Cybernaut 

Getting into the spirit

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 couldn’t 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 won’t be able to understand why they can’t get into the same Christmas specials I grew up watching, the same way my parents couldn’t understand why I don’t like Egg Nog, and listening to Christmas Carols over the radio. In fact, I wouldn’t 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 don’t remember exactly how these tunes go, you can also listen to the music and sing along – just don’t 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 isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

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