatown may have good prices this year. I'm sorry for the poor lobstermen, but quite pleased for me if this proves to be the case.

Now I'm going to go eat something and hop into bed with a book. You may all start dreaming of sugarplums now...and if you're going to sing Christmas songs, do it properly, for God's sake.

Love, Wendy

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