Tag Archives: holidays

Christmas music: can you really overplay it?

As soon as November first rolls around, you start to hear it. It starts off  playing in drug stores and maybe the occasional Walmart, but as Thanksgiving gets closer, it becomes nearly impossible to so much as turn on a car radio without having the cheery Christmas hits fill your vehicle.

The verdict is split. Some people wish Christmas music would be kept safely in the confines of the week leading up to the big holiday, while others want to get their “Jingle Bell Rock” on the moment the leaves start to turn color. Those annoyed by the Christmas hits usually have the same complaint- it’s not that they dislike the music but it’s simply overplayed. They get annoyed by Christmas music the same way you groan every time you can’t escape Adele’s “Hello”, no matter how many times you change the radio station.

While I myself turn on the “all Christmas, all the time” radio station the second it starts up each year, I understand why those who find themselves cringing every time they walk into a department store in the November- December time period feel the way they do.

After all, Christmas music is essentially the same handful of songs on repeat just performed in different ways by different artists. Seriously, if you have one Christmas album, you have them all. Sure there are some original songs that are always enjoyable, but most of the time you can bet on hearing “Winter Wonderland” or “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer” several times in one sitting.

For those of you who still can’t understand the plight of these tortured souls, imagine hearing today’s hits, “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Same Old Love” by Selena Gomez, or “Hello” by Adele played on an infinite, cheery loop, each recording played by a different artist who tries to change vocal inflections here or there but really never strays from the original track. Pretty gruesome sounding, right?

If you, like me, love Christmas so much that even Alvin and the Chipmunks’ versions of the classic songs don’t bother you, then great, but if you know people who are annoyed by the holiday music, maybe change up your playlist just a tad when you invite them over.

Top 5 best Christmas movies

As we enter December, we enter the Christmas season. While baking cookies and eating too much fudge is great, the best way to get into the holiday spirit is by watching those classic Christmas movies.

We look forward to them every year, but there are so many, who knows what to watch. Here’s a list of the top 5 best Christmas movies (in my humble opinion) that you need to watch this holiday season.

1) The Santa Clause

santa clause
“A magical story of a regular dad who finds himself turning into the big man himself, Santa Claus.”

Starring the wonderful Tim Allen, “The Santa Clause” is the magical story of a regular dad who finds himself turning into the big man himself, Santa Claus, all due to a Christmas Eve misunderstanding. Although the movie was released in the 90s, it’s still a must-watch today.

2) Elf

Will Ferrell stars in this witty fan favorite about a human baby who is adopted by one of Santa’s elves. Buddy grows up his whole life believing himself to be an elf despite the fact that he towers over his “fellow” elves and can’t make a toy to save his life. Upon discovering that he is indeed a human being, Buddy sets off to New York City to find his biological father and bring Christmas spirit back to the jaded city.

3) Eloise At Christmastime

The Eloise movies revolve around a wild yet lovable six year old girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City under the supervision of her loving Nanny (Julie Andrews). “Eloise At Christmastime” is the sequel to the original movie “Eloise At The Plaza” (based on the best selling children’s book). In this installment, Eloise grows suspicious when the Plaza’s owner’s daughter returns to New York with her sketchy fiancé for a Christmas Eve wedding. The movie is funny and charming and surprisingly receives little notoriety around Christmas despite being one of the best Christmas movies I’ve ever seen. Despite being marketed towards children, “Eloise At Christmastime” is entertaining for the whole family.

4) Miracle on 34th Street

Both the original movie and the remake are phenomenal when it comes to “Miracle on 34th Street”- a heartwarming movie about what happens when Santa Claus himself befriends a young, cynical girl. This movie will make everyone a believer again despite when you stopped writing letters to Santa.

5) The Polar Express

This Tom Hanks classic brings to life the amazingly written and illustrated children’s book, “The Polar Express”. The movie is so well done and true to the original illustrations that you feel as if you’re truly inside the book. The story revolves around a boy who has stopped believing in Santa. One Christmas Eve, he is awoken by the sound of a train plowing down his street. Upon running outside and meeting the conductor, he discovers that the train is a magic train that takes children to the North Pole every Christmas Eve to meet Santa. As the boy sets off on the train ride he meets new friends and rediscovers the Christmas spirit.

So make a cup of hot chocolate, rent some movies, and start getting in the Christmas spirit.

