“It's that time of year when the world falls in love.
Ev'ry song you hear seems to say ‘Merry Christmas,
May your New Year dreams come true.’
And this song of mine in three-quarter time,
Wishes you and yours the same thing, too.”
If you are a longtime reader of this blog o’ mine, then I just want to take the opportunity to say, “Hi, Mom!” But also, if you are a different longtime reader of this blog and you didn’t give birth to me, then you may have noticed that around this time of year, I get a little giddy about Christmas.
Last year I even gave my ode to Christmas movies. (“A Very Merry Christmas Movie.” You can read that by clicking here.)
This year, we are going to broach the subject of Christmas-y Tunes.
When we drag into the house our boxes of All Things Christmas, and there is finally room to park the van in the garage, we divide and conquer. Somebody is assembling the fake Christmas tree, somebody is hanging stockings, somebody is deciding which Christmas movies we are going to watch in which order, and somebody is usually fighting over who gets to hang the In-N-Out Burger Christmas ornament on the tree. And yes, usually I win. But while this is all going on, there is Christmas music playing. And the first CD played is a mix we all jointly made together four years ago.
It begins with the Johnny Mathis version of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Why Johnny Mathis? Don’t know. It was the version we had on hand when we created this Christmas mix, I guess. But I have to say, while I know nothing about the man, I find his version of this song invigorating. It makes me shake my moneymaker like nobody’s buh-riz-ness. I picture myself as Mr. Mathis, but in addition to singing the song, I am leading the orchestra that is knockin’ this song all over the place. Like I’m some sort of less-senile Mr. Kruger.
Other gems include classics like Perry Como’s “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays,” Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” and Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).” Also retro/classics like Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” The Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick,” and Dean Martin’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside (The Date Rape Song).” Then finally, some modern stuff like Coldplay’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” U2’s “Baby, Please Come Home,” Sting’s “I Saw Three Ships,” and Annie Lennox’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”
My kids come absolutely unglued when this CD is playing. They reach a level of hyper that machines can’t measure. It is a marathon of Christmas merriment. Also, not to be missed is my uncanny impression of Peggy Lee singing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (complete with fake cigarette and gyrations during the part where she says, “Every cou-ou-ple tries to stop…”) But my favorite part…the thing I wait all year for, is Katie’s impression of Faith Hill singing “Where Are You Christmas?” She won’t do it for me any other time of the year. I have to wait for this special holiday season to hear Katie/Faith turn the word “changing” into a 23-syllable word. “My world is ‘cheee-ee-a-ahhhhh-aa-ahn-gee-ah-ee-ing.” No wonder Faith can’t find Christmas. If I were Christmas, I would hide from her too.
Which leads me to my second point: Christmas Songs That Make Me Violent.
One of them is “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” There is nothing cute or redeeming about this song. I say give the brat a hippopotamus. She deserves what she gets. And when that hippo poops, I’ll say, “I hope there’s a shovel and some boots in your stocking. Any other large mammals you’d like to own? Didn’t think so.”
And while I will freely admit that as a child I found much humor in “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” I have emphatically boycotted that song in my home. My children don’t know it. First of all, it is disrespectful to my mother. If a reindeer ran over my mother and killed her, as the song suggests, believe me, that reindeer would be jerky by New Year’s Eve. Plus, to suggest my mother is some sort of eggnog-guzzling lush and wears a silver-blue wig? Please. Is nobody else offended by this drivel?
And finally, this next song itself doesn’t raise my eyebrows, but gives me pause. Just a cautionary word: If you are approached about stepping into a studio and singing a rendition of “Santa Baby,” then congratulations, society views you as the recording industry’s biggest hooch. From the original Eartha Kitt to Madonna, to Kylie Minogue, to RuPaul, to The Pussycat Dolls, to Miss Piggy and finally, Calista Flockhart. (Who, let’s be honest, actually could hurry down the chimney tonight. With room to spare.)
So crank those Christmas tunes. Turn it up! Get jiggy with it! Rock around that Christmas tree! And I’m leaving the comments on – so if you have any suggestions for Christmas songs I simply must hear, please let me know! (P.S. If your recommendation mentions buying Christmas shoes or Celine Deon singing in Spanish, please don’t send me a mix CD for Christmas.) (And if you want to see my Peggy Lee impression or Katie’s Faith Hill impersonation, stop on by!)