Monday, November 24, 2014

A difference between Chicago and San Francisco

United baggage area at O'Hare on 20 Nov 2014
I spent last week visiting my father in the San Francisco Bay Area, and one thing really struck me: there was no Christmas music on any of the radio stations out there. In the Chicagoland area, we have our local "lite music" station cranking out the Burl Ives and Amy Grant by mid-November at the latest. When I came through the San Francisco International Airport to return on the 20th, I saw no seasonal decorations, but at O'Hare International Airport the oversized Christmas ornaments were up and a lit tree sat next to the baggage claim area. Later, I found that indeed Chicago had Christmas music on the radio.

Chicago's early holiday radio isn't just part of the commercialism that wants us to start buying early. A few years ago, a local radio station announced that they would switch to all holiday music as soon as a certain fundraising goal was reached, benefiting a worthy charity. Listeners hit the goal with enthusiasm and the station started its "Holiday Lite" programming on November 9th.

I grew up in the SFO Bay Area (Walnut Creek to be exact), and never noticed any lack of Yuletide spirit, but after living in Chicago for 21 years, I see the difference. I love godless San Francisco, but as much as I'll always love the West Coast and see it as my first home, I'm glad to live in the land of Christmas music before Thanksgiving Day. I have a child's adoration of Christmas and the way they do it in the Midwest feels right to me. So there. 

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