Friday, December 01, 2006

Bah, Humbug! vs Deck the Halls!

Hooray! It's the first of December! The advent of Advent! The moratorium on things Christmassy has been lifted! Cue engorgement on atrocities like egg nog and fruitcake! Bring on fevered, last-minute shopping for novelty stocking stuffers! Roll out and repeat ad nauseam syrupy-stringed muzak versions of "Winter Wonderland"! Better get me a bucket...

Heck, old Snow Miser even dumped a ton of snow on us here in Vancouver to jam it down our throats. Quite useful, you see, as the Canucks cannot rely on Thanksgiving as the starting pistol for the holiday season, like their bretheren south of the border can.

I've always felt a bit odd about the holiday season. In many ways it fills me with dread. Why? Oh, the usual reasons. Feeling obliged to try and enjoy it. The sense of disappointment, inadequacy, and frustration when you don't. Pervasive, rank commercialism. The hurtful politics of some families. The painful gluttony. The panic of trying to meet work deadlines before everyone f*cks off on vacation. Bah, humbug.

But over the past couple of years I have found myself trying to focus instead on that which I find good in the season. The shared rituals, such as a good neighbourhood carol service. The excuse to give because you really want to give, not because you have to. The sense of anticipation and wonder, magnified by that of Darling Daughter and Little Man (who at my office's Christmas party for children really believed that S. the receptionist WAS Santa Claus and hugged him no less than FIVE times to thank him for his gift). Actually, having created my (er, yes Darling Wife, I meant "our") own family has helped me try and centre on these latter aspects. It's as if creating a critical mass has allowed me to better define what it all means to me, and to offer up to others.

Bloody hell, I sound like a flipping greeting card. When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best (tm). To the cynics, I apologize. You're rolling your eyes so hard I can hear the muscles popping. But I am sincere in hoping you get something out of this holiday season. Other than heartburn and heartache.

And with that in mind, here's a brace of holiday choonz to get you going. A wee bit of something for everyone, from Lord Nelson's taste of calypso Chrimbo to the best cover of "Blue Christmas" EVER to Klaus Nomi's surreal Club Bossa Nova versh of "Silent Night." And I can promise you a few more stockingfuls of seasonal music over the next few weeks. Regardless of whether you've been naughty or nice.

And now, I'm off to boogey with the elves...

Jimmy Eat World - Last Christmas (no idea where you can buy this)
Tralala - Everybody Christmastime (buy here or e-here)
Shonen Knife - Space Christmas (here's the only copy I could find!)
Lord Nelson - Party for Santa Claus (buy here)
Klaus Nomi - Silent Night (er, once again, sorry, can't point you to the single, but try this)
Bullette - Blue Christmas (don't know where to find this, but she's lovely & you should download her debut album here)
James Brown - Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto (buy here)
Daniel Johnston - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (buy here, tho' admittedly there's not much point...)
Sufjan Stevens - Come on! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance! (buy here or e-here)
Three Wise Men (XTC) - Thanks For Christmas (buy here)

BONUS! From the finest Christmas TV special ever created, I give you: The Heat Miser Song!!


Anonymous said...

Oh Bullette is just lovely...I may have to treat myself to her debut.

I also enjoyed the Jimmy Eat World Last Christmas track.

I can also be a bit of a Scrooge this time of year but you are right I should really concentrate on the good stuff...I find it difficult to really get into the holiday spirit living where I live...70 degree weather with smoggy horizons and palm trees draped in Christmas lights...

But I do love shopping for loved ones, baking and the new year.

Thanks for the Christmas mix ;)

Chad said...

Great mix! And the Heat Miser song! :)

mjrc said...

fantabulous mix! can't wait to listen to it.

i find that seeing christmas through the eyes of children is the best way to find pleasure in the season. because you're right, it's far too easy to get caught up in ALL YOU HAVE TO DO in order to MAKE IT THROUGH. what kind of an attitude is that to have, i ask you? not a very good one!

anyway, thanks for the chrimbo choonz. i'll be putting up some of my favorites in the next few weeks, for sure.

mjrc said...

omg! i just realized that bullette is someone i met at the black angels in-store show at my local record store last month. i get so excited about stuff like this, i'm like a nut. but she's very nice, she's also in a band called the sky drops, which i'm planning a post on in a week or so. such a small world, don't you think? i'm going to let her know that you've mentioned her. cheers!

Anonymous said...

I have, and always will be, a sucker for 'Last Christmas.' Nearly any version you throw at me, too.

I also think the fake Christmas hit from 'Love Actually' is hilarious, if only because it's sung by Bill Nighly.

Natsthename said...

I'm a sucker for "Emmet OTter's Jug Band Christmas" myself. NEVER heard that Heat Miser song before..but it's excellent!

mjrc said...

ok, that sufjan track is incredible. how does he do it? that song alone is enough to make me want to buy the whole thing.

i really kind of dug the shonen knife, too, although from a sort of "i want to share this with all my friends who hate indie music" kind of perspective.

and what can i say, I'M a total sucker for xtc.

Anonymous said...

Der Snta pIl:

I huv ben a guid wee biy all yr round so ah thnk u need to giv me mre musak lke tis and a cpy of tht mavs becon teech-typ cmprt prog so ah cn lrn to typ mooch btere an nit writ lke a t-xt. (ah thnk ave ben rdig 2 mny furst yr esays 2dy + a am lsing th wull 2 lve)


Yr numbgr one r'der


ps, ah wld lik a nw lapto and a nw rnng tredmull ad a ntd wiiii 2, thkx

pps, and a 'voukstq'? bit wots tht?

FiL said...

Dearest Rachel: You're most welcome! Indeed, accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. And when faced wit a screaming, baying mob of shoppers, take a deep breath and be kind. Better yet, shop online!! :) And do check out Bullette - she is really something.

Hi Chad! Thanks for the kind words - and Heat Miser rules!! The DVD arrived in the post yesterday. much to my children's delight...

Dearest Marcy: That's the spirit! So, you're buddies with Monika Bullette? Indeed, do tell her she's fab from me!! And as for Sufjan, well, an instant Xmas classic, I think.

Dearest Liz: Well, I'll be throwing at least one more version your way in the coming weeks...

Dearest Nats: You mean you've never seen "The Year Without a Santa Claus?" Oh, you must...

Dearest WAF: You must be a first-year student, right?? Your eloquence and symbolic use of lettering is astounding. Actually, I know you've been a naughty boy, but you'll get extra prezzies for that!! :)

P.S. A "voukstq" is, I believe a newfangled sort empeethree playa. Pronounced "vook-stik" of course.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the christmas songs--
especially "thanks for christmas"-xtc
and "space christmas"-shonen knife.
merry christmas and happy new year--juliano.