Saturday, December 2, 2006

"Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please ..." The Christmas Shoes, Newsong, 2000

Back in early November, I had decided that I was pretty much going to write off the entire Christmas holiday this year due to my pure disgust with the retail industry and their overwhelming greed. I've become accustomed to the Christmas season beginning the day after Thanksgiving but these days Thanksgiving seems to get steamrolled over completely by the likes of Wal-Mart and Target who just can't wait to start counting their profits. Before Halloween even had a chance to be nothing more than a pile of empty candy wrappers and rotting jack-o-lanterns, retailers had aisle upon aisle of Christmas merchandise on display and were already lamenting a possible "slow" season.

Now don't get me wrong, I am by no means the most religious person in the world and am not even so sure about the historical accuracy of Christ's birth and December (apparently there were no good Pagan holidays to steal from in July) but when did Christmas become so focused on the gifts? Apparently if you don't have the Mother Lode of presents flowing out from underneath your tree, you aren't really celebrating Christmas.

I decided that this year I wanted no part of what passes for Christmas anymore, that I was going to become a "Grooge" - a combination of the Grinch and Scrooge. There are plenty of people out there who call themselves "Scrinches" but I didn't even want to be a part of their group, I wanted to be my own group - alone in my disgust. But I've discovered that it's not easy for someone who has loved Christmas their whole life to suddenly do a complete turn-around and recite such things as "Bah humbug!" and it's "A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" followed by the humming of the Grinch's theme song.

Despite my best intentions to ignore the holiday completely I've found that I can't do it and have caught myself singing Christmas tunes while hanging the Christmas lights that I swore I was not going to put up this year. I knew my fate was sealed when I was driving across town to run some errands with my car radio station turned to WBMW-106.5 (which is playing Christmas songs 24/7) and "The Christmas Shoes" came on. One minute I'm happily munching on a brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart while running through the day's errands in my head and the next minute I'm all choked up and fighting back tears.

Even though the song is about buying something, it exemplifies what Christmas is really supposed to be all about. It's schmaltzy, it's sad, it's got kids singing the chorus in places for crying out loud but it's Christmas in a nutshell and who can't love that? Haven't heard it? Well, you're in luck as I found a version of this on YouTube. The imagery is pretty lame so just close your eyes and listen to the song - let's see if you don't choke up, too!


  1. Anonymous7:08 AM EST

    Linda - I am the person who can't love this song. And, I can't believe you mentioned this song as THIS is the song I hate - which I never got to post to your last blog. I understand that the message is supposed to be a good one but it's so freaking sappy it just drives me nuts. And, 106.5 is playing it about 3 times an hour. UGH!

    Other than that, I agree with you regarding the commercialism of Christmas. But, that is what happens when non-"religious" people get involved in what used to be a day of importance for people of faith. (Just look at what has happened to Easter.) When I lived overseas, Christmas and Easter were both refreshingly free of this kind of commercialism because they were, in fact, faith based days of remembrance. When I was growing up, my parents got so sick of it (this was 30 years ago now) that they refused to have Christmas tree one year and instead made us put our gifts around and under a nativity scene my mother had set up, hay and all. Of course as a 16 year old I was horrified - but now I can understand where they were coming from. Having said that, I do enjoy giving gifts to people I love and have worked hard with my family to de-emphasize the gifts for Christmas, which is supposed to be a day to celebrate Jesus' birthday after all, and re-emphasize them for their birthdays as that is the day we celebrate the individuals we love.

  2. Anonymous9:15 AM EST

    How can you like that song. It's so stupid. The radio stations play it 900 times a day. You like this but not Dominick the Donkey? That's just not right.

  3. Wow - I cannot win when it comes to this Christmas song stuff! Sigh ... guess I'll have to keep trying as there are certainly enough songs out there for me to maybe find at least ONE that everyone loves!

  4. Anonymous1:40 PM EST

    Pennywise sezs;

    The only thing this song makes me choke back is my vomit.

  5. Anonymous5:06 PM EST

    I'm with you Linda.. "Christmas Shoes" can make me cry... I think it's because I relate it to my Aunt who passed away about 4 years ago (time passes quicker than one thinks). As for "Dominick the Donkey"... I'm tired of that one, but Patrick LOVES it and would insist it be the only song we play... again and again... and again..still again... My favorite Christmas carol of all is the "Little Drummer Boy".
    As for the whole gift/commercialism thing... I find it's a time of year that I can let friends/family know I was thinking about them... I shop all year long. We not actually shop, but I run across items that remind me of someone, something they have been looking for or something I think they would like. Since Christmas comes once a year, it's easier than remembering Birthdays... For you this year Linda... I will get you a copy of Dominick the Donkey...actually you can have mine... Happy Holidays everyone!!

  6. Anonymous11:39 PM EST

    I think that song is beautiful, and I think all who hate it, and it's message, don't have a heart wahtsoever.


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