Saturday, December 24, 2005

Xmas Marks the Spot

Santa's not the only one who could really use a drink right about now.As if you needed a reminder that the Christmas deadline is breathing down your neck, WTEN ran a big "Christmas Countdown" clock during their news last night. The large lower left graphic ticked off the hours, minutes, and seconds remaining before the big day. It looked pretty nutty ---and I can't imagine how much stress they created in their misguided attempt to spread good cheer. One reader, a well known local media figure, wrote to say that it reminded her of the Doomsday Clock (it's currently seven minutes to midnight), but I couldn't help but think of the National Debt Clock. Why not put a Christmas Debt clock up during your news? Now that would freak people out.

This is a good time to mention R. H. Pease's Great Variety Store. Pease's has been widely cited as the originator of the modern Christmas card, and in a new book they're pegged as early adaptors in commercializing the holiday. Jeremy Seal, in Nicholas: The Epic Journey From Saint to Santa Claus describes an 1840s woodcut showing Santa about to descend down a chimney. Written across the bag: "These toys come from R. H. Pease's, 50 Broadway, Albany." You can hear an interview with Seal on Friday's NPR Morning Edition.

Peace and joy to all ---but especially to those stuck working tomorrow.