Christmas Fullervision Style 2009

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Friday, December 25, 2009

The Story of Christmas: The Birth of Jesus Christ

The story goes, according to the books of Matthew and Luke, that Joseph of Nazareth, roughly the 58th-generation of the Holy Lineage from Adam through David, was engaged to a woman named Mary. However, when Mary (a virgin) became pregnant, Joseph had a plan to end the engagement before the child was born, as not to suggest shame upon the woman. The angel Gabriel convinced him otherwise, telling Joseph that his fiancée was carrying a child of God. So, traveling to Bethlehem to take part in a census set forth by Caesar Augustus, Joseph and the pregnant Mary needed to stop... a nearby "inn" was full, so they directed themselves to a manger, where Mary delivered the child who would be Jesus Christ. Upon Christ's birth, angels of God went forth to local shepherds and distant kings, who came in droves to pay homage to the child and offer gifts. King Herod of Jerusalem wasn't too happy and denounced claims that Christ was any king that would infringe upon his reign, so he plotted to kill the child, asking to "go and worship" him. Having heard divine warning of the plot, Mary, Joseph, and the Christ eventually fled to Egypt. The rest, as they say, is history.

Spread to pagan culures: From debauchery to holiness

As Christianity spread throughout Europe, it ran into many pagan cultures. Many of these cultures had celebrations that marked the winter and spring seasons. Christians, willing to negotiate on the issues in an effort to win over the pagans, converted the winter celebration into Christmas and the spring celebration into Easter, to mark the birth and resurrection of Christ, respectively. At first, the "Christmas" celebrations were examples of sex, drunkenness, and general debauchery until Christian purists demanded that the holiday be taken more seriously.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a legend based upon a philanthropist from circa AD 200 known as St. Nicholas of Turkey, a noted clergyman, philanthropist and (somewhat ironically) anti-paganism activist. For those of you going on Jeopardy! any time soon, he had a feast named in his honor that was originally designated on December 6; the proximity to the Christmas holiday is what caused "Santa Claus" to be lumped into the Christmas season.

However, the legend has since grown into a full-blown industry. So here's the general consensus on the legend.
Santa Claus's physical description: he is of unknown height, notably overweight, he has a long white beard and is bald. His wardrobe is almost universally red. The story of Santa Claus's origin is disputed; however, we do know that he is married to a woman known only as Mrs. Claus and that he lives in a workshop on the North Pole. (Note: Geologists may note that there are two North Poles, a geographic [covered in water and ice] and a magnetic [under an island]. Fullervision, for the sake of realistic possiblility, will argue that the workshop is on the magnetic North Pole on Bathurst Island, Nunavut, Canada. Other organizations have argued that Santa lives in northern Scandinavia.) The workshop on the North Pole is manned by elves, who are responsible for producing all of the toys in the world. (This despite most claims that they are made by other diminuted people-- the Chinese.)
The apex of activity at the North Pole workshop comes on Christmas Eve (December 24 for those of you in Rio Linda), when all of the elves gather the toys and place them into a large sack for Santa Claus to carry around the world. The sack is carried out to a large sleigh, which is powered by nine reindeer (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph, the last with a bright red nose to guide the sleigh during inclement weather). Santa also compiles a list, from various sources, of all of the children to be considered "naughty" and undeserving of gifts. The rest of the Christian children are labeled "nice" and are rewarded with gifts from the sack. The sleigh navigates in a fashion so that it arrives at the children's houses at about midnight local time.

Chanukkah (December 11-19)

Chanukkah, also spelled Chanukah or Hanukkah, is celebrated December 11-19 this year, which marks an average start. The relatively minor Jewish holiday is noted so often because it lands in roughly the same time frame as Christmas, one of the most major Christian holidays, and due to the fact that many famous media personalities are Jewish (see Adam Sandler's line of "Hanukkah Songs") The story of this holiday involves a belief that divine intervention allowed one day's worth of temple oil to last for eight days. The custom is symbolized by lighting a menorah of nine candles, one master candle to light the other eight, one for each day. Also involved is a game of dreidel-spinning (the dreidel being a top with four sides, each with Hebrew lettering) and feasts including deep-fried potato latkes (pancake-like creations).

Kwanzaa: It's fake, it's racist, I don't even consider it a holiday.

Media Guide

Radio: Holiday Music Watch

The following outlets are expected to carry Christmas music this year.  Expect most American stations to change some time on Friday, November 20, 2009.
UPDATE 11/16 7 a.m.: Of all the cross-town rivalries, the WJYE-WTSS Christmas music rivalry is always one of the most amusing. WJYE had already made public its intentions to switch over to Christmas music at 7 a.m. on Monday, November 16 (right around when they usually do). They did, true to their word, and even brought in Donny Osmond to kick off the music. WTSS was more subtle: switching in the middle of the night before, segueing from Lady Gaga into Celine Dion... blech. These two stations always change within a few hours of each other, usually minutes. Kudos to WJYE for sticking to their guns and realizing a few overnight hours wasn't worth it.
UPDATE 11/21 midnight: Apparently WRMM jumped the gun about 7 hours, and switched at 5 p.m... very abruptly, too: from Steve Winwood's "Back in the High Life Again" straight into "The Christmas Shoes..." definitely NOT the song I'd pick to start off a Christmas music marathon at all.
Programming and playlists being watched with help from Yes.com, Scott Fybush and CNYRadio.com

Television

Please note that all times listed are subject to change. As the holiday approaches, I will update dates and times as well as remove any dropped specials.
Most notable television specials, by network (NOTE: This list is missing some dates. I apologize.)
Television Sports (Christmas Eve/Christmas Day)


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Dedicated to the memory of Andrea C. Morton (1988-2009)

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