It’s my fourth year writing this annual installment dedicated to all things U2 Christmas, and it’s pretty cathartic to reflect on the changes that have taken place over that time. After all, it’s been four years of nonstop touring – not standard legacy act touring, but three different tours in four years, as one would only expect from the greatest band on planet earth. Some reflections on U2 Christmases past:
- In December 2015, I+E had just concluded. With the most personal tour in U2 history wrapped and a year of defending the band against the petty grumblings of irritable iTunes users now fading in the rearview mirror, fans were quite satiated. U2 had, as political commentators like to say, energized the base that year. And yet, who could have predicted at that point that it would be the first in a series of three tours? If you have documented proof that you saw it coming back then, I’ll send you a bootleg or something (for real!).
- Christmas 2015 also marked the launch of contests designed to support (RED) ahead of World AIDS Day. Ride a Bike with Bono would be the first of many in this annual sweepstakes, with U2 Plays Just for You (2016) and Play Minigolf with U2 (2017) to follow. Point of interest: The 2018 (RED) contest, Bono and Lady Gaga Write a Song About You, is not facilitated by Omaze as the previous contests were. Instead, the $10 donation entries are submitted at the (RED) Crowdrise page.
- One year later in 2016, the guys were taking a break but we loved our Pink Adam in a Santa hat stickers. Briefly, it seemed the only U2 venture going around Christmastime that year was this food tech startup. And then, it happened: December 25, 2016, U2 released a very special Christmas (see what I did there?) video announcement that teased the Joshua Tree 2017 Tour. It was a bonafide Christmas miracle, and I do not make light of Christmas miracles. If you thought there was no way U2 could top the I+E tour, you were wounded by fear and injured in doubt in 2017 and you loved every second of it, even if you got in a social media scuffle or two revolving around GA line protocol. But it all started with that Christmas day 2016 announcement.
- In 2017, JT30 had concluded and there was silence from the band through Christmas. Remember, it was not until January 2018 that Experience + Innocence Tour was announced. But as a holiday treat, fans were able to see Bono’s two personally designed Hewson family Christmas cards. Check them out in the 2017 edition of A Very U2 Christmas, and be on the lookout for this year’s; you never know if they might surface somewhere on social media!
And here we are in 2018. “There you still are; there we still are. What a blessing.” Maybe Bono will go back to busking this year, maybe he won’t. But there’s a lot to be thankful for regardless.
Speaking of cards: One of the loveliest U2 fans around, Elsha Stockseth, has her 2018 hEArt Cards available now. She has six different styles; some for Christmas, some not, but all adorable and personally made by Elsha. As “The Biggest Little U2 Fan in the World,” Elsha is an inspiration to many, overcoming obstacles and spreading cheer while living with a form of muscular dystrophy. The band loves her and we do too!
“Some of the proceeds go to help me sponsor a boy in Kenya,” Elsha says.
“I just want to pay it forward for the love the U2 band, crew and family have shown me in the past 13 years. I have felt the ‘healing hands of love’ and #IGoThereWithYou.”
Elsha wants fans to know there are hEArt cards still available for 2018, and donations can be made by sending her a Facebook message. “The impossible is possible,” she says.
With that in mind: I wish you a hopeful Christmas; I wish you a brave new year! See you in 2019.