Winter holiday tunes

Suzy Snowflake

suzy snowflakeAlmost everyone knows that there are a lot of songs of this season that are winter holiday tunes. They have nothing to do with Christmas trees or presents, let alone Jesus. And this is more than fine.

I’ve long been fascinated by how Christmas just “happened” to fall around the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. From here: “December 25th is not the date mentioned in the Bible as the day of Jesus’s birth; the Bible is actually silent on the day or the time of year when Mary was said to have given birth to him in Bethlehem. The extrabiblical evidence from the first and second century is spare…: Origen of Alexandria (c. 165–264) goes so far as to mock Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as ‘pagan’ practices—a strong indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time. As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this point.”

And from here: “Pope Julius I chose December 25 [for Christmas]. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival.” Others doubt this account.


Winter Wonderland – Guy Lombardo from 1934.

Jingle Bells – Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters (1943). This is not the oldest version I could find. Benny Goodman charted an instrumental in 1935. And Glenn Miller performed the track in 1941, featuring Tex Beneke, Ernie Caceres, and the Modernaires on vocals, with references to Mexico and tequila.

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Vaughn Monroe with the Norton Sisters. This was a #1 pop song for five weeks at the beginning of 1946.

Solstice Bells – Jethro Tull. From the album Songs from the Wood), which I own.

A Midwinter’s Night Dream – Loreena McKennitt

It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring) – LOVE UNLIMITED, from the 1973 album UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF LOVE UNLIMITED

Winter Solstice – Lisa Thiel

The Chicago connection

Frosty the Snowman – Gene Autry (1950)
Suzy Snowflake – Rosemary Clooney (1951). But the version I first heard was from a few years later – this.

Check out the Chicago Christmas Classics: Frosty; Suzy Snowflake; Hardrock, Coco, and Joe, the latter trio surely a Christmas harbinger. But Hardrock et al. first aired in Johnstown, PA. My buddy Eddie turned me onto H, C, and J in this post from 2012.


A short (20 minutes) documentary about the kid-sized monorails that were used in some large department stores, usually in the toy sections, in the mid-to-late 20th century 

The Surprising Advent Message of Darlene Love

Coverville 1424: The 2022 Christmas Cover Show

The I states: IA, IL, IN, oh, and ID

The Second City is now third

I map
Created / Published: New York, Published by G. Woolworth Colton; agent, Chicago, Rufus Blanchard, 1858. From the Library of Congress.
An interesting thing to me: of the four of them, three of the I states, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, are in a line, east to west. I had been to NONE of them in the 20th century. OK, I rode a train through Indiana in 1998, and I had been to Chicago, Illinois’ O’Hare airport a few times. But I never counted those.

Then in 2008, I made it to Chicago, for real, which I wrote about HERE. That was state #30 I visited. And in 2019, I made it to West Lafayette, IN, making the tally 31. At this rate, I’ll have visited every state by the year 2228.

ID Idaho Abbreviation is first two letters The usual traditional shorter version was Ida. My great aunt’s sister was named Ida. Capital and largest city: Boise. It’s in two time zones, Mountain (primarily) and Pacific.
That B-52’s song Private Idaho is irrationally stuck in my head.

IL Illinois Abbreviation is first two letters, traditional version is Ill., which is kind of sick.
Capital: Springfield, home of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.
Largest city: Chicago, which used to be referred to as Second City – thus SCTV – because it was the second-largest city in the US, but now it’s third, after New York City and Los Angeles.
Arthur pointed out recently that this season was the centennial of the Red Summer, a painful picture of America’s racist past.
Here’s Chicago by Frank Sinatra.

IN Indiana Abbreviation is the first two letters, traditionally Ind.
Capital and largest city: Indianapolis.
Here’s a Wikipedia factoid: “As of 2013 Indiana has produced more National Basketball Association (NBA) players per capita than any other state. Muncie has produced the most per capita of any American city, with two other Indiana cities in the top ten… The 1986 film Hoosiers” – which is very good – “is inspired by the story of the 1954 Indiana state champions Milan High School.”
Vice-President, and former Indiana governor Mike Pence has been feuding with South Bend, IN mayor, and Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (pronounced like it’s spelled).
Strange song on a Motown label: Indiana Wants Me – R. Dean Taylor

IA Iowa First and last letters in the abbreviation, which is the traditional abbreviation, if people bothered to shorten it at all.
Capital and largest city: Des Moines.
The state gets outsized attention because it holds the first presidential caucus in the country, even before the first primary, which is in New Hampshire. Gatherings of voters select delegates to the state conventions.
The Iowa State Fair claims to be the inspiration for a novel and three movies. It is home to the world-famous Butter Cow, weighing about 600 pounds and standing 5.5 feet tall.
Here are a bunch of songs about the Hawkeye State.

For ABC Wednesday

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