Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

My wife asked me for my Christmas wish list. I want the new Hess toy truck, and…

I was stumped. I didn’t have a book I wanted that would sit on my “I really need to read that” pile. There’s always music but I don’t always listen to what I have already.

Unfortunately, what I REALLY want is a country that believes in encouraging people to cast their ballots and one person, one vote, rather than restricting the franchise and gerrymandering their districts.

I want a country that values our natural resources, rather than ignoring climate change and despoiling the earth for profit. “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, ” as it says in Numbers.

I want a country that doesn’t elect known sexual predators to high office.

I want a country that welcomes the immigrant and appreciate the strength that diversity brings to the country, rather than promoting bigotry and divisiveness. “Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land.” (Leviticus 19:33)

I want a country that provides a living wage and a secure safety net, with access to resources for those who need it, rather than tax breaks for those with private planes. “If you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.” (Isaiah 58:10)

I want a country that believes in transparency of government, not backroom dealings with lobbyists.

I want a country that works for peace, not goads others into war. “Let there be peace on earth,” and all that.

You get the idea.

And the really annoying thing about my Christmas wish list is that there is not anything that will fit on Santa’s sleigh.

Even worse, in order for me to be able to get the presents I want, I, and a whole slew of other folks will have to work, to fight to make it happen.

What kind of presents are these anyway? They are the presents that require us to be present.

Ugh, activism. OK, then, let’s see how close I can get to matching up with my wishlist.

But I still want the Hess truck.

Merry Christmas.

Here’s a great thing about when someone puts labels on posts on the Blogger platform: you can access Jaquandor’s Daily Dose of Christmas, not just for this year, but for several years back. You’re welcome.

A couple new tracks from this year:

Indigo Christmas -Theresa Olin, written by Linda Bonney Olin

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – MonaLisa Twins

Away in a Manger – Pentatonix

You Ain’t Gettin’ S#!t (For Xmas) – Emily “Boo Boo” Miller

Some random older cuts I’ve come across:

Christmas Rappin’- Kurtis Blow, 1979

The Christians and The Pagans – Dar Williams

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love, from her recurring appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman

We Need A Little Christmas – Angela Lansbury, from the Broadway musical MAME

Winter Song – Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson

Chrissy The Christmas Mouse – Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Allan Sherman

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

A Shadows of Knight mashup of a Christmas carol and a Dave Brubeck hit

Shepherd’s Hey by Percy Grainger, which I have on some holiday record or other

Plus: Coverville 1197: The 2017 Christmas Cover Show

Finally, some tunes I tend to play every year:

Every Valley – Handel’s Messiah, A Soulful Celebration; it was such a great surprise

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole; my late mom was a huge fan of Nat

White Christmas – the Drifters; not just the song but this particular animation I love

Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi, from a Charlie Brown Christmas

The Coventry Carol – Alison Moyet, from the very first A Very Special Christmas album in 1987

Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty, from the second A Very Special Christmas album in 1992; I can’t believe he’s gone

Winter Snow – Booker T. and the MG’S (at 2:30) – Silver Bells is OK, but Winter Snow, which I first head on that first Stax-Volt box set, really gets to me

What Christmas Means To Me – Stevie Wonder; there are quite a few Motown Christmas albums and this is my favorite cut, the last song on the Someday at Christmas album from 1967

The Bells of Christmas -Julie Andrews; the version I have on vinyl skips the unnecessary instrumentation from about 1:08 to 2:02, which appeared on an album from Firestone tires in the 1960s. Oh, here it is at 17:05

In a recent sermon, one of my pastors noted that he had received a circular for holiday shopping in September of this year. He promptly threw it into the recycling bin. That would have bugged me too.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook on November 16 that a certain local radio station was already playing Christmas music. I commented, “Thanks for the warning. Will avoid.”

On December 6, though, I started playing at least parts of my now vast collection of holiday CDs. It’s because it’s St. Nicholas Day in parts of Europe.

