AAAAND WE’RE BACK IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING! It’s that Holidays time of year, so naturally it’s time for correspondingly themed posts. Since I’m the Baby Jesus Celebrant variety of human, here’s my selection of Christmas favorites.
TOP TEN CHRISTMAS SONGS
These are in alphabetical order, because heck if I’m going to CHOOSE choose.
“All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey
I mean, duh. So simultaneously beloved and hated by the mainstream Christmas populace because it is so dang catchy. A memory from a VERY long time ago came back to me while I was making this list: at Wash U’s annual Engineering School rave, Vertigo (v. 2007), it was the last song the DJ played. I immediately ran onto the light up dance floor with my friends, OBVI.
“Angels We Have Heard On High” – Bayside
Yes, yes, Y E S. The chord progression/structure of this classic does it for me. It’s ecstatic, it’s regal, it makes me want to sing along at the top of my lungs. I’ve been known to play this rendition by Bayside on repeat.
“Christmas Is Coming” – Vince Guaraldi Trio
Once this one comes on, instant Peanuts-style dancing commences. Picking which Vince Guaraldi Christmas song to include was extremely difficult, by the way, but I decided this one was best since it’s an original as opposed to a cover, and it’s more Yuletide-y than “Skating”. (FUN TO PLAY.)
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – Relient K
OKAY I LIED ABOUT NOT REALLY CHOOSING. I can safely say this song is my #1 favorite Xmas jam. Probably something to do with the melancholy-twinged optimism infused into the lyrics and melody. (I wish bands would quit skipping the “muddle through somehow” line, though!) This version is lovely, but I don’t have a favorite arrangement. Anyone from Judy Garland to She & Him could sing it and I would love it just as much.
“Let It Snow” – Frank Sinatra
So cozy, so mid-20th century classic. The first visual that pops into my head is usually a 1980’s Disney animated montage of various animals getting snuggly and ice skating and smooching, from a VHS I watched every Christmas when I was a kid. This song is the sound of giant, fluffy snowflakes floating down from the sky.
“Little Saint Nick” – Hanson
There was a point in time where Christmas wasn’t official until I had popped Snowed In into my stereo, and this cover intrigued me because of Isaac’s vocals (the best of the three Hansons, if you ask me) and Zac’s drumming patterns, which I spent lots of time trying to figure out. PS. They recorded the entire album in 2 weeks. Whaaaat.
“¿Mamacita, Dónde Está Santa Claus?” – Guster
I found this one back in the Limewire/Napster days and it’s been a standard on my Christmas song list for at least the last decade.
“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” – *NSync
Unquestionably the modern “so cozy, so classic” in my rotation. A happy, glowing warmth fills me up the moment I hear the opening chords. It has this effect even if I hear it in a non-holiday context. I scramble to play it when the holiday season rolls around, because it’s so dang gleeful, like a festive bear hug for my auditory canal.
“Sleigh Ride” – Leroy Anderson
I looked forward so much to playing this song in my high school orchestra’s annual Christmas concert. We pulled out all the stops by bringing in some winds and temple blocks and slapstick for the horse clop and whip effects. But my favorite line of all is the 1940’s Broadway-esque bass line (~1:50ish) that went to the cellos in our arrangement – I was always so jealous I didn’t get to play it!
“Wonderful Christmas Time” – Wings
Another polarizing radio play I love to death, despite the horrible 80’s synth I’d otherwise hate in any other song. But I used to be a huge Wings fan, so it makes sense.
Yeah yeah, I know I’m cheating but I DO WHAT I WANT.
“Little Drummer Boy” – Family Force 5
Ancillary because I just LOVE this cover, but I find the actual carol repetitive and annoying.
“Christmas Bells”- RENT
My favorite line is sung by the policemen. FA LALA LALA YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT NIGHT HOLY NIGHT.
FAVE CHRISTMAS DELICIOUSNESS
My mother bakes all sorts of magic that I associate with fond memories from childhood, and one of them is her infamous Cranberry Cheesecake Tart. Which is not a tart at all?! This year I did the baking, minus the Pillsbury premade pie crust that is oh-so-delectable but oh-so-hydrogenated-oil-filled.
Peep that perfection! Not as perfect as my mom’s creations, but I’ve come to accept mothers have an uncanny ability to do all sorts of thing with impossible precision. My perfect bite requires a precise icing to cheesecake to whole-cranberry ratio. It’s always tragic when the whole pie is gone.