tolerable holiday entertainments
That said, when attending an event during which the performer encourages the audience to join in a holiday sing-a-long I have to admit I don't hate it as much as I do the rest of the year.
Maybe it has to do with the communal aspect of the singing that makes it acceptable to me. There is something uniting about hundreds of people joining together to sing a familiar and (maybe) even an inspirational song.
Sing-alongs are at the bottom rung of my tolerance for holiday cheer. I prefer things that encourage me to look inward at the holidays.
For me that is mostly accomplished by listening to classical music. I think it is because much of the classical music repertoire has been around for a long time - in many cases hundreds and hundreds of years. I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith in the era of Latin masses and when the Gregorian chants were still in fashion. Obviously that upbringing didn't make me a better, kinder person but it did instill in me a love of ritual.
I love to be involved with any art form that has endured - whether is be a play first performed by the Greeks or Roman or music that originated in the Dark Ages. There is something about the fact that art survives that offers me hope during this holiday season.
And after all, Christmas really is a birthday celebration that's been going on for slightly over tw0-thousand years.