recon report

so, i spent christmas in a large, east coast city — in fact, THE large, east coast city — and i have a couple of observations to report re. the war-on-christmas — which, yes, is definitely occurring. but you know what? i am optimistic! and as you prolly already know, i am not a “glass half-full” type of gal — i’m more of a “why is the glass so small?” gal. (~_^) so if i don’t think things are that bad, maybe they’re not.

anyway, there was a lot of christmas spirit on display in the big apple! a LOT. it was very gratifying to see.

sure — most of the christmas songs being played in the stores and coffee shops were missing the christian part of christmas (i.e. they were mostly “rudolf” and “jingle bells”), but at least there were christmas songs being played — EVERYwhere as far as i could tell. my spirits were definitely cheered. (^_^)

and, yes, there were a lot of “holiday” greetings everywhere — but the local tv station that i saw (ny1?) did have merry christmas commercials (as well as happy channukah greetings). and the rockefeller center christmas tree is still a christmas tree.

lastly, yes, most of the sales clerks and restaurant/coffee shop staff would wish me “happy holidays,” but if i started with or returned with a “merry christmas” (a little experiment that i ran), i was usually very cheerfully responded to with a “merry christmas.” (^_^) (i did not, of course, wish any of the taxi drivers named mohammed a merry christmas, or the owner of carnegie’s deli. (~_^) i’m not a fanatic — h*ck, i’m not even religious.)

maybe i imagined it, but i don’t think that i did, but i had the impression that many of the sales clerks would say, rather unenthusiastically, what they had presumably been told to say (“happy holidays”), but when i would reply with “merry christmas” they would really light up and respond with a cheeful “merry christmas.” like i say, maybe i’m imagining it (too much eggnog?), but i really think this was the case. and i seemed to get the best responses from blacks and puerto ricans.

so, that’s my little set of anecdotal war-on-christmas evidence. (^_^) my impression, after a week in the heart of darkness, is that the war on christmas is not yet lost. (^_^)

my next social experiment?: columbus day, 2012. (~_^)

p.s. – i’m still sleeping off my holly, jolly hangover, so posting will prolly be light for a few more days.

(note: comments do not require an email. merry christmas!)

15 Comments

  1. hbdhick said:
    i did not, of course, wish any of the taxi drivers named mohammed a merry christmas, or the owner of carnegie’s deli. (~_^) i’m not a fanatic

    This sounds like racist profiling to me.

    Reply

  2. About the Rockefeller Christmas tree, when I took my gf (who is big into Christmas) to see the tree for the first time, she was quite unimpressed. Apparently, she couldn’t (and still can’t) get over the fact that it has colored and not white lights! ;p

    Reply

  3. @jayman – “Apparently, she couldn’t (and still can’t) get over the fact that it has colored and not white lights! ;p”

    a christmas tree purist — i can appreciate that. (~_^)

    for the record, i think there are some white lights on the rockefeller tree, just not only white lights. i’ll have to check my pics.

    Reply

  4. My own bit of anecdotal evidence: On Christmas Eve, I spent a few hours in a McDonald’s, which played its Christmas songs almost entirely in Spanish (the most English I heard the whole time I was there was in Feliz Navidad), and a few more hours in a Starbucks. I should’ve paid more attention, but from what I can recall, the McDonald’s was much heavier on the religious songs than the Starbucks, which didn’t even have 100% holiday music of any sort in its rotation. Also, McDonald’s stuck to the ‘classics’ (Feliz Navidad, Jingle Bell Rock, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen… not that the third rightly belongs in a list with such drivel as the other two, mind you), whereas Starbucks generally played less known (not to mention far more grating, at least to my prole nerves) songs done by terrible Bing Crosby ripoffs.

    This, of course, should surprise no one, but it would be interesting to see it quantified. Maybe next year.

    Reply

  5. @hbd chick:

    It usually does have white lights in the mix, but they the bluish warm white LED lights and not the usual yellowish ones.

    a christmas tree purist — i can appreciate that. (~_^)

    Ah, yeah, just a little! :) Colored Christmas tree lights are, in her opinion, “tacky”. Here’s our Christmas tree this year.

    Reply

  6. The best Christmas tree I have see is at the John Hancock in Chicago. Hundreds of thousands of tiny lights. The one the City of Chicago puts up is somewhat disappointing if you ask me. I need to renew my Flickr account or I’d link to a pic, I think I have some uploaded.

    Reply

  7. @r j p – “The best Christmas tree I have see is at the John Hancock in Chicago.”

    here we go. looks pretty nice! (^_^) (but jayman’s gf would not approve. (~_^) )

    Reply

  8. @nydwracu – the starbuckses (starbucksi?) that i was at in ny were playing only christmas songs, but like you say, not very traditional ones — modern renditions of, of course, non-religious christmas songs. but at least they were playing christmas songs! i thought it was gonna be worse.

    i wasn’t in any mcdonald’ses (mcdonald’si?), but that was just some weird sort of accident. it’s not that i don’t luv me a royale with cheese. (^_^)

    Reply

  9. @jayman – “It usually does have white lights in the mix, but they the bluish warm white LED lights and not the usual yellowish ones.”

    oh, yeah. i can see that they would be totally WRONG for a purist. (^_^) she would NOT want to see the christmas lights decorating our deck — led lights!!

    Reply

  10. NYC’s a little atypical because they have, as everyone knows, a large and vocal Jewish population. You’d expect them to be sensitive in that regard. A better experiment might be Boston or San Francisco. On moving to Phoenix I noticed a lot more open Christmas cheer. Even between Boston and NYC the difference was noticeable, though slight.

    My usual strategy once off the East Coast was to wish everyone Merry Christmas unless they had an obviously Jewish name or large nose.

    Reply

  11. BTW, I’d expect the Columbus Day parade to be well attended. NYC has a large Italian community, and that’s their day.

    Now the Steuben Day parade…THAT one gets forgotten.

    Reply

  12. @sfg – “NYC’s a little atypical because they have, as everyone knows, a large and vocal Jewish population. You’d expect them to be sensitive in that regard.”

    sure. and hyper-multicultural in general. that’s why i expected not-so-much christmas cheer in nyc, but was pleasantly surprised. (^_^)

    @sfg – “Now the Steuben Day parade…THAT one gets forgotten.”

    heh. (^_^)

    Reply

  13. Google around and you can find the article about the disappearance of German-American culture in the NYT. It actually mentions the whole bit about how they’re afraid of the Jews in NYC. (Though the suppression of German culture in the US actually started after World War ONE.)

    Oh yeah. I decided to become a Germanophile to annoy my relatives. The language is fascinatingly logical. ‘Bauchspiecheldrusen’ for ‘pancreas’–‘belly saliva gland,’ cause that’s what it is, a gland that helps you digest food that’s in your belly! Not some random Greek word meaning ‘all flesh’…

    And, oh yeah, how I love me that bratwurst. And schnitzel. And spaetzle. I got addicted to spaetzle in the Neue Gallerie on the Upper East Side. And their beer is a lot better.

    Reply

  14. @anonymous – “And, oh yeah, how I love me that bratwurst. And schnitzel. And spaetzle. I got addicted to spaetzle in the Neue Gallerie on the Upper East Side. And their beer is a lot better.”

    i had some killer apple strudel when i was in nyc. (d*mnit! now i want some. *sigh*) (^_^)

    neue gallerie on the upper east side, you say? putting that down in the book for the next trip. (^_^)

    @anonymous – “The language is fascinatingly logical.”

    except for putting the punchline (the verb!) at the end of very, very, very long sentences. (~_^)

    Reply

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