The flip side of Halloween costumes

Halloween is right around the corner, and you can already feel campus abuzz with activity and excitement. Though some might argue that the holiday is childish, many people feel as though it invigorates them in some way. It makes October exciting and worthwhile, and the milestone makes it that much easier to get through the month.

Personally, Halloween is and always will be my favorite holiday. That being said, as I’ve grown up, I feel myself being able to take a step back and look at it with a hint of skepticism.

As a child, I’d never noticed all the things wrong with Halloween — or, more specifically, the costumes. I never saw dressing in a kimono for the night, or painting on a different skin color, as problematic. That was, until I saw concerns being raised over social media.

Being who I am — hard-headed and always fighting to voice my opinion on any subject — it was hard for me to come to terms with the racism and other basic discrimination that comes with the Halloween costumes that are produced in bulk.

As a white female, it didn’t have any effect on me. Of course, if it had no effect on me, and I wondered how could it have an effect on anyone else? It was just a costume for Pete’s sake, how dangerous could it be?

Well the short answer, I’ve come to find out, is very.

Are politically incorrect costumes becoming the Halloween norm? Graphic from college Humor
Are politically incorrect costumes becoming the Halloween norm? Graphic from College Humor

Black face, brown face, and yellow face have been issues during Halloween probably for as long as the commercialized part of the holiday has been around. The thing is, it’s 2015– not 1964.

Nowadays, it’s a lot less obvious as we see kids play pretend as Cowboys & Indians all the time and kimono knock offs are being sold in Forever21 to pass as a fashion trend. We’re becoming accustomed to seeing these things everywhere and the shock factor has worn off and worn down until there’s basically nothing left.

These are now everyday occurrences and most people have no idea the effect it’s having on the specific culture it comes from. Some people aren’t bothered by it, but others are. You making light of a culture for personal gain, even if it’s personal gain as simple as being a “joke” for a singular night, is cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is dangerous in several different ways. Not only does it erase and invalidate a culture, but it erases and invalidates the everyday experiences that people of certain races undergo because of skin color or origin.

While you can shed your costume at the end of the day, people of color or different cultures are stuck with all of the racist comments at the end of the day.

Before you buy a costume this year, take a look around, check out the internet. Make sure that your costume is something you enjoy that everyone else can enjoy too.

A culture is not a costume.

From our perspective: Lay off, fat man

Every year, it seems the holiday season starts a little earlier than the last.  Stores are stocked with Christmas decorations by Halloween and seasonal music can be heard before Thanksgiving.  Even the holiday shopping season kicked off earlier than usual.   We at Whim believe the holiday season needs to stay with its proper time of the year before it begins to lose its meaning and significance. Continue reading From our perspective: Lay off, fat man

From our perspective: A calendar with no holidays

As college students, we can’t help but notice other students heading home for their fall break. Here at Radford University, no such break exists. In fact, when the academic calendar is closely examined, it’s clear that RU has very few breaks and scheduled holidays. Continue reading From our perspective: A calendar with no holidays

Bring on the holidays!

I’m sick and tired of hearing people complaining about Christmas. I have worked in retail for the holidays since high school, so I realize that it comes earlier every year. Every year, customers complain that it keeps getting earlier and earlier. Well guess what, if you’re complaining about how Christmas is overshadowing Thanksgiving, gripe to someone who cares. I love Thanksgiving, but please remember that shortly after that lovely dinner, we exterminated the Native Americans and sent those left to reservations.

I could go on and on about how our culture has perverted the birth of Christ into a materialistic haven, but we’ve all heard it before. The nature of Christmas is not going to change anytime soon, so embrace it. I love walking through the mall with its beautiful decorations, sipping piping hot coffee or hot chocolate. I love the cheery mugs at Starbucks. I love the cheesy Christmas stockings for my dog.

Radford's fountain decorated for the holidays. Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

But the best part of the holiday season isn’t material at all. It’s the giddy feeling you get when you realize Christmas is right around the corner. It’s sincerely magical. Your friends and family become the most important thing, even if you forgot for a short time. You’re reminded of what’s important and what’s not.

With a bad economy and difficult times, the holidays should be a time to feel lucky and loved, not stressed out about what you can’t buy. Actually, with wallets being significantly thinner than before, I think it makes the time more special. Instead of wasting money on a lot of gifts, it makes you really consider what you’re buying to make it special.

This time of year is known as the “season of giving.” Even though, admittedly, it has warped into a season of receiving, I hope we can all realize giving makes you feel so much better than receiving. I’ll give you an example.

Photo from Creative Commons.

Last winter I was driving through Fairlawn and passed the Wal-Mart parking lot. I noticed not one, but two people sitting with signs claiming homelessness and hunger. The sad part was that these people were not together and one had a German Shepherd. While I’ve always been told not to give the homeless money, I went home and did the best thing I could think of: I made them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This was before I had my dog Hank so I didn’t have any dog food to spare. Instead, I “borrowed” some dog treats from my roommate.

I rushed back to the parking lot and delivered the goods. The looks of graciousness and relief on their faces was good enough for me. The guy working at the car wash actually came over and shook my hand for my good deed! I’m sharing this story not for praise, but to show how vivid the memory still is for me. It’s much more vivid than a memory of any present I received (well, maybe except my autographed Taylor Swift photo).

This season can bring out the very best in people and that’s what I love most. I even love my job more during the holidays. It’s stressful and busy, but I enjoy the chance to brighten someone’s day just because the season has brightened mine! In my opinion, Christmas can come any time of year it wants.

Merry Christmas!

Top 10 holiday movies of all time

It’s getting to that time of year where, once again, the airwaves will be clogged with holiday films. Using the Rotten Tomatoes movies list, we are going to count down the top 10 best holiday movies.

10. “The Santa Clause”

This movie was released in 1994, and has a rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. It stars Tim Allen who, through a series of events, kills Santa and is forced to take Santa’s place on Christmas Eve. The movie is a comedy that received decent critical reviews.

"The Santa Clause." Photo from Creative Commons.

9. “Elf”

Released in 2003 with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 79%, this comedy stars Will Ferrell as a human that had been rescued by Santa. Leaving Santa’s workshop, he sets out to find his biological father in New York City.

"Elf." Photo from Creative Commons.

8.”While You Were Sleeping”

Released in 1995 and given an 85% by Rotten Tomatoes, this romantic comedy stars Sandra Bullock as Lucy Moderatz, a woman who saves a man from being killed. Posing as his fiancée, she visits the man she rescued, who is now in a coma, waiting to see what will happen to him.

"While You Were Sleeping." Photo from Creative Commons.

7. “A Christmas Story”

Set in the 1940s, this film follows a young boy as he attempts to convince everyone around him, most importantly Santa Claus, that he deserves his dream present, a Red Ryder BB gun. Released in 1984, this movie has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 88%.

"A Christmas Story." Photo from Creative Commons.

6. “Trading Places”

This 1983 film was given an 89% by Rotten Tomatoes. Actors Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd star in an asocial satirical piece about a snobbish investor and a wily con artist whose positions become reversed through the cold-hearted betting of millionaires.

"Trading Places." Photo from Creative Commons.

5. “It’s a Wonderful Life”

This holiday classic released in 1946 is about an angel that helps a desperate businessman, George Bailey, realize the value of life by showing him an alternative world where he never existed. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 92%.

"It's A Wonderful Life." Photo from Creative Commons.

4. “Die Hard”

Bruce Willis plays John McClane, a New York City cop taking on terrorists on Christmas Eve, in this 1988 classic action holiday film that Rotten Tomatoes gave a golden 94% rating.

"Die Hard." Photo from Creative Commons.

3. “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Imaginative yet bizarre, this 1993 holiday claymation movie made by Tim Burton follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, as he tries to bring Christmas to Halloween Town. It’s no surprise that Rotten Tomatoes gave this gem a 97%.

"The Nightmare Before Christmas." Photo from Creative Commons.

2. “Miracle on 34th Street”

This movie follows the tale of an old man claiming to be Santa. Did we mention he happens to be institutionalized? A young lawyer decides to defend him, arguing that he is the real deal. Rotten Tomatoes gave this 1947 classic a 97%.

"Miracle on 34th Street." Photo from Creative Commons.

1. “Holiday Inn”

Picture an inn that is only open on the holidays. Add two men vying for the affection of a young, up and coming performer and you’ve got this 1942 classic that Rotten Tomatoes handed a prized 100%.

"Holiday Inn." Photo from Creative Commons.

Here’s to hoping this list provided you with some great films for this holiday season!