Keeping up with a blog is not so easy once you’ve been sucked into the Christmas preparation vortex. I am just about done with my shopping. I also finally got the two family photo calendars done this past week and have made three of my planned five kinds of cookies. Luckily, Friday was my last day of work until January 5th. Words are inadequate to describe the joy of that.
Now for some long overdue content. A friend has been posting his top ten Christmas songs on Facebook the past few days and I am now going to blatantly steal that idea. Music might be my favorite part of Christmas (well, maybe after the time off, or maybe the cookies, or maybe the presents, OK it’s not my favorite thing, whatever). It helps keep me festive while prying pecan tassies out of uncooperative mini muffin tins, etc… While I enjoy the Christmas songs played on the radio, the selections can get a little monotonous. The radio station that I listened to in college used to slip Christmas songs in among the regular rotation during the holidays, which was very cool. I’ve been building up a Christmas music collection for years. My Christmas super shuffle has almost 300 songs now and I like to seek out new (at least new to me) songs every year. It was difficult to pick twelve favorites, and in fact I’m cheating and including two extras.
Honorable mention goes to these two songs that I found this year. It’s too early to tell if they’ll stand the test of time and become favorites, but this year, I’m loving them pretty hard.
“Holly Jolly Hollywood” by the Wedding Present featuring Simone White. If you know anything about David Gedge and his music of angst, this song might seem, uh, counter-intuitive? But I think it’s charming…and a fucking ear worm. “I know we’ll always be in love.”
“Deck the Halls” by Pomplamoose. Over Thanksgiving, Dave was all: “You know those music people you listen to on You Tube…they’re on TV.” And I was all: “What the hell are you talking about?” Then I saw the Hyundai commercial myself and was all: “Wow, that is awesome.” I love the “Christmas in Space” part of this song. You can download this and several other Christmas songs just for donating a book to a school.
Now for the official Logy Express list of favorite Christmas songs:
12. “Gloucestershire Wassail.” This one and number 11 are both songs I sang at the Boar’s Head dinner in University Choir (the singing group formerly known as Glee Club) back in college. I couldn’t find a version of it on You Tube that spoke to me of my Glee Club days, so here’s Blur’s version, which I was so excited to find today I could have spit.
11. “The Boar’s Head Carol.” It took awhile to find, but this version is pretty close to the way we sang this.
10. “Gaudete” by Mediaeval Baebes. Dave’s years of Latin are finally useful.
9. “Skating on the River” by Lily Frost. Damn if I can find this on You Tube or anywhere else, so here is the Amazon MP3 preview link. This cute little gem of a song is part of the “Christmas Songs” CD that I bought for the Bare Naked Ladies/Sarah McLachlan version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” but grew to love for this song, the song at number 10, and several other really good songs. There’s even a 20-minute long comedy routine which I listen to at least once in its entirety each year. This doofy Canadian guy gets 20 kids drunk at a neighbor’s Christmas party. Hilarity ensues.
8. “Gabriel’s Message” by Sting. Maybe everyone convinces themselves that the music of their youth was awesome, and that the youth today have crap taste in music, but that’s pretty much what I think. The Christmas music being forced into my ears by contemporary “artists” these days is so boring and also quite possibly auto-tuned (talking to you, Miley).
7. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” by Ray Conniff and the Ray Conniff Singers. There are so many versions of this song and I enjoy most of them. But this version adds “gaily” to the mix. How can you not love that? Ten lords a-leaping gaily! Nine ladies dancing gaily! Eight maids a-milking gaily…what???
6. “Sleigh Ride” by the Carpenters. Yeah, I’m going there. So what? Logs on the fire fill me with desire, I can’t help it. It was hard to pick just one from their two-CD Christmas collection. I used to make fun of my mother mercilessly for listening to it, but damn if it isn’t some good catchy Christmas-y shit. It just edges out the Johnny Mathis version for me, but not by much. I love how this song validates my irrational love of pumpkin pie.
5. “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney. This song was a significant part of my Christmas enjoyment as a child. I was six when it came out and I didn’t know this dude was a Beatle. All I knew was that this song sounded like Christmas.
4. “Dominick the Donkey” by Lou Monte. Somehow I got through more than 30 years of life without knowing this song existed, which is a travesty. I think I heard this for the first time on the “Sounds of the Seasons” cable TV music station. Then the Sirius Christmas channel started playing it too. Given how many great Christmas songs exist, there’s just no excuse for the number of times Sirius’ Holly is playing remakes of Wham’s “Last Christmas,” not when they could be playing more Dominick the Donkey.
3. “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano. You know, forget it. This one might just be the only Christmas song you ever need. This thing rocks and I never get sick of it.
2. “Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season” by Andy Williams. I’m sure I heard this song 8 million times in my life, but for some reason, I have no memory of hearing it before the National Tree Lighting Ceremony a friend took me to sometime in the late 90s. I remember Jose Feliciano performed, which rocked. But then this Broadway theater company (possibly included Lilith from Frasier, I can’t really remember) sang some stupid, grammatically odd song about Santa coming down the chimney down (yeah, you already said down). Then I heard the Andy Williams version, and it clicked for me. It’s hard not to be happy with Christmas-ness when this song is on. I used to enjoy making this song filthy and making my Mom cringe, but I’ve matured a little in the past couple of years and can now sing along with “whoop-de-do and dickory dock, don’t forget to hang up your sock” without wanting to change the words.
1. “Carol of the Bells (A Demonic Christmas)” by DJ Demonixx. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a version of “Carol of the Bells” I didn’t like. The natural frenetic quality of this song seems so appropriate for a holiday that most people go bananas over. Until I’ve heard this song, the Christmas season has not begun. I’ve already mentioned the story of the first time I heard this version here.