Fa-La-La-La-La

Well, we’re a week into “approved” Christmas music season. OK, maybe not approved by lots of purists who think Christmas music shouldn’t be played until the day after Thanksgiving, but I think holding out until November 1 is pretty good in a time when Christmas decorations were up in stores before the Halloween candy went on sale.

I say all this while admitting here that I *may* have dipped into the Christmas music stash a little before November 1. OK, maybe two weeks before. But hey, I told you — it’s a weakness.

But after you listen to my Top 10 list, you’ll see — it’s not a weakness, after all. These are fabulous songs! How could you not want to listen to them for more than month — or two — out of the year?

I currently have 270 songs in my mega Christmas playlist, and I have four CDs in my car that haven’t been loaded in yet. Yes, I’m a junkie. I have eight versions of “White Christmas,” eight of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and TEN of “Winter Wonderland.” I don’t even like “Winter Wonderland” very much. Choosing among all these versions can be tough. But I’m willing to do it, if it will help you get in the spirit.

So, here, in no particular order, I give you the ultimate Christmas (play)list. These are the 10 songs that I’d want with me if I were trapped on the Island of Misfit Toys with Hermie, the Abominable Snowman, and Rudolph.

  • “River,” Robert Downey Jr. version, from A Very Ally Christmas, the Ally McBeal Christmas album (ack! This is $30 on Amazon — crazy! Get yourself to iTunes and buy the single.)
  • “White Christmas,” Otis Redding version, from the Love Actually soundtrack. (More to come on that movie in a different post.)
  • “A Song for a Winter’s Night,” Sarah McLachlan. Not sure what album this comes from — I found it on a compilation sometime way back when. Gorgeous, just gorgeous.
  • “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Barenaked Ladies version, featuring Sarah McLachlan (a Sarah two-fer!)
  • “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Judy Garland’s original version, from Meet Me in St. Louis. Versions after this one changed the lyric “Someday soon, we all will be together. Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow” to “Until then, hang a shining star upon the highest bough.” I like the more melancholy version better. Shocking, I know.
  • “A Baby Just Like You,” John Denver and the Muppets. Best song on the best Christmas album in my library. 
  • “Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella,” by Diane Taraz. Just a beautiful version of this song, in both French and English.
  • “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” John Lithgow and Bebe Neuwirth version. Inappropriate by today’s standards and hysterical, which probably explains why I got it on a mix CD from my Uncle Len. Even B can listen to this one over and over again, cracking up.
  • “Tennessee Christmas,” Amy Grant, from her original Christmas album (1984, I think). I have no interest in going to Tennessee for Christmas but this is the first song on an album that holds lots of sentimental value for me.
  • “Auld Lang Syne,” James Taylor version, from his Christmas CD, James Taylor at Christmas. I think every Christmas mix needs to get through to New Year’s, and this song helps with that.

If you listen to a lot of these, you’ll notice they’re mostly about love and family and the sweetness of the Christmas season — and that’s enough for me to justify listening to them for more than a month a year.

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2 thoughts on “Fa-La-La-La-La

  1. Awesome list! Robert Downey’s “River” was the first song I ever copied onto my computer into iTunes (I know this when I sort by date added) …and it was NOT during Christmas season. How funny is that? Love it. “Song for a Winter’s Night” is the most-played Christmas song on my list, and I remember that you’re the one who told me about it. My tolerance for playing that song repeatedly is scarily high. (And her “Wintersong” isn’t far behind…they’re both off the Wintersong album, btw.)

    If it’s not obvious already, I have to second you in endorsing the melancholy Christmas song genre, those are the ones I like the best. Jimmy Buffett, Karen Carpenter, Bing…all the voices I want to hear sound best singing the sadder songs!

    But I have to add my favorites: “Reconciliation” by Niamh Parsons. It doesn’t reference Christmas, but it was on a Christmas album, so it qualifies! I’m transfixed by it, and her voice, and it’s the perfect songtrack to staring moodily at the Christmas tree.

    Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven” (aka the Christmas Labor & Delivery Song) is a favorite, and Amy’s “Til The Season Comes Round Again” slays me, always has, but it’s been a couple years since I’ve been able to get through it since my mom died so close to the holidays..

    On a happier note, my upbeat favorite is “Zat You, Santa Claus” by Dr Teeth & Electric Mayhem (aka the Muppets)…and my favorite John Denver Christmas song is “Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas” 😉

    I have to go check out A Baby Just Like You…

  2. I still have the Phil Spector Christmas record (yes the round vinyl ) with all the girl oldies groups -great record. I don’t know if it can be recorded onto a CD. Probably not as popular as it used to be though. You’d just have have to overlook the unfortunate irony of a murderer producing a Christmas album.

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