Janice’s Christmas Picks

Janice’s Christmas Picks

Happy Holidays, folks!  Kara & I are back for the Christmas season, and we have come bearing gifts of music lists (of course).

So…here’s my list.

*drumroll*

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Okay, all through, thanks!

*rimshot*

All right, all right, here’s a more diverse list though I will be honest — it contains much of the above soundtrack.  But seriously, Vince Guaraldi Trio *swoon*.  I have to listen to this album every holiday season.

While our objective was for a top ten list of favorite Christmas songs, I decided to divvy this up into secular(-ish)/nonsecular.

Secular(ish)

10.  “Skating” – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Can’t you just see Snoopy skating around gleefully?  The major keys and running-up-and-down chords remind me of the hustle and bustle of the season…and it’s just so happy.  I may have spun around in circles around my living room listening to this song when I was younger; I mean, I was younger yesterday compared to today, right?

9.  “The Twelve Days of Christmas”

Just thinking about this song conjures up a group of carolers traveling door-to-door in harmony.  This song is on the list mainly for nostalgia — it is reminiscent of the elementary school years and the thrill of countdowns and emphatically singing “FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!”  And now…I would like some onion rings, please.

8.  “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Zooey Deschanel & Leon Russell version

Let’s be honest — the lyrics of this song are a little creepy…but if you don’t analyze it all too much, it can be enjoyable.  I’m a bit picky about duets, but I enjoy the call-and-answer, internal-debate-externalized whole thing.  Musically, I enjoy the lingering long notes.

7.  “Christmas Time Is Here” – Vince Guaraldi Trio (instrumental (>) vocal?)

I’m torn — although I enjoy both versions, I enjoy the simplicity of no voices at times.  Words make things more complicated (alludes to other aspects of life…I digress).  That being said, the lyrical message here remains unencumbered with the complexities of life.  I relish the tranquility of this song and its unabashed use of the maj7 chords.

6.  “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” – Vince Guaraldi Trio version, Nat King Cole version

*waits for all the audience groans to fade*  Yes, I know it is, among many other songs, overplayed, but I still like the scene that it sets.  Also one of my favorite pieces to play on the piano annually…and maybe also in July.  I enjoy the change in scale types within the song as well.

Nonsecular

5.  “The First Noel”

Ah, a song that does not technically contain the actual word “Christmas.” Pretty sure I spent many years belting out “No Well!” and singing along with the building swells of the “Noels.”

4.  “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

I find this song to be best performed a cappella in low lighting. Which means I make a strong association between it and midnight mass. Notable for being in a minor key as well.

3.  “Silent Night”

So this one brings me back to the days of elementary/junior high school choir and the days of learning the lyrics in German for the performance.

2.  “Angels We Have Heard on High”

One word:  “GLO-OHHH-OHHHH-OHHHH-OHHHH-OHHHH-OHHH-RIA.” Kind of fun as a kid…still fun now. Also strongly associated with childhood.

1.  “O Holy Night”

This one is near and dear as it is a certain family favorite. Also, to me, it feels like more of a story unfolding while sung than other songs of the season. The complexity and range of the melody are also notable.

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Holiday Food Item:

I will admit that I don’t really have a standard, but over recent years, the pumpkin roll is making its mark, perhaps because it is a well-seated traditional dessert that is made by someone who has helped to shape me.

…oh, and it contains cream cheese and walnuts.

These are from aforementioned someone’s social media.

 

That’s all for now. Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now. (Sneaking in #11 there.)