It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year , written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle and recorded by Andy Williams for his first Christmas album. I heard this song the other day while wondering the market. The title line is what sticks in my head but there are references to get-togethers between friends and families, parties for friends that come to call, roasting marshmallows, singing, and telling ghost stories. Ghost stories, one has to ask? Think of A Christmas Carol, a novella written by English author Charles Dickens, first published in serial form by Chapman and Hall in 1843. Dickens was driven by his childhood and the plight of the poor and their children of the period, and Washington Irving’s essays on Christmas, among other themes of tradition, to write this something-of-a-ghost story.
Dickens could write this tale today, though it might not be welcome to point out contradictions in the seasons celebrations against, say the strife of the poor and homeless at a time when giving and joy are the main theme of commercialism. H.L. Mencken also wrote a free thinkers A Christmas Story about a local business man who puts on a party for the “bums” in the neighborhood. Dare I mention H.L. Mencken?
The song mentioned is now fifty years old, from a time of another economy, and something of another spirit, even perhaps another division in the country, mostly over war and civil rights. Hmm, sound familiar? but is it?
America has Christmas traditions other than the commercial aspects which have been handed down from generations and other customs in other countries. Do we tend to forget the roots of our melting pot?
Nissan borrowed the song and included an Andy Williams style showman to have a SALE. Yes, a sale, one of another kind of tradition in America, the holiday Sale. Certain aspects of our economy never go there, like say the oil companies never give us a holiday sale on the price of gasoline. Think of what a cut in the price of gas might do for the economy? Wouldn’t we hear about how well Dow Jones is doing, depending on who is in on the conversation, and how oil companies are doing research and development (think of those ads with the elaborate chemical formulations scribed across the screen, or BP building back the Gulf) while we also hear of record profits in the billions. Of course there are those in the private sector that do something with their money, the Gates’ for instance.
So is it business as usual? “It’s just business” rings in our ear, while the rest of us dash and prance around, dodging road rage and spaces at the post office, remembering what going on-line used to mean.