Confession: something even those of you who know me well may not know is that I dearly and deeply love Christmas music. I start listening to it the day after Thanksgiving (actually after dinner most years) and keep it up right through twelfth night (or el noche de los tres reyes if you prefer). This is something of an inherited disorder — my parents are into holiday music of all sorts and own every Christmas song Nat King Cole (a family Christmas god) ever sang. My grandmother would bribe me to learn Christmas songs to plink out on the piano for her. I have a terrible singing voice, but nonetheless, always sang along.
As is our custom every some years, Paul and I put together a playlist of Christmas / Holiday / Seasonal / Whatever-you-prefer-to-call-it with which we’ll torment gift our family and some friends. I’d probably send them to more people were Paul not around to remind me that not everyone is into Christmas music.
1. Another Christmas Song / Stephen Colbert2. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas / Perry Como3. Baby, It’s Cold Outside / Willie Nelson & Norah Jones4. I’d Like You For Christmas / Julie London5. Must Be Santa / Bob Dylan6. December Will Be Magic Again / Kate Bush7. Blue Christmas / Dean Martin8. Mele Kalikimaka / Bette Midler9. Away In A Manger / Los Lonely Boys10.Twelve Days Of Christmas / John Denver & The Muppets11.Can I Interest You In Hannukah? / Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart12. White Wine In the Sun / Tim Minchin13. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas / Aimee Mann14. Stop the Cavalry / Jona Lewie15. Winter Wonderland / Doris Day16. Caroling, Caroling / Nat King Cole17. Jingle Bell Rock / Neil Diamond18. Another Christmas Song / Jethro Tull19. We Wish You A Merry Christmas / John Denver and The Muppets20. All You Need Is Love / The Beatles
Past years have been more heavily weighted toward traditional carols. This year we have fewer of those, only one actually, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” by Los Lonely Boys. What we have instead are some fun and (I think) beautiful finds. The most lovely of them is one Paul added called “White Wine in the Sun” by comedian Tim Minchin. I think one of the reasons I find it so moving is the idea of Christmas being a holiday spent sitting outside on a patio in the sunshine with my family– being a native Californian, snow at Christmas seems deeply exotic. In any case, listen for yourself and see what you think.
I’ve tweeted about this already, but this year Bob Dylan brought out a Christmas album to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness at home and abroad. Bob Dylan, singing traditional Christmas songs — sounds like a joke, right? I bought the album partly because the reviews were polarized (I’m always curious when that happens), partly because the concept sounded funny, and because the money was for a good cause. The joke was on me. Since it arrived I’ve probably listened to it all the way through at least six times. The contrast between the very traditional arrangements of Christmas classics and Dylan’s broken voice (not he ever sang like Nat King Cole) makes me want to sing too.
So now that I’ve shown you mine (so to speak), what’s your favorite holiday song? Assuming you like the music at all.