Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And So It Begins!

I walked into Macy’s last Tuesday, and heard the Hallelujah Chorus. I wasn’t surprised at all, after all, I had heard Christmas music wafting from other stores in the mall for a couple of days already. But I said to the woman working there, “Well, at least you waited until after Halloween was over.”

She agreed, and then went on to say, “And we’re doing it a little bit at a time. It’s not a total barrage of Christmas music on November 1st.”

I asked her what she meant by that, and she explained that they had some sort of system where they started with just a few pieces of Christmas music playing through the store, and then steadily increased the percentage as they got closer to Christmas.

Wow! That’s exactly the system I’d like to have working on my iPod. I’d like a “smart playlist” for each of the weeks leading up to Christmas, starting on November 1st. The first playlist would play one Christmas song an hour. When you figure that the length of the average song is about three minutes, that gives you one Christmas song and 19 regular ones.

During the second week, the playlist would randomly insert two songs an hour, and so on, so that by the time Thanksgiving arrived, I’d be up to a whopping four songs an hour. That would still leave me 16 regular pieces of music.

At this rate, by the time Christmas arrived, I’d only be at eight songs in an hour, with the bulk of the music still being what I’d hear normally, and not the seasonal stuff. Of course, I’d be perfectly free to play one of my “totally Christmas” playlists any time I wanted, but if I wanted a little variety, this would be the way to go.

After all, that’s how they do it in radio…at least with most radio stations. I know of a few radio stations that do “All Christmas Music, All the Time” starting on November 1st, and I know of a number of people who hate those stations because of the wall-to-wall Christmas music. They’d rather get it in small doses here and there, the way the rest of the stations do it. But you know, I understand those stations. They’re for people who want a place to go where they’re guaranteed to get some Christmas music, no matter what time of day. If you don’t want a steady stream of the stuff, just don’t listen to WXMS (and no, I’m not making those call letters up; it’s actually a station in Chicago).

Well, OK, I suppose I can understand people being a little miffed when what’s usually “Your Home for Head-Banging Music,” flips over to Christmas fare for two months – even if it’s head-banging Christmas fare, but that’s why you have an iPod.

I can also sort of understand how the Christmas music ramps up on the radio until Christmas Day, and then on the 26th it’s back to business as usual, but still, what about the 12 days? Christmas doesn't end of the 25th, that's when it begins. Shouldn’t there be some Christmas music until January 6th? Or at least until January 2nd, when Christmas is over for most kids because that’s when school is back in session. Can’t we do a slow tapering off over the days after Christmas?

And for that matter, why aren’t we still hearing Sleigh Ride, Jingle Bell Rock, and even plain old Jingle Bells well into February? After all, those aren’t Christmas songs, they’re Winter songs, and last I checked, Winter lasted until sometime in March. Of course, here in Syracuse, I’ve seen snow on the ground in May.

But anyway, the season has begun, at least musically it has. And I hope everyone has a good time!

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