Michael and I are in Wichita for our annual Christmas with family trip, and yesterday we shared meals first with my parents at their house, then at my grandmother’s house a few short miles away. On both occasions, the two generations up from us had given attention to background Christmas music. Mom and Dad had the old component system softly piping in some of our family’s old Christmas music (it’s possible mom now has it streaming – I’m not really sure!) and at Grandma’s house she similarly was playing some tunes from her old boom box that stays in the kitchen. It was probably the radio.
Both were welcome and both went entirely without mention all day long. The music was just there, softly keeping us company and setting a mood of Christmas cheer. Years ago I read a long write-up in the New Yorker about Muzak, the name brand of the concept that pipes music into all kinds of spaces. The soundscapes they create are meant to influence behavior, generally in the direction of buying things.
Christmastime too is often an awfully commercial pursuit. But I’m happy to say that all my parents and Grandma were selling yesterday was precious family time together and making their places nice for their loved ones.
Hope yours was Merry. Ours sure was.
Thanks for reading.