Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting Into The Holiday Spirit

I have a love/hate affair with “The Holidays,” that period of time that has come to encompass the end of November, all of December and now seems to even be encroaching into January. This is not to be confused with the hate/hate relationship I have with Thanksgiving, covered in my most recent post.

Anyway, my holiday likes: hot chocolate, the abundance of food that suddenly appears at everyone’s houses, Christmas trees, gifts, snuggly hoodies, all the typical sappy stuff, etc.

What I dislike: the expectations. I feel like the holidays are so romanticized by everyone—including America’s biggest retailers—that we have come to expect it to be this magical, warm, happy, fuzzy time where everything is perfect and the sky is filled with marshmallow clouds.

I don’t like the pressure. So I get bummed out pretty easily during the holidays, probably because I’m thinking about how I’m supposed have an ecstasy-like high during this time period, when I really just feel like I do the rest of the year. Except busier. And more full.

One of the things that seems to really perpetuate these expectations: the endless spool of Christmas songs that play over and over from Thanksgiving to Christmas in pretty much every retailer, not to mention the heavy play holiday songs get on the radio. Usually, I’m not feeling it. It makes me kind of headachey. But, I don’t want to be a grinch. So, in an effort to get more into the holiday spirit this year, I’m trying to figure out my perfect holiday playlist. Unfortunately, the holiday songs that I truly, truly enjoy hearing are pretty few. So I need some suggestions. Here’s what I have so far.

Wonderful Christmas Time-Paul McCartney
Happy Christmas (War is Over)-John Lennon
Happy Christmas (War is Over)-Melissa Etheridge
O Holy Night-New Orleans musicians (coordinated by the Tipitina Foundation for the holiday episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)
Mele Kalikimaka-Bing Crosby (and yes, totally on the list just because of its inclusion in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation)

Suggest away!


Mommy Bits said...

Ooh that is a good list Loree. I would add some of the classic Christmas songs by people like Bing Crosby. Goodies like Santa Clause is Coming to town, I want a Hippopotamous for Christmas, I saw Mommy Kissing Santa, etc.

Loree said...

Unfortunately, my Christmas album compilation is off to a slow start... neither of my Happy Christmas (War is Over) selections are available on iTunes. Argh!

Melissa said...

The UK choirs always closes their Christmas concert with a Nigerian carol called Betelehemu. There's also a reggae version of Angels We Have Heard on High running out there. If you could find either of those - performed by anyone - they're both really great.

amanda said...

I have the Lennon version of Happy Christmas, I'll get it to you. There was also a free holiday iTunes download by The Bird and The Bee that's pretty festive, I think it's still on there...

Brenner said...

A song that's big-time in Baltimore: Crabs for Christmas (clip here: http://www.daviddeboy.com/samples/1.%20Crabs.mp3) Trust me.

emily said...

Nice call on the O Holy Night from Studio 60. It was the most beautiful moment on the show.

I'm working on a similar project for our office Christmas party and am including the following
so far:
-Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
-What A Wonderful World - The Ramones (probably not a true "Christmas" song, but it still puts me in the holiday mood)
-Absolutely any Christmas song performed by Billy Idol (thanks again, Laura!)

emily said...

I also always really liked Jill Sobule's cover of "Merry Christmas from the Family."

Sorry, I thought of it right after I posted the first time.

Loree said...

Great suggestions, all! I'm going to have get busy downloading over the next couple of days.

Yeah Emily, I love that rendition of O Holy Night. It was gorgeous, and I downloaded it the next day off of iTunes because I liked it so much.

Loree said...

Also, I just found the renditions of Happy Christmas that I needed on iTunes. Apparently, the song title is technically spelled "Xmas."

Greg said...

I'm hoping I missed this, but I figured it was obvious what the best rock Christmas song of all time is...

Do They Know It's Christmas Time (At All)...by Band Aid.

Also, Santa Claus is Coming to Town by The Boss.

Not a big fan of the McCartney song. I always thought he wrote it in five minutes to satisfy some kind of deal with his record company.

And the original Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen is classic.

amanda said...

Just heard this on the way to work: "The Christians and the Pagans" by Dar Williams.

Also, I liked Sarah McLachlan's Silent Night that came out last year.

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