As we approach and pass Thanksgiving, retailers, radio stations and cable services have already prepared for the next tradition: inundating the masses with holiday-themed advertising, music, and movies.

Whether it be Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, there is a song waiting to be played or a movie waiting to be shown on a growing list of devices and services. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as much of this content conjures memories of the past, joy for the present, and hope for the future. But with all this content there is always debate and yes, even controversy. For example, is the classic Bruce Willis movie “Die Hard” considered a holiday movie because the story is set around a company holiday party? For this blog edition we will stay away from any controversy and focus on some perhaps unknown facts regarding holiday entertainment.  So, as you watch a favorite movie or listen to a classic (new or old) song, consider . . .

It’s a Wonderful Life – while generally considered the most popular holiday movie of all time, the path to the top spot may be different than you thought. Following its release at the box office in 1946, the movie put Director Frank Capra in a deep financial hole of over $500,000, or nearly $8 million in today’s money! The movie clearly was not a major hit and did not achieve its current level of popularity until the original copyright ended in 1974, when it became royalty free and available to anyone who wanted to use it or televise it. The free reign stayed this way until 1994 and this period of unfettered use was the driving force in boosting both viewership and popularity.

Top Holiday Song? – Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” has held the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for the highest selling single of all time, with over 50 million sales worldwide. But times obviously change, including the way songs and recordings are disseminated to and viewed by the public. Whereas Mr. Crosby’s sales historically came from record purchases, recordings today reach audiences much quicker and are not only more affordable, but also more easily accessible. Mariah Carey introduced her song “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in 1995 and with the help of digital downloads, has taken holiday music listening to new heights. As an example, since Spotify (a digital music and video service) was launched in 2008, the song has been played an estimated 1.4 billion times. In total and even though artists make a fraction of a penny for each download, the volume of downloads and streams can be none-the-less very rewarding. And there is no questioning the impact of this holiday song on Ms. Carey’s career. Through royalties and sponsorships, the song earns Ms. Carey an estimated annual earning of over $3 million, and total earnings since the song’s release have been nearly $60 million.  So, what are you waiting for?  Sit down and write a holiday song and maybe it will become a classic!

Darien does a great job helping celebrate the holidays, with a variety of groups and organizations providing some unique entertainment. For example, the Darien Library offers a robust list of movies and special events targeted to both young and old. In particular, on Sunday December 3rd, At Home In Darien is partnering with the library to provide a special guided tour of the library’s “Lit Tree Lane: A Literary Holiday Celebration” display, where seniors will receive a special 45-minute tour of holiday trees specially decorated by local organizations. Snacks will be provided to participating seniors, followed by a special performance by the group Acabella. Call us at (203) 655-2227 to reserve your spot.

But where can you find a consolidated a list of other special events occurring around town?

Did you know that At Home In Darien prepares and distributes a free Monthly Calendar of Events that combines and details noteworthy events happening each month with some of our partners including the Darien Library, the Mather Center, the Darien Community Association, AARP, and the town’s Human Services group among others? If you are a Darien senior and are not currently receiving this calendar, then you should! You can receive it either via email or through USPS mailing. Please call At Home In Darien at (203) 655-2227 and we will add you to the distribution list. And of course, please also call us if you need transportation to any event in Darien, or to any destination in Stamford, Norwalk, or New Canaan.

 (one final thing . . . the movie “Die Hard” is NOT a holiday movie!)