My wife told me long before I moved to the Philippines (in 2006) that Christmas songs are played and broadcast on radio starting in the first of the “ber” months (September-December), but I didn’t believe her. After spending two Christmas holiday seasons in the Philippines and while in the beginning of a third, her words have been proven to be true.
Listening to Christmas music, for me, is annoying enough all by itself. Listening to it for four months of the year is out of the question, especially when most of it is American Christmas music.
Christmas Song Repetition
Is it just me? I mean, how many times can you listen to a variation of “White Christmas” or “Jingle Bells” before you want to wretch? I attribute the frequency of Christmas music, especially in the Philippines, with the commercialism of the season.
I have nothing against music in general and I listen to music from just about all of the genres, including rap and hip hop. Thankfully, I listen to most music via Internet music stations instead of local broadcast stations. The local broadcast stations are already pumping out variations of the same tunes I’ve been hearing all of my life. Is this a form of brainwashing or what?
Grocery Stores and Shopping Centers
I do the brunt of my grocery shopping at the Royal Subic store at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and usually near the beginning of the month. During the first eight months of the year, their broadcast system plays contemporary rock music and not too loud to be irritating.
I went to the store a few days ago and guess what was playing? You get a gold star if you say Christmas music. As much as I needed to restock my food supplies, I was very tempted to walk out and go home. It wasn’t just that it was Christmas music. It was louder than usual.
I’ve been to the SM Mall in Pampanga during the holiday months (though not this year, at least not yet), so it isn’t just an extremely localized phenomena. I’m willing to bet it’s countrywide. Of course, I probably won’t be going back to that mall in the future if I can figure out how to get to the SM Mall at the Clark Economic Zone (the former Clark US air base). Well, that’s a different story that I won’t get into right now.
My house is not the nicest house in Olongapo or even in my neighborhood. Compared to the houses around us, however, it’s like a beacon to people who want to go to where they think the money is. I really hate to say it, but Christmas caroling in the local area is all about getting paid to sing or play music on your behalf.
Thank goodness this part of the season doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving Day in the Philippines. If listening to Christmas music isn’t annoying enough for me, listening to groups of people hovering outside my fence and singing the exact same songs is enough to drive me insane. I’m thankful to my mother-in-law and my wife’s family, who also live in this compound, for shewing them away as often as possible. Like me, they know the real reason it happens and it has nothing to do with the spirit of the holiday.
I’m not a Grinch or a Scrooge
If you don’t know what I’m referring to, oh well. I won’t explain it. The point I want to make is that I don’t wait until a particular season or holiday to make “giving” a priority. I believe that giving is a practice which should take place seven days a week, 365 days a year.
If everyone in the world took up the habit of giving (instead of receiving) as a year-long pursuit, the world be a much better place to live in. In the current state of affairs, the commercialism of the Christmas holiday is all about taking what you can get away with taking, honestly or not so honestly.
As far as Christmas songs or Christmas music, however, I’ll take mine as “having none of that”.