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Where I Reveal my Holiday Playlist

by John on December 6th, 2011

We’re in the Christmas season. Every year, I compile a Christmas song list — just a set of songs that make me happy to listen to.

The only real rule I make for myself is probably the most antiquated – everything needs to fit on a single CD – because, when I started this, I was a broke bachelor, and these made for cheap Christmas presents.

I’m always looking for new & different takes of traditional tunes, and I try to keep a mix of newish stuff and true classics. In the time after December, if I hear a song and want to hear it again, immediately, it “makes the cut.” I take all of the songs that did make the cut, and then try to whittle them down to a single CD.

Some songs will always be on the list – some will make it one year, get cut the next, and then re-appear . . . and, it seems that whenever I release this, I find the “I must listen to this song until my ears bleed” Christmas tune – if things go right, I’ll remember it next year.

Alas, this year’s list:

From → Christmas, Music

  1. Well, you really can’t go wrong with U2.

    • The thing about U2 is that I grew up with them . . . and I’m realizing that I’m treating U2 the same way that my parents treated The Beatles. For a long time, they were “just a band” to me, because they were so very familiar, and now I know that they’re truly something special.

  2. I love the BNL/Sara McLaughlin (is she really your cousin??? how cool is that?) duet and the Bowie/Crosby duet is a classic! And the Muppets with John Denver–that’s a little piece of my childhood.

    Great list!

    • Sarah McLachlan is my second-cousin, once-removed . . . I met her, once, before she was really Sarah McLachlan, though – just a very talented singer who was touring with The Chieftans.

  3. The whole John Denver and the Muppets, A Christmas Together album is on my shortlist.

    Good stuff in there, but I’m not surprised.

    • Yeah – picking one song from the John Denver with the Muppets album is difficult – but I love the “What?” from Fozzie in the video (which isn’t, actually, on the album – I imagine there were some puppeteer difficulties in creating the show & album versions as one & the same)

  4. Such great picks, I like all of them. The only one I haven’t heard is The Killers.

  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your list.

    And the few I haven’t heard I will be listening to tomorrow after my kids go to school.

    (Right now I’m trying to get them to brush teeth and get to bed and these songs would distract them and mama needs some sleep.)

    But I can tell — from the songs on your list that I do know — that I will be into the ones I don’t.

    Love the Killers and Mumford & Sons. And Sarah is your cousin? Seriously?

    Rock steady, my friend.

    • Knowing your taste in wine and books, I really think we’d get along splendidly in a listening booth, as well ๐Ÿ™‚

      And, yeah, Sarah McLachlan is my cousin — well, she’s my second-cousin, once-removed . . . and she’s adopted. But, still, she’s family ๐Ÿ™‚

      I met her, with my grandfather, when I was in school — maybe 7th grade, maybe 10th grade – I don’t remember. She was singing with The Chieftans (this is before “I Will Remember You”). We met in some coffee shop for just a few minutes to say – she was very pretty and very, very nice.

  6. My list is stale, I know this, and now I have new songs to add. I just have to get a desk top so I can get to my itunes account and let the downloading begin. Very edgy and updated. Nice!

    • Thank you – I really like things just a tiny bit off of the traditional ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Great list!!! I will have to check out some that I don’t know. My fave non-traditional one is Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds “The Christmas Song”. Not the same as the Nat King Cole one – original lyrics. LOVE it.

    • The DMB Christmas Song is one of those songs that comes on & off of my list, seemingly, every other year . . . it’s very pretty, haunting . . . but I really wanted something new & the Mumford & Sons song filled the niche that Dave took last year.

  8. You have some of my favorites on here. I LOVE anything by the Barenaked Ladies…have you listened to their version of Jingle Bells, which starts out super slow and then breaks into this frenetic pace? my kids ADORE it. Gabriel’s Message is awesome as well. I am going to go get Tracy Chapman and Elvis Costello.

    Others I’d recommend:
    *Mary Did You Know by Clay AIken (I know, he’s kinda cheesy, but his rendition is beautiful)
    * Winter Wonderland by Jason Mraz
    *Christmas by Blues Traveler (off an old Very Special Christmas)

    and this is gonna sound weird, but Lady Gaga did a Lady Gaga Holiday extended thingie and she does a version of Orange Colored Sky that is AMAZING. Not really holiday but worth a listen ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You know, I actually don’t find Clay Aiken to be super cheesy. Well, no – I do . . . but he markets himself as cheese, so it’s not a crime that he’s super cheesy.

      I know the Gaga song you’re talking about – and, you’re right, it’s amazing – I have more respect for Gaga than for anyone . . . someone who can completely invent a persona & keep to it, no matter how absurd it is, it something amazing. Like in Ghostbusters, “There is no Dana, only Zuul,” when Lady Gaga is on stage, there is no Stefani, only Gaga.

      I’ll check out your suggestions tonight ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time – right up there with the Chipmunks for me. Annoying for annoyings sake.

    • You know, the Chipmunks was on my very first playlist . . . it reminded me of being a kid — but, after I’ve heard it once or twice, I’m good without hearing it for a whole year.

      It hasn’t returned.

  10. Christmas Wrapping = awesome

    I miss Patty Donahue – lead singer, died of cancer in 98.

    • I didn’t know that – but it’s really a shame . . . it’s such a fun song – and that group of misfits seemed like they’d have been a hoot to watch, live.

  11. I’m proud to say that half of those are on my list. And now I have a few new ones to add now.

    • You know, though, I missed a biggie – a whole post is coming tomorrow with it.

  12. You have my address ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I forgot to move these to an area last night – look for something soon.

  13. You put some of my absolute faves on here. Bing and Bowie was a huge wow. Happy Holidays! You now have me officially in the mood ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I love that Bing & Bowie . . . especially hearing the story behind it, as to whether or not Bing Crosby had any idea who David Bowie actually was.

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