DEBORAH CROMBIE: 'Tis that time of year once more, where the sound of canned carols rings from every shop and and public space! Grinchy gripes have been popping up on the social ether for the last few weeks-- "Oh, no, not blankity-blank Christmas music again!"
I have to admit some of the canned stuff is pretty awful, and if I worked retail I'd probably be pulling my hair out the next time I heard a synth version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
But I have yet to go in a mall this year, and even on my one foray into Target it was quiet as Christmas midnight. So I've only listened at home, and the truth of it is that I LOVE Christmas music. The CDs and the playlists start right after Thanksgiving and linger into the new year. It's a carryover from childhood for me, I think. My dad loved Christmas music, and loved to sing carols. He wasn't a religious man, so his favorites were the secular songs; White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and especially Silver Bells. But he could do a mean Silent Night.
Tops on my listening list? Jewel's "Joy: A Holiday Collection." Gorgeous. YoYo Ma's "Songs of Joy and Peace," ditto. A collection called "Stockings by the Fire," and always, always, the soundtrack to "Love Actually."
Oh, and this year's addition? Rod Stewart's "Merry Christmas, Baby." Old gravel voice has mellowed quite nicely, and makes you want to get out that cozy throw and curl up with your hot chocolate.
So where do you fall, REDS? Grinch, or singing elf?
Here's my little Christmas treat to you all.!
Who could resist Ertha Kitt singing "Santa Baby?"
JAN BROGAN: I have a folder of holiday music, and the other night I brought out my guitar to refresh my memory. Since we only play these songs for about a month out of the year, it always takes some refreshing. My favorite is Nat King Cole's "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open FIre," although that's not it's title (which no one ever realizes is the actual song). If I start early enough, I can pull it off, but the arrangement is really complicated jazz chords, so it takes me until Christmas is actually over to play it right. Last year, I learned finger pick versions of Silent Night and Auld Lang Syne, which I kept practicing until March in the hopes it would come back quicker when the season rolled around this year- so we shall see.. I do have a version of Santa Baby somewhere, Debs and you are inspiring me to work on it this year.
RHYS BOWEN: I have favorite CDs that come out as I decorate the house. Mannheim Steamroller, The Choir of King's College Cambridge, a German boys choir. I'm not a big fan of popular Christmas music but Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, Mel Torme singing the Christmas song and anyone singing "I'll be Home for Christmas" can make me tear up. And I have to confess a guilty pleasure. I do love Feliz Navidad! And I do like the music to a Charlie Brown Christmas, especially when they break into Hark the Herald Angels at the end. This year I expect I'll be more weepy than usual...
ROSEMARY HARRIS: I'm a big fan of holiday music and have more Christmas cds than anyone should probably own. Some faves - Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing Little Drummer Boy (also have a great bversion of Marlene Dietrich singing it)Chrissie Hynde Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Greg Lake's I Believe in Father Christmas and everything on John Fahey's Christmas albums (acoustic guitar.)
The only one I don't like is this totally morbid song called Christmas Shoes. What a downer. Apparently it was an enormous hit but can't figure out why anyone would want to hear it, particularly at Christmas. Other than that one - bring 'em on!
HALLIE EPHRON: Bar-rup bup bup bum... has always sounded like a rude noise to me. So no, I'm not a huge fan of holiday music. Weirdly I like to sing it but I'm not much on listening to it.
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh Jan, are you going to sing SANTA BABY as well as play? would love to hear that!! Hallie, am working really really hard to block that earworm...
I love singing the hymns during Advent but not hearing repetitive songs in stores. But my favorite of all is listening to the Messiah. We heard a version of it done by the New Haven Symphony orchestra and a New Haven church choir. We were in the third row and it was magical!
HANK PHILLIPPPI RYAN: Can we have the monks withe the placards singing The Hallelujah Chorus It's SO funny! (But okay, I love hearing it even without hte placards.) You're right, Lucy. Magical..and it's impossible not to sing along.
I think Hallie has hit on something--I like singing Christmas music more than I like hearing it...But I love I'll Be Home for Christmas, such a dear song. And Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas .
I also love Joni Mitchell's River, which really is a Christmas song... and All I Want for Christmas is You, the song in Love Actually. ANd Santa Baby, Definitely. Yup, Feliz Navidad. We spent lots of family Christmases in Mexico, so you can imaagine, that's almost traditional for us! Of truly traditional? O Come Come Emmanuel. And O Come All Ye Faithful.
DEBS: Jan, promise you'll record Santa Baby for us! Ro, I want to hear Chrissie Hynde singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Hank and Rhys, I spent quite a few Christmases in Mexico, too, so have a special fondness for Feliz Navidad. And The River is one of our faves, too.
And after all this, I have "You better watch out, you better not cry," stuck on repeat in my head, so I'm going to give us one more to get a little Christmas spirit going, All I Want for Christmas, from Love Actually.
So what about you, readers? Are you singing along?