For my parents, the Christmas spirit was awakened with eggnog, singing Christmas carols, family celebrations, huge dinners, and a roaring fire in the hearth, and family-themed radio programs. That was the Christmas they wanted for me, although their version of Christmas couldnt keep up with the times.
For me, the Christmas spirit was awakened by televised Christmas specials, like the Grinch who Stole Christmas (the Walter Mathau narrated version, not the awful Jim Carrey movie), Merry Christmas Charlie Brown, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Raindeer, the Little Drummer Boy, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, and the Jim Henson Christmas, in which all the characters from Sesame Street, The Muppets and Fraggle Rock all come together in one house on Christmas Eve my personal favourite.
With each successive Christmas, we seem to get further away from the true meaning of the holiday. If and when I have kids, I probably wont be able to understand why they cant get into the same Christmas specials I grew up watching, the same way my parents couldnt understand why I dont like Egg Nog, and listening to Christmas Carols over the radio. In fact, I wouldnt be surprised if I was already dating myself.
If Christmas spirit follows the technology family time gave way to radio, radio gave way to television then the ability to awaken the Christmas spirit should exist somewhere on the Internet.
I decided to investigate using the Google search engine as a starting point, typing in the words "Christmas spirit."
Popularity is one of the parameters Google uses to rank search results, so I have to suppose that a lot of people are forgetting the words to the old-time Christmas Carols.
The top-ranked site was Christmas-Carols.net (www.christmas-carols.net), which has the words for all the carols, from the runaway hit Frosty the Snowman to the wildly unpopular Ding Dong! Merrily on High. From the humorous All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth and Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, to the slow and sombre Angels We Have Heard On High and From Heaven Above to Earth I Come.
If you dont remember exactly how these tunes go, you can also listen to the music and sing along just dont do it at work, because "Christmas" is politically incorrect this year and you might offend somebody.
Another site that cropped up in the search at number three (number two was a company that makes personalized Christmas Ornaments) was the Our Christmas Spirit Homepage ( www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ranch/3065/
A family in San Jose, California has gotten into the Christmas Spirit by decorating their home with more than 20,000 Christmas Lights. The house quickly became a local attraction, so the family decided to turn their home into a drop-off centre for the local food bank. Now isnt that what Christmas is all about?
The site hasnt been updated in a while, and I dont know if they were allowed to continue the program through the energy crisis in California, but it was a commendable effort nonetheless.
A little further down the Google list in fifth position is the Christmas Webring (www.christmaswebring.com), a collection of links to thousands of Christmas-themed Web sites it you can get past the ugly yellow and green graphics (Christmas colours, people!) and the pop-up ads.
Click on the link to the Site List at the bottom of the page, and youll find that there are only 276 sites in the webring, not thousands. Still, when it comes to tacky Christmas ornaments, this is a gold mine.
On the first page, the first entry is for Meat Loafs Christmas Village. "If youre a fan of Meat Loaf and his music, youll love his Christmas Village."
It looks like Meat Loaf could use a few more fans these days because the site looks like it was put together by a 12-year-old.
It does feature some original Christmas poetry from Meat Loaf "A darkened Christmas for all to share/A gothic gathering of love and care/A bird of prey flies near the sleigh/Of the saint who offers Christmas Tray." Hilarious.
Youll also find links to dancing Santas, Christmas songs, and get an inside peek at the Loafs special Christmas apparently hes shooting a video for "Did I Say That" in Los Angeles, spending a few days with the family, and then heading to Florida for a concert on Dec. 27.
Other links include Meat Loafs Christmas message to his fans, a look at Loafs stocking, Christmas Coupons to give to your loved ones, and free original Meat Loaf Christmas Cards that you can send to your friends and family. Youll be the hit of Christmas.
Number two on the Christmas Webring is Chicky Doodles Christmas Dancing Pages another hilarious semi-commercial Christmas effort featuring television star Michael T. Weiss from some show called The Pretender.
Number five on the list is Santas Letters (www.Santas-Letters.com), where you can sign up for a personalized letter from Chris Kringle, plus personalized Christmas horoscopes, free birth charts, a free property marking service and check out the first name origin scrolls.
You might not find any Christmas Spirit on the Webring, but its good for a laugh.
Google also directed me to Christmas Magazine (www.christmasmagazine.com), which was probably the classiest of all the Christmas sites I visited, although there is a minor commercial aspect.
Click on the "Spirit" link and youll find poems, stories, songs, and articles on the Holidays, as well as look at Christmas traditions around the world God jul och gott nytt år, Swedish readers!
Google didnt have a lot more to offer on the topic of Christmas Sprit, although there was one link to an Amazon.com list of books, movies and music to get you into the holiday frame of mind I wont give you the full URL, because it would take up half the page.
After a little more searching, I did find the Christmas Spirit online at www.phillyburbs.com/Mongol/specials/. This site includes a listing of most of my favourite Christmas television specials, including a few Id forgotten about.
The last site that I found helpful was Christmas Recipes at www.christmasrecipe.com. You can find other good recipes and Christmas stuff at Santas Net www.santas.net/recipes, www.vegsource.com/christmas.htm, Readers Digest Canada at www.readersdigest.ca, andwww.merry-christmas.com/recipes.