If you’re finding yourself lacking in Christmas spirit, there’s one sure cure — the distinctive vocal stylings of Slim Whitman, the yodeling troubador who sold records by the carload on late-night TV in the 1980s. His memorable rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is a holiday classic.
Folks, we’re really closing in on Christmas. This weekend Richard will be returning home, I’ll finally be doing my long-delayed holiday baking, and it will seem a lot more like Christmas as a result.
When I think of Christmas, I think of Christmas music — particularly choral music. My idealized vision of a perfect Christmas moment is this kind of choral rendition of Silent Night, in a beautiful high key with the simple melody soaring, as I stand with a glass of full-bodied red wine in hand and look out on snow falling gently through a dark night sky, knowing that Kish and the boys are at home with me, safe and sound and ready for our holiday celebration.
Christmas is less than two weeks away and the signs of the approaching holiday are everywhere. The Christmas decorations have been taken from the basement and put in their familiar locations. This weekend we will get our tree, trim it with the ornaments we have collected over the years, and hang our stockings on the chimney with care. At the office, Christmas cards are arriving and being displayed on doors, and people have started to add seasonal touches to their clothing. Women get to wear festive sweaters and scarves; men make do with holiday ties and socks (of which I have a decent assortment).
And, of course, a big part of the holidays is the music. As I’ve mentioned before, I love Christmas music, and it is well-represented on the Ipod in the Holiday Mix playlist, which is 293 songs and 15.8 hours long. I like mixing up music and I’ve tried to do that with my Christmas music playlist — instrumental music with vocal, traditional carols with pop songs and James Brown, jazz-influenced treatments with the Salvation Army band, classically trained tenors with ’50s crooners and torch singers. The first 20 songs on the Holiday Mix playlist are as follows:
Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) — Vince Guaraldi, A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Christmas Song — Linda Ronstadt, A Merry Little Christmas
Gruber: Stille Nacht (Silent Night) — José Carreras, Christmas Favorites From The World’s Favorite Tenors
Sleigh Ride — Leroy Anderson, Season’s Greetings-Disc 1-20th Century Masters The Millennium Colleion
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen — Bing Crosby, White Christmas
Jingle Bell Rock — Bobby Helms, Season’s Greetings-Disc 2-20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection
O Come, O Come Emanuel — Robert Shaw Chorale, A Festival Of Carols
The Holly & The Ivy — Mediaeval Baebes, Mistletoe & Wine: A Seasonal Collection
Blue Christmas — Elvis Presley, Billboard Greatest Christmas Hits
Go Tell It On The Mountain — Mahalia Jackson, Christmas With Mahalia Jackson
II – Redemption : Alma redemptoris — Edward Higginbottom, Nativitas
The Spirit Of Christmas — Rosemary Clooney, Rosemary Clooney: White Christmas
What Child Is This? — Oscar Peterson, An Oscar Peterson Christmas
A Holly Jolly Christmas — Burl Ives, Season’s Greetings-Disc 1-20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas — The Carpenters, Christmas Portrait
O Holy Night (Cantique De Noel) — Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Christmas With The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Let It Snow — Dean Martin, Christmas With Ol’ Dino
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71A – Danses Caracteristiques: Marche — Alberto Lizzio: London Festival Orchestra, Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Swan Lake (Ballet Suites)
Feliz Navidad — José Feliciano, Feliz Navidad
Please Come Home For Christmas — James Brown, Funky Christmas