Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two days, I’m sure you’ve heard the news. We here in the US have elected a new president, and somehow, someway, that person is Donald Trump. That’s put me in a weird headspace. On the one hand, I feel an urgent pull to align myself with those whose rights are now in danger. Our country is now in the hands of a regime which has explicitly set its sights against a number of people, but hopefully the cultural tide that’s been growing over the past eight years will work to cushion the blow. It’s a real “hope for the best, expect the worst” situation. On the other hand, all of this makes me want to retreat into my happy place, which just so happens to be a podcast where I blab about Christmas movies.
We try hard to keep this site apolitical and secular for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the simple fact that it’s just no fun poking fun at Jesus. There is definitely a line we draw for our curmudgeony asses, and that line is the “reason for the season”. And it’s not because any of us here are even particularly religious. (For my part, I was raised Southern Baptist. For a little while, at least.) No, it’s simply more fun to rip apart movies that try so hard to tap into the True Meaning of Christmas that they wouldn’t know Peace on Earth if it came knocking on their door. Filmmakers get this stuff so wrong so often that this podcast will never ever run out of cannon fodder.
And yet, we’ve elected a president who just a year ago vowed to win the War on Christmas like it’s a fucking contest.
Here’s where I have a problem. I am well aware that Christmas Creep is an actual phenomenon that happens every year, and many people (myself included) find this offensive. Stores prepare for Christmas earlier and earlier each year, forcing other holidays to follow suit. Halloween candy now shows up in the stores in August, for fuck’s sake. August! The month where everything good and beautiful in this world melts under the oppressive heat of a blazing sun. Yes, it’s ridiculous, and I 100% understand every single person who feels the commercial force of The Holidays infringing upon their enjoyment of Halloween. I get it, and I am with you. In a perfect world, Halloween would start on October 1st and end the week before Thanksgiving.
But it’s hard for me to reconcile that with the simple and honest fact that I genuinely love Christmas. The holiday season is the one time of year that seeps into my bones and fills me with a deep and unyielding joy, and this podcast is my attempt to carry a little bit of that joy with me throughout the year.
We brighten up the chilly darkness with twinkling lights and warm drinks. We break out a new set of music to help us while away the hours until the spring thaw. As the world around us appears to wither and die, we give each other gifts to help soothe the pain. Even if we don’t do it out of religious observance, we do it because the night is dark and full of terrors. We do it because it’s the only way all of us will make it through to the spring. That may not be as explicitly true as it was centuries ago, but what can I say? Old habits die hard.
So when our new president-elect pledges to make people say “Merry Christmas” again, it sends a chill up my spine. America was founded on the idea that the church stands on one side, the state stands on the other side, and never the twain shall meet. And yet our country is about to be run by a party that legislates based on religious conviction. No one should be forced to observe Christmas, or any other holiday for that matter. Hell, no one should be forced to listen to our podcast in June. If you get sick of hearing us prattle on about talking dogs saving Santa or whatever in the oppressive heat of Summer, you have my blessing to drop the show and come back in December. We’ll be here.
I would never dream of forcing this holiday or this podcast on anyone, my co-hosts notwithstanding. (Sorry not sorry, Karyn and Johnny-5.) The holidays are supposed to bring out the best in humanity, and every year I want so badly to help make that happen, even if just a tiny bit. This year more than ever, we desperately need a little humanity.
I hope you’ll join us as we embark on our second holiday season as a Christmas movie podcast. We have some fun, weird episodes lined up through the end of the year. But if you don’t celebrate Christmas, or can’t stand the thought of one more person pretending to make merry in a time of utter disillusionment, I understand. This podcast is my own personal happy place, and I expect I’ll be spending a lot of time here over the next few years. As the holidays approach, if you need a happy place too, our door is always open.
Very well-written, Joe. I had my day of mourning yesterday, and now I’m ready to tackle the world. Let’s make some silly podcasts and provide some quality escapism for our little corner of the internet.
I will gleefully poop on movies from all holidays, it’s just the clown shoes who make movies think they all need to be about Christmas. (Note: I will not poop on Eight Crazy Nights because that would involve watching an Adam Sandler movie made after 1996)