Once upon a time, in a place not too far away, there was a town called, umm, Meantown, and it was run by a very mean pair called, uhh, Mr. and Mrs. Crunch. They did some pretty sour things, but the rottenest thing they ever did was to ban singing of any sort around the holidays. People could exchange gifts, and they could drink eggnog till they were blue in the face, but no one was allowed to raise a voice in joyful sound. Offenders were banished for life to the Dark Forest. Now this . . .
Uncle R.D., why were Mr. and Mrs. Crunch so mean? And was the Dark Forest really dark? And why didn't the people just sing softly in their showers? And what exactly was the per capita income in Meantown?
Don't know. Yes. Can't say. And haven't a clue ...
. . . Now this silence weighed heavily on the townsfolk. The holidays just weren't the same if you couldn't sing, and they all started to be mean to one another, which pleased Mr. and Mrs. Crunch mightily. The parties became boring, and pretty soon there were no parties. There was no laughter, no smiles. People continued to buy gifts, more and more expensive gifts, but there was no joy in the giving. They had become substitutes for the things that really mattered.