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!!