Christmas Music Savant, that’s what my friends call me. Maybe it was from my mum’s extensive vinyl collection and the fact that we sat around the piano singing every holiday or that I worked 20 years of retail or that I am a fine Welsh lass and my people are well known for our love of singing, but I love, L-O-V-E holiday tunes, all of them.
Well, maybe not all of them. No offense, but I would be happy if I never heard “Feliz Navidad“, especially the Jose Feliciano version,ever again. But that one song aside, I start listening to Christmas music and holiday tunes at the start of November and stop after the twelve days of Christmas are over on January 5th (where do you think “Twelfth Night” came from folks?).
My moniker came from my days working at Dayton’s/Field’s/Macy’s and every time a song came on the Muzak I could name not only the song but singer in just a few notes, Bill Cullen would be proud.
I can tell the difference between Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett and Perry Como singing the exact same song. Now with all the modern & country singers jumping into the holiday music pool it has become more difficult and my skills have begun to wane, especially since I no longer work retail, but my holiday music collection will still rival many.
Combined cassette, vinyl and CD there are over 200 albums in the collection. Perhaps the most prized is the “Merry Christmas with the Brady Bunch” Original Vinyl (we three sisters wore similar robes). You haven’t heard anything until you have heard Cindy Brady sing “Frosty the Snowman” with a lisp.
Then there is the Fred Waring Singers with Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby 12 Songs of Christmas with my favorites “Go tell it on the Mountain” & a fantastic duet “We wish you the Merriest” with Frank & Bing. Then there is the Columbia Records “Magic of Christmas” 3- record boxed set which I loved, and all the Dean Martin Christmas albums, those are mum’s, but we kept the old Soundesign stereo turntable just so we could still play them. And get this, we even still have a Bing Crosby White Christmas 8-Track somewhere!
As for modern CD’s I think I like the Barenaked Ladies “Bare Naked for the Holidays” (includes some Hanukkah songs) and Harry Connick Jr’s “Harry for the Holidays” or his more recent “”What a Night.” Brian Setzer Orchestra’s “Boogie Woogie Christmas” or “Dig that Crazy Christmas” are the two I own but he has also released several more including a live two CD set “Christmas Extravaganza.”
Leonard Slatkin Conducted Minnesota Orchestra Nutcracker Suite
No Holidays would be complete without a Nutcracker Suite recording. Mum bought my sisters & me the Leonard Slatkin-conducted Minnesota Orchestra Tchaikovsky classic album when she worked there and it is wonderful (it also includes Swan Lake).
I also like some modern rock Christmas tunes like No Doubt’s “Oi to the World” and “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses as well, and they are always part of my circulation. No Christmas is complete for me without Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town” either. I always used to use it for my answering machine message the week before Christmas and can help but smile whenever I hear it!
I don’t think November is too early for Christmas or holiday music. You only get an opportunity to listen to it for such a short period of time and sing along like a freak for less than two months a year, so why not enjoy the spirit while you can?
And for those that don’t appreciate the “Christian” message of the Christmas music there are plenty of options. The Barenaked Ladies have a few wonderful Hanukkah tunes on their CD and Minnesota’s own Peter Himmelman helped with a multi-performer CD called “Festival of Light” In addition songs like “Let it Snow” “Winter Wonderland” “Sleigh Ride” “Baby its Cold Outside” and even “Jingle Bells” have nothing to do with a religious saviour or holiday but rather the gloriousness of the winter season.
Maybe I like Christmas and holiday music so much because I enjoy winter and snow so much. Or maybe it is because I’m a geek and I like singing along with all the songs like I did when I was a child before I knew what all the words meant and Political Correctness had taken over the world. But chances are when I’m in the house between November and January or at my desk, I’m cranking Dean, or Bing or Perry or anyone singing of the Holiday spirit and I’m singing along too (or in my head if I’m in an office). Yes, My name is Fiona and I’m a Christmas Music Addict (or savant).
Fiona’s Holiday Favourites:
White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Let it Snow – Dean Martin
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Judy Garland
Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
Frosty the Snowman – Burl Ives
Winter Wonderland – Peggy Lee or Dean Martin
I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Bing Crosby
Blue Christmas – Elvis
The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
Christmas Walz – The Carpenters
Jingle Bells – Perry Como
Don’t Forget to Feed the Reindeer – Peggy Lee
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth – Bing Crosby/David Bowie
Sleigh Ride – Ella Fitzgerald
Baby Its Cold Outside – Dean Martin
12 Days of Christmas – Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians
Here We Come a Caroling – Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians
The Holly & The Ivy – Westminster Boys Choir
Santa Claus is Comin to Town – Bruce Springsteen
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah- Barenaked Ladies
Dredyl Song – Another Man Down
Hanukkah Rocks – The LeeVees
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Merry Christmas I dont Want to Fight – The Ramones
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – The Smithereens
Big Bad VooDoo Daddy – Mr. HeatMiser
Jingle Bells – Barenaked Ladies
Deck the Halls – Peter Cetera/Allison Krause or Twisted Sister
Jinga Bell Rock/Christmas Time – BoDeans
It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas – Pet Shop Boys
Last Christmas – Wham
Little Drummer Boy – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Red over White – Siouxie & the Banshees
Winter Wonderland – Cocteau Twins
Please Come Home for Christmas – Bon Jovi
Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You – SR-71
Santa Claus is Back in Town – Johnny Lang
Father Christmas – The Kinks
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Sarah McLachlan
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – Enya
We Three Kings – Fuel
Christmas Dont Be Late – Powder
Oi to the World – No Doubt
2000 Miles – The Pretenders
I Saw Three Ships – Sting
12 Days of Christmas – Relient K
All that I Want – The Weepies
Silent Night – LifeHouse
Peace on Earth – The Automatics
Sleigh Ride – Harry Connick, Jr
Zat You Santa Claus? – Brian Setzer Orchestra
Grown up Christmas List – Michael Bublé
What are you Doing New Year’s Eve – Vonda Shephard
[Edit]12 Days of Christmas – The Muppets & John Denver
Recommended website for pop/rock Holiday music is Mistletunes, an encyclopedia of anything and everything there is to know about modern holiday releases.
If you want to listen to Holiday tunes at work but your collection pales in comparison to mine, AccuRadio’s AccuHolidays has multiple channels to please everyone’s tastes including a channel of just songs about Santa & his elves, Channel O’ (Oh Holy Night, O Tannenbaum, O Come All Ye Faithful, etc) and a channel called Chestnuts, just different versions of “The Christmas Song”; you can even customize your own channel. Great way to stream the holidays, and it is all FREE! If you have Comcast Digital cable you can also tune to channel 832,which is Sounds of the Season.
To prove what a holiday music nut I am, I will send a holiday CD to the first person who enters in the comments below the name of the horse in the winter classic “Jingle Bells”? Yes, the horse has a name. Go ahead, sing it, it will come to you!
Amazon is offering 25 free MP3 Downloads of Holiday Music, one a day until Christmas! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/feature/-/1000453281