Actually, I do love Christmas, it's just that decorating for one (especially when you're not around your house on Christmas itself) doesn't really get me in the spirit. But what does get me there is music. Feeling inspired by TIG and the greatest hits collection she created for her family got me thinking about the songs that get me merry and bright. So I've cobbled together this list (and even found you corresponding videos/videos of still-frame photographs for each) of the songs that are undeniably Christmas for LMNT. Not completely conventional, some more random than others, but all are full of memories. Enjoy!
10. "Christmas Wrapping," The Waitresses
The instant I hear this song, I have an uncontrollable urge to fold oatmeal colored fair isle sweaters. I spent two holiday shopping seasons working at Eddie Bauer in college and I think the number of times I heard this song is nearing on infinity (interestingly, I think that's the same number of sweaters I folded there, too). And while I could have given you a video from the 80s, what's better than a house that lights up to music?
Really, any of these 80s gems could make my countdown for the same reason as The Waitresses--I went through that list of top ten 80s Christmas hits and I'm pretty sure every single one of them made Eddie Bauer's 1995 in-store holiday compilation (with a few Bing Crosby classics for good measure).
9. We Are Santa's Elves, Videocraft Chorus
Not only is "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" my all-time favorite Christmas special, but I sang this with the rest of my first grade class at Sts. Peter and Paul's 1983 Holiday Spectacular. And a one-a, and a two-a...
8. "Deck the Halls," Manheim Steamroller
There was a stretch of at least three Christmases when my mom bought this Manheim Steamroller album each year, because she had forgotten she bought it the year before (and the year before that).
7. "The Christians and the Pagans," Dar Williams
This is definitely an obscure Christmas pick, but it makes me think of my first few years living out in the Northwest, and the cozy house I had with my two dear friends, and I just like the message about us all getting along regardless our beliefs. My "peace on earth, good will toward all" offering, if you will.
6. "Sister Winter," Sufjan Stevens
This is my hipster showing. Stevens is an incredibly talented indie musician and artist (and is also devoutly Christian). He and some of his crazy artistic friends used to write and record holiday EPs that they'd send out with homemade covers. Oh to be so creative! A few years ago, he mass produced the EPs and sold them as a box set. This song is my favorite from all five discs. I love how it starts out so beautifully and peacefully--like you're outside in the expanse of the winter chill--and then erupts into a joyful celebration of a Happy Christmas.
When I think about starting my own family traditions, and I think about some of the reasons I have songs on this list it's because they were so much a part of my childhood. I like to think that these EPs will be similarly ingrained into the holiday memories of my own kids someday. And I like that.
5. "The Twelve Days of Christmas," John Denver and the Muppets
Considering I LOVED the Muppets as a kid (and wait a minute, LOVED John Denver even more than I LOVED the Muppets), I'm pretty sure I had heard this song hundreds of times, however, the first time I truly heard this song I was in college in a Hallmark store with my brother. He had just charmed the pants off of a lovely older female employee for a hot cup of wassail (which neither of us had any idea what that was), when we heard Beakers distinctive voice loud and clear proclaiming the ninth day. We literally fell down laughing so hard and had tears streaming down our faces (and that was all because of Beaker and had nothing to do with the wassail, and I still don't really know what that is).
4. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings," Bare Naked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan
Thank you, Canada, for this, the best Christmas (and Boxing Day) present ever!
3. "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays," The Carpenters
True story, I love this entire album. Trying to pick one song from it was, in a word, impossible. Yet, I managed to make the impossible possible. For as long as I can remember, we listened to this album in its entirety throughout the holiday season (and I literally mean album. In fact, I believe we had this on LP, then cassette tape, and then CD. That's right, the soothing sounds of the Carpenter family will not be bested by the advancements in audio technology). I'd recommend the entire album; whenever I hear it, I'm immediately transported "home" either decorating the tree, wrapping Christmas caramels, or just being with my family. To that end, "Home for the Holidays" seemed appropriate. Because, for the holidays you really can't beat home sweet home.
(And holy cow! If that video wasn't pure wholesome Lawrence-Welk-inspired fun, then I don't know what is.)
2. "Carol of the Bells," Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis was right up there with The Carpenters in our house. His Christmas album was on constant repeat in our living room. Plus "Carol of the Bells" is my favorite traditional carol.
1. "Colorado Christmas," The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
If you live anywhere other than Colorado, you likely have never heard this song. This is my 11th holiday season in Seattle and I know I've never heard it out there, because they'd be all, "Huh?! 'A quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow?' What's that all about? Try rain, buckets and buckets of rain." And I can tell you right now, if anyone ever wrote a song proclaiming that all that rain is "the closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere," well they'd be laughed right out of town (oh, and we'd all be doomed). But this is hands down my all-time favorite Christmas tune. And I can attest that there's nothing I look forward to more than getting on that plane and heading home to Colorado for Christmas. Even when we don't have snow, it's still a Colorado Christmas and I love it. And there's no dreaming this year, for my Christmas is most definitely white.