And I keeping playing it until January 6. After all there are 12 days of Christmas. It’ll be Three Kings Day in places like Puerto Rico, and Christmas in the Eastern Orthodox church. Since I grew up in a largely Slavic neighborhood in Binghamton, NY, most people called it “Russian Christmas.”

I should note, however, that there are seasonal things I do enjoy even in November. Arthur’s array of ads from New Zealand and the UK don’t irritate me as much as the American-made versions, maybe because they’re generally so well crafted. Or perhaps I just find them quaint. Here are some more ads.

Advent: Hearing God in a Female Voice

Ha! An article about having a “Stress-free” holiday included such wisdom as “You don’t have to make everything from scratch.” Good to know, but that wasn’t happening anyway.

Do you wish “Merry Christmas” to a rabbi?

This caught my attention in a positive light, though it’s happening throughout the year: Alexandria [Louisiana] church holds community feeding day. “Reverend Roger Green said the event is one of his favorite parts of the job.” No relation to me, as far as I know.

Now I Know: The Forgotten History of Jingle Bells

Where did Frosty put his money?
In the snow bank. All his assets were frozen!

What is Santa’s favorite sweater?
His Fleece Navidad

Seasons Greetings

For ABC Wednesday

It’s been around so long that I forgot Jingle Bells was actually penned by someone. The Wikipedia: “It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title One Horse Open Sleigh in the autumn of 1857.

“Although originally intended for the Thanksgiving season, and having no connection to Christmas, it became associated with Christmas music and the holiday season in general decades after it was first performed on Washington Street in Boston in 1857… It was first recorded in 1889 on an Edison cylinder” by Will Lyle.

Lots of people have recorded the song, of course, my favorite being Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters in 1943. Even barking dogs have charted, first in 1955.

Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from space, by Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra with a smuggled harmonica.

Of course, it inspired a number of parodies and homages, most notably Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms from 1957, a very different tune that became one of the most popular seasonal song of all time; as of 2004, it was #3 behind only White Christmas by Bing Crosby, and Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song.

“The first notes in the chorus have become a motif that has been inserted into recordings other Christmas songs, most notably a guitar passage at the end of [the Cole hit] and Clarence Clemons performing a saxophone solo in the middle of Bruce Springsteen’s Merry Christmas Baby; a piano is also heard playing these notes at the end of Springsteen’s version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

But what’s not mentioned in the article is Joni Mitchell’s song River, which starts and ends with the Jingle Bells theme. I remain fascinated that one of my good friends, now deceased, who was a huge Joni fan did not discern it.

Listen to:

Jingle Bells (Disney)

Jingle Bells – Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters

Jingle Bells – Barking Dogs

Jingle Bells, Batman smells from the Simpsons

Jingle Bells – The Fab Four, in the style of Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles

Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms

River – Joni Mitchell

I was looking for suitable material for the work blog and came across a piece called “Yes, Virginia, Online Shopping Is Going to Get Hotter This Season.”

What I discovered was that our intern, an undergraduate student, had NO idea what the “Yes, Virginia” reference meant. And I checked with another young adult and got the same blank response. Yes, I know this is a small sampling.

Talking to our interns has been useful. They know a LOT of things I’m only dimly aware of, but are oblivious to others. Watching JEOPARDY! sometimes has the same effect, as I miss the references to movies of 2017, but nail the questions that all three contestants in their twenties to forties fail to ring in on.

As I thought on it, I should not have been surprised by the pop cultural divide. I mean, “yes, Virginia” was a reference to something that happened over a century ago. With SO much information out there, this type of cultural diffusion was inevitable.

Still, I was, to my surprise, slightly sad. Not to romanticize it overly, but it felt as though another bit of a shared bit of the common culture was fading away. And the headline writer of the article was unaware of it.

As many of you DO know, Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and “the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897.

“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?”

The response, in part:

“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.”

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