My Eclectic Christmas Play List – From Childhood Memories to Not So Family Friendly
Rarely do I get the opportunity to write about my musical tastes as I’m usually focused on my television or film obsession(s). I love music, it moves me like nothing can and I love sharing it with others. Every year I get more and more aggravated by Christmas music, mainly because of how early it starts. When I begin hearing it in November and have an entire month to try and keep my enjoyment fresh, it just isn’t going to happen. Usually, the closer it gets, the more I give in and then in no time you’ll find me belting out Holly Jolly Christmas at the top of my lungs while bouncing around in my car. This year that never really happened. I hadn’t thought about why until now, but I’m sure the events of the last two weeks had something to do with the holiday spirit never quite hitting me.
Still, for my kids, particularly my daughter over the past few days we have been sharing the enjoyment and love of singing holiday classics in the car together and watching the baby bop happily along belting out his own unintelligible rendition. Though I was going to forgo this particular Christmas themed article because of how late it was in the season, that experience changed my mind. Not that you’ll find an extremely large selection of traditional holiday fare, but these are tradition for me, as well as many others in my age group. So, without further ado, here is my Christmas play list that will hopefully help to get you through the next few days with some nostalgia and maybe a little humor.
Christmas in Hollis by Run-D.M.C. – This 1987 single makes me smile from ear to ear when I hear it. How can you not with some awesome old-school rap, genuine sentiment and, well, Run-D.M.C.? It isn’t Christmas if I don’t hear and try painfully to rap along (to the certain embarrassment of anyone who may be near me at the time).
Father Christmas by The Kinks – This is the song that I cannot wait to hear every Christmas. I love it, I love The Kinks. The harsh reality of this song, mixed with a reminder to think of those who have not during this time of year set to a poppy tune can throw you for a loop the first time you hear it. The song sounds deceptively fun, and definitely lends itself to the punk rock way of taking care of business, but I enjoy more than a lot of those “remember to think of others” songs because it is so much less guilt ridden and preachy.
Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley – No Christmas is complete without the smooth, deep crooning voice coming out of the speakers. Presley truly captured the haunting nature of the sentiment expressed by this song and no matter what mood I’m in, this always puts a little melancholy edge on me. I completely melt into this song every time I hear it.
Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton – I can’t help myself, I’m from Texas y’all. I grew up listening to Ms. Parton and seeing her in just about every film she made in the eighties. I have a particular soft spot for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the film in which this song debuted. This is a rallying song, a pull yourself up by your bootstraps and keep moving ditty, and who can’t get behind that? Besides, she’s singing about candy (but not really).
Santa Claus and His Old Lady by Cheech & Chong – “The vato with the bony knees”…come on, this is comic gold. I grew up in Texas, but in South Texas, and as a white, blond-haired girl I was a minority. I learned Spanish outside of school and was introduced to this bit a lot younger than my parents would have been comfortable with. It makes me giggle every time I hear it and makes me think of the friends that I know are most likely listening and laughing just as much as I am. I guess what I’m saying is this has a unifying power that connects me to all those far-flung friends that I used to have such a good time with this time of year.
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) by Bing Crosby – This song warms my heart and though I smile, it is tinged with sadness. Bing always reminds me of my grandparents, this song in particular reminds me of them and as of this past two years it makes me miss them, terribly. But the ache in my heart comes with fond memories of Christmas’ past at their home with warmth and love and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) by The Ramones – I didn’t pick this because I have particularly strong feelings for this song. It just makes me laugh as it seems like a man’s typical lame way of getting out of a fight. I also feel like the Ramones should be represented in one way or another in any playlist I put together.
Holly Jolly Christmas by Frank Sinatra – It’s Sinatra, it’s feel-good, it’s Christmas…’nuf said.
Run, Run Rudolph by The Humpers and Sloppy Seconds – This is a gem on the album Punk Rock Xmas, which by the look of things on Amazon.com, isn’t easy to come by anymore. It has collaborations from some of the greatest and most offensive punk rock bands of all times. The essence of the song remains, just roughed up. I love it, along with others from this album.
Ringing of the Bells by The Muppets – How could you not love this? Some of our favorite, yet often overlooked muppets singing one of the most popular instrumental Christmas songs ever. Swedish Chef, Animal and Beaker are the perfect trio to pull off such a massive undertaking and they pull it off with hilarity.
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee – What can I say? This song just makes me want to get up and dance. I feel like having the hoppinest Christmas party ever and dressing up in my best fifties garb to hand out cocktails to my friends. It makes me feel like doing these things, but I don’t usually act on it.
You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Thurl Ravenscroft – Last, but most certainly not least is this classic children’s song. This song is part of my favorite Christmas film, inspired by my favorite Christmas book and is still my number one feel-good Christmas song. This song evokes memories of Christmases so long ago I’m not even sure how I could remember them. This book was the first Christmas book my daughter fell in love with and the movie is the first that has caught my son’s attention for more than thirty seconds at a time. There is something magical about everything that the story of The Grinch touches that transcends age and brings us all a little closer.
There are so many more songs I could add to this list, but these are my favorite. I am sure that I have missed something so fill in the blanks with your favorite Christmas songs in the comments and let me know what you think of this list!