Xmas music: It was the 1st of December

Thurl Ravenscroft.

GrinchMy wife plays Xmas music as early as she can, and certainly by Thanksgiving. I’m sure she does in her car.

Whereas I tend to wait until December 6, St. Nick’s Day, though I continue until January 6, Three Kings Day, or maybe even the 7th, which we called in Binghamton, Russian Christmas.

The solution, to my ear, is to take the Sedingerian solution and start on the 1st of December. Traditionally, that’s when he has started Your Daily Dose of Christmas. Which is actually Advent, but that’s just me being pedantic.

Child of Winter – Beach Boys. There’s a Beach Boys Christmas album from 1964, but this song isn’t on it because it came out a decade later. I heard this on a Warner Brothers Loss Leader, which the late Dustbury cataloged so well.

Santa’s Too Fat For The Hula Hoop  – The Pixies. No, not those Pixies. This cut featured Thurl Ravenscroft, who you might know as the voice of Tony the Tiger in those Frosted Flakes commercials.

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Thurl Ravenscroft. From The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I LOVE Thurl’s voice.

Snoopy’s Christmas – Royal Guardsmen. I had a number of email conversations with John Burdett, drummer with the band. I even had the chance to connect John with an old friend. That was cool.

Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi. I read a book about the musician. It was very good but very dense with detail.

Hamildolph – Eclipse 6. I must have gotten this from Kelly Sedinger.

12 Days of Christmas – Bob and Doug McKenzie. I have their whole album on vinyl.

Gone Hawai’ian

Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters. An incredibly corny song that’s nevertheless been covered a few times.

Christmas Is A-Comin’ – Leadbelly. My father owned an LP on which this song appeared.

Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan. Must be.

All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey. I’m fascinated that, 25 years after its release, the song went to #1 in 2019, not on some specialized holiday charts, but on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Holly and the Ivy -· Nowell Sing We Clear. I saw Nowell We Sing Clear live in the Capital District at least thrice in the late 1970s and 1980s

Christmas Time  (Is Here Again) –  The Beatles.  The core of this song was on the Beatles 1966 Christmas record they sent out to their fan club. This track is on the Free as a Bird CD Single and I do have it, of course

Via Sharp Little PencilDing-a-ling, I Feel SO ChRiStMaS-eY! – Liza Minelli and Cyril Richard

So it begins.

More Xmas music – percussion, rodents

A Very Special Christmas

Little Drummer BoyWhen I grew up, I believe we had exactly two Christmas singles. The Little Drummer Boy was a tune I sang at church when I was young and cute. The version by the Harry Simone Chorale actually made the pop charts between 1958 and 1962, at #13, #15, #24, #22, and #28, respectively. It also made it to #6 on the adult contemporary charts in both 1961 and 1962.

Then it had a run on the Xmas charts between 1963 and 1970. It went #2 for four weeks, #1 for three weeks thrice in a row, #2, #1, #2, #3, respectively. A new version got to #9 in 1972, ##20 in 1973, and #10 in 1983, all on the Xmas charts.

The other single is well-loved or well-hated.  The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) was by David Seville and the furry creatures. In 1958, it went to #1 on the POP charts for FOUR weeks, and #5 on the rhythm and blues charts to boot. Then #41, #45, #39, and #40 on the pop charts in 1959 through 1962, respectively. It went #5 Xmas in 1963, and #6 Xmas in 1964.

We did have a few Christmas albums. But it seemed that most of them were rather generic. One exception was a series of albums by some name artists, put out by the Firestone tire company. At least two of them featured Julie Andrews. And by far, my favorite song was The Bells of Christmas, this particular version.

Some other songs

Getting Ready for Christmas Day – Paul Simon. Interesting that the sermon sampled was delivered in 1941, the same year Paul was born.

Jingle Bells – The Fab 4. NOT the Beatles.

Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi Trio. I read a bio about Vince some years back.

From that first A Very Special Christmas album, which appeared on various charts between 1987 and 2002:
The Coventry Carol – Alison Moyet.
Gabriel’s Message  – Sting. I had a girlfriend who HATED Sting’s voice.

Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty. From that second A Very Special Christmas album in 1992, which charted between 1992 and 1998. I still miss Petty.

Mary’s Boy Child – Harry Belafonte. My late father incorporated elements of Belafonte in his folk-singing career.

Hamildolph! – Eclipse 6

Holiday places, Xmas faces

Santa Claus dons his beachwear

Santa Claus.IN
Back in 2017, The Census Bureau put out this list of holiday places:

“Some names of places associated with the holiday season consist of a dozen places named Holly, including Mount Holly, N.C. (population 14,495), and Holly Springs, Miss. (7,682).

“There is Snowflake, Ariz. (5,764); Santa Claus, Ind. (2,463); North Pole, Alaska (2,232); Noel, Mo. (1,816); and — if you know about reindeer — Dasher, Ga. (979), and Rudolph, Wis. (430). There is also Unity, Ore. (68).”

What, no Bethlehem, PA (population 75,707 in 2017)?

Traveller.com in Australia

It recommended over a dozen holiday places, including:

New York City, NY

“Surely you know what Christmas in the Big Apple looks like, thanks to countless movies: Christmas lights, cheesy muzak, preferably a light dusting of snow.

“The world’s tallest Christmas tree is lit at the Rockefeller Center in early December. Ice skating below it is a must for wintertime visitors, as is checking out the window displays in New York’s largest department stores. Finish with a New York Ballet performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ for a Christmas straight out of central casting.

San Juan, PR

“A small island with a big personality, Puerto Rico serves up a sunny Christmas with a salsa beat and a side dish of spit-roasted pig. Festivities last from early December to Three Kings Day on 6 January. From mid-December churches conduct dawn masses rich with Christmas carols, while exuberant roving groups of carolers travel from house to house and make merry.

“The big feast is held on Christmas Eve, followed by Midnight Mass. For season-setting decorations, head to City Hall on the Plaza de Armas and the fairy-lit promenade Paseo de la Princesa.”


The network updated this list of holiday places in September 2019. It ALSO suggested New York City.

Honolulu, HI

“Santa Claus dons his beach wear for the Christmas celebrations in Hawaii. What the Aloha State lacks in snow it more than makes up for in festive vibes of peace and goodwill.

“The celebrations center around Honolulu City Lights, a monthlong Christmas display with an opening parade