Holiday Tunes

Christmas music has a tendency to drive me insane. The cheery, upbeat nature and tacky lyrics penetrate my eardrums causing a painful migraine to set in and pound against my skull with every gleeful note.

Here my boyfriend and I have comprised a list of holiday songs that are not only bearable, but really quite superb.

#1 – This is the only song that will receive a number as the rest are pretty much equal. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kristy McColl is worthy of the title of number one Christmas song EVER. My boyfriend actually reminded me of this recently and referred to the hopefulness for next year’s Christmas rather than the present Christmas (being stuck in the drunk tank). He compared it to our situation – him being deployed in Afghanistan and me being home, celebrating the holidays as best I can without the man I love.

After that, nothing compares; however, if I were to do a second choice it would be The Killers, Don’t Shoot Me Santa Claus. This video is absolutely hysterical.

Tom Waits, one of my favorite voices of all time, wrote a song entitled Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis. Gritty, rough, and hardcore lyrics. Daniel Durchholz once compared Waits’ voice as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.”

Next is my boyfriend’s pick and a definite classic – James Brown’s Please Come Home for Christmas. 

Simply hilarious, I Want an Alien for Christmas by New Jersey natives, Fountains of Wayne.

The Flaming Lips, Christmas at the Zoo. 

Another fun one with a pretty crazy story of violence and drunken festivities (of sorts), Oi, To The World by The Vandals.

Christmas in Cape Town by Randy Newman. Dark sense of humor noted.

It isn’t Christmas without the classic Elvis – Blue Christmas. 

Elvis’ Santa Claus is Back in Town is another essential, raunchy blues Christmas song.

Now I am going to propose something very classic, Frank Sinatra’s Christmas Song. This is a very traditional song, yet it makes it on my list because Frank is simply amazing.

I wish everyone a very merry Christmas and please feel free to add any favorites of yours to the comments. I would love to hear them.

Christmas Shopping Frustrations

Silver bells, mistletoe, spiked egg nog, the crisp scent of fresh pine, the chance to see the entire extended family together (arguing or not, it is a beautiful thing)… Those are a few highlights, but December is one of those months where everything is shadowed by an overarching theme of false holiday cheer, tacky and obnoxious tunes, gaudy lights, annoying shoppers, and crazy sales.

I have a firm anti-Christmas and anti-Birthday gift policy among my friends. We do not exchange gifts during these times. Birthday’s are for parties and fun events. Therefore any money that would go to a gift goes to making that event snazzier and more elaborate. This may include, but is not limited to purchasing a ridiculous sequin dress, buying enough alcohol to kill a herd of elephants, or splurging at a chichi restaurant with cloth tablecloths and silver knives.

In regards to the holiday season, we all buy gifts for family members, splurging on Kindle’s, cameras and fancy watches to appease their good taste. This leaves little in the budget left for close friends. Credit cards end up maxed out with gifts, travel expenses and food. Therefore, we usually agree to not exchange gifts in order to make our hectic lives a little bit simpler during this time of year.

The main reason for my aversion to the holiday shopping: obligation ruins a gift. Around the holidays people buy gifts for each other to show their love, respect and appreciation for them. This is a lovely sentimental aspect that has been perverted by commercial holiday nonsense and varying senses of obligation. By obligation, I refer to the feeling someone has when they know that another individual has purchased a gift for them and therefore they feel as though they have to purchase one in return to make the gift transaction fair. This is a ludicrous notion. As well as someone receiving a gift and having not provided one in return, feeling a sense of guilt. It also occurs when someone gives a gift without receiving one in return and gets peeved at the lack of courtesy.

I lavish in the random, the unwarranted, and the surprise. A trip to an exotic island or a new country is a great opportunity to pick up a little trinket, clothing or cultural item for a friend or family member. Checking out a fall festival or summer arts fair is another great time to grab some handmade art that reminds you of a certain someone. It is these moments where you truly, in the moment, are reminded of that person. The chosen gift is personal and invokes their individuality without being rushed, forced or wrapped in tacky reindeer paper. These types of gifts are unique, appreciated more, and there is no sense of obligation involved.

Another note on the holiday season, Christmas cards are a waste of money, trees and end up thrown out in under a week. Unless a baby picture is tucked in that little envelope with the card, pick up the phone and speak to your family and friends. Wish them a warm holiday and lots of cheer. I have received cards from people I have not spoken to in months. In these cases, I would prefer a phone call and a chance to catch up. In regards to people I see everyday, just wish me a happy holiday over coffee. Or, plan a big group dinner sometime before the holiday. Do something together or at least be personable over the phone.

I swear I am not a Grinch. Happy Holidays!