December 28, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Less Like Christmas

Christmas has come and gone and I've hardly noticed. While you might think that has to do with the fact that I'm married to a rabbi, you'd be wrong. Even though I'm Jewish, I actually like Christmas, especially in the city. I always take a moment when I walk by the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for the first time in December and I have fond memories of each year's window displays at the stores on Fifth Avenue. I even miss the beat up snowflake that used to hang across 57th Street before it was replaced by the newer - and corporate sponsored - Swarovski version. New York, especially my neighborhood, is a place that was made to be strewn with string lights.

So, despite my affection for this time of the year, the reason that Christmas came and went without my paying much attention has everything to do with my DVR. And my iPod, too.

I didn't realize how much my experience of Christmas had been changed by my digital video recorder and iPod until my friend M brought it up. He was mentioning how he hadn't experienced any sort of holiday fatigue this year and posited that it had to do with the fact that he was able to skip over the endless barrage of Christmas commercials typically played on every network from NBC to Telemundo. So this year he saw not a single ringing Hershey's Kiss. Not one anthropomorphic polar bear drinking Coke. No crowds of TV newscasters singing Christmas carols. No ads for special "doors open at four AM" holiday sales. And, most thankfully, no promos for special Christmas episodes of Yes, Dear and Hope & Faith.

I realized that I, too, had missed most of the more commercial aspects of Christmas which, I would imagine, are exactly the things that make the holiday season stressful for so many people. Instead of tuning into a favorite radio station only to find that it had switched over to an all-Christmas-music format on the day after Thanksgiving, as I might have done a few years ago, I listened to my iPod. I caught up on podcasts instead of listening to wacky morning drive hosts give out tickets to the Radio City Christmas Show. (And was grateful to have never heard that extravaganza's excrutiatingly annoying jingle once this entire month.) When I did watch TV, it was to catch up on Lost, a serialized show which would suffer from a huge credibility problem if the castaways stumbled upon a Christmas tree in the jungle.

I know I am not alone in my experience of being cured from years of Christmas fatigue. There have to be more people out there like M and me. This year the eyes and ears of untold numbers of technophiles were sheltered from the more tasteless and commercial aspects of the holiday, allowing us to savor the things that make this season special: lights, presents from friends, drunk co-workers at office holiday parties, food, and more food.

Bill O'Reilly, are you reading this? If there truly is a war on Christmas, there's one weapon that will help you save it: TiVo.

Posted by Doug at December 28, 2005 12:43 AM

Oh, I felt Christmas fatigue. But even if I hadn't watched any television or listened to any radio stations - the travelling was enough to tire me out! With families in two different states, it's easy to wish it would all end soon!

Posted by: Tracie at December 28, 2005 02:55 PM