Once upon a time, 'round about 1995, irony crept into our holiday celebrations, and warbling loudly or wearing a snowman-laden shirt had to be done with a wink and a nod.
Of course the holidays have always had a dash of humor and satire, but try to rock a reindeer-fronted knit jumper these days and all you'll be asked is "so where's the ugly sweater party?"
You can keep the humor and set the irony aside, though, at one of Southern California's sweetest, come-together-iest, sing-loud-liest nights, an event that's all about donning your Donner-cute reindeer sweater and crooning to the sappiest of carols, without apologizing that you know all the words.
And even if you don't know all the words at The Music Center's annual Holiday Sing-Along, that's okay, too; lyric sheets are handed out, to ensure you don't accidentally sing "later on, we'll perspire, as we dream by the fire" (instead of "conspire," of course).
Will "Winter Wonderland" be one of the songs taken on at the free event? There'll be many chestnuts in the bunch, including some chestnuts that actually contain the word "chestnut" in a stanza or two.
We like our Christmas carols full of chestnut imagery, clearly, and we like our carol-focused nights to be at no cost. Ah, but check this: You will need a ticket, and those tickets will be handed out starting at 6 o'clock in the evening on Friday, Dec. 18.
If you're saving a place for a friend in line when organizers start distributing tickets, your pal may get as blue as "Blue Christmas." You need to actually physically be there, in line, to nab an entry. And telling organizers that your friend is caught in a reindeer traffic jam will not cut mustard.
Or chestnut dip, if you prefer.
It's one of the grandest of the Grand Park-adjacent doings downtown, and one of the most cheerful. Thus we're not telling you not to have some satiric impulses about the season, or a little humor or snarkiness, if you want.
But must ever last ounce of irony be deployed upon the person in the blinking Christmas sweater? What if that is the reveler's favorite piece of clothing?
Best shake their hand in congratulations, clasp their shoulder with fondness, and sing in the season, for free, by the big tree at Music Center Plaza.