Friday, December 05, 2008

The Best Guilt-Inducing But Still-Catchy and Quite Lovely Christmas Song That etc. etc. etc.

Christmas = food, doesn't it? The vast bulk -- pun intended -- of our Christmas traditions revolve around food. The Thanksgiving turkey that Scrooge buys for the Cratchits. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. (Do people eat the chestnuts? Or are they for the aroma? I don't know.) Candy canes. Egg nog. Fruitcake, which I personally like but which apparently nobody else in the world does. Gingerbread men (and why is gingerbread associated with Christmas, too? I've never been able to figure that out) and other Christmas cookies. Fudge. And, for modern (post-2002) people, those giant tins of popcorn that have for some reason become Christmas traditions, too.

What do other people do with those tins after they're empty? The only one I ever got has been empty for years, and is used to store my bagpipes.

Our own personal vast bulk -- see, there's the pun that maybe you didn't get -- owes itself in part to the vast bulk of Christmas traditions related to food. Food, and other overconsumption and celebrations, are integral parts of our Christmas celebrations.

Which makes it all the more surprising that Do They Know It's Christmas, by Band Aid, continues to get played. Not much, but it still continues to be played during this time of year, and because of that, people are still occasionally reminded that Africa exists, and people will occasionally wonder if Africa is still suffering from famine, and people will feel a little guilty and a little choked up picturing the starving people in Africa, something they'll do for about 4 minutes, minutes, at which point a new song comes on and people go back to doing whatever it is they were doing -- such as, in my case, shopping for just the right "North Face" backpack for Middle.

But for a few minutes, last night, I, too, was reminded that Africa existed and that people might still exist in Africa and that Africans might still be starving. All because a long long time ago, a bunch of rock stars that most people had never heard of got together and recorded The Best Guilt-Inducing But Still-Catchy and Quite Lovely Christmas Song That is are not an old standard, "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," "Jingle Bell Rock," or "Run Run Rudolph."

No jokes this time. It's not really a joking-around kind of song, is it? Instead, I'll suggest that you listen to that song, that you get the chills, like I do, when Bono howls "Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you." And then while you're feeling choked up, remember that, yes, kids are still starving in Africa, and you can help them. Go to the International Disaster Emergency Service program -- it got four stars from Charity Navigator -- to learn how to help fight hunger around the world.

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