We at Christmas Spirit Fail hang our homburg in the District of Columbia, where we have for several years now enjoyed a festive and charming Christmas season, accented by the “national” Christmas trees and other public displays. (The wreaths at Union Station may be our favorite.)
And since there’s no chance that a pleasant thing won’t get ruined by attempts to memorialize it in song:
The music alone makes our teeth ache, but the lyrics are worse: like a cut-rate Peggy Noonan under a close deadline to bang out a religious-patriotic holiday column, Maura Sullivan (the singer) and John London’s syrupy verse places even Christmas under the thumb of our federal frolic-masters in “America’s hometown.”
(That’s right: they call it “America’s hometown.” Notwithstanding the fact that at least half of D.C. area residents were born somewhere else, and often call that place their hometown, what claim does the federal city have of being the place where Americans devote their patriotic affection? I think Philly has a much better claim.)
And the chorus ought to offend every red-blooded American:
It’s Christmas Eve in Washington,
It’s here that freedom lives,
And peace can stand her ground.
It’s Christmas Eve in Washington
Our joyous wish to you
Is for peace, love & laughter,
To last the whole year through.
As if Washington is home to the Strategic Freedom and Peace Reserve, from which the government generously dispenses a limited quantity to the rest of the country each year. . . . Oh, wait. That does sound pretty accurate.
If you can stand to learn even more about “Christmas Eve in Washington,” the singer has set up a dedicated website for it. Fun fact: the song was written in about 20 minutes, and it shows! It was also written several verses too long. What, you mean there are lines worse than “Snowmen peeking through the windows/It’s warm with love inside”?
And that’s how “Christmas Eve in Washington” has been making Washingtonians grimace now for 28 years.
P.S. to Maura: there’s no star on the Capitol dome.