Regardless of your spiritual allegiance or thoughts regarding freezing temperatures, the winter/holiday season is an interesting one. There’s something about this period of the calendar year that just feels different from everything else. Summer has the vibe and energy of hot, sticky freedom; spring lives and breathes with the promise of a reawakening; and fall is all about getting in line and preparation. Winter, though, is slightly more splintered.
Some people see Christmas/Hanukkah/the Winter Solstice/Festivus as a time for family and friends and celebrating the inherent warmth and goodness in us all. Others view these as tired traditions, cooked up to fuel rampant consumerism and act as a means of torture by making you choose between frostbite and spending time with Uncle Maurice. And others just try to get by through the oceans of eggnog and terrible, terrible sweaters. But we here at CoS believe you don’t have to choose between being jolly and celebrating something earnest and true. While Santa Claus may be giving gifts of toys and goodies, we’re giving the gifts of hope and creativity with our annual Holiday Gift Guide. It’s way better than that fire truck you wanted for Xmas ’96.
Now you may be asking yourself, “How does just another list of items to buy offer up anything of any real value?” Well, children, come sit down by the fire as we weave our explanation like popcorn strings on a Christmas tree. It’s true that some of these music-related gifts are just fun or silly, like the Official DEVO Yellow Suit (page eight) or the Illustrated “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G. (page seven). But the rest of the gifts, ranging from the Dinosaur, Jr. Cassette Trilogy (page two) to the Z.vex Effects Instant guitar petal (page nine) all have slightly more value than being great gag gifts (or to wear as kickin’ costumes next Halloween). These may be material goods, and sometimes overpriced material goods at that, but don’t forget what you’re ACTUALLY giving: music. Not just sounds or noise that are either enjoyable or total rubbish, but something that can reshape emotions and create new, life-altering experiences for someone.
By giving something like The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition DVD, you’re telling someone you love, “Hey, this could change your life for the better and make you see things in a whole new way.” That is the promise of music, why people obsess over it and try to cram every sound and every tiny detail and unimportant contextual nuance into a $17 DVD or a $140 box set or a $12 CD. It’s one gift that can actually make someone’s life better and spread honest-to-goodness cheer in a time of year when people cram boxes with meaningless ties and perfume sets that dilute the reason for the season. Music is the one thing that transcends all the junk of the holiday season, like a red-nosed reindeer through a blizzard, to get at the heart of why we celebrate in the first place: connecting with people on a truly deep, meaningful level and cherishing those aforementioned bonds.
So whether you’re buying for yourself or a loved one, take a good, hard look through our Holiday Gift Guide and see if you can spread a little ho-ho-happiness. That way, you’re giving someone special something unique that they could never find elsewhere. And if they re-gift it to you next year, then that’s cool too, right?
P.S. – From ours to yours, have a safe and prosperous holiday season.
P.P.S. – Be sure to bookmark our guide and check back often as we’ll be posting new ideas throughout the holiday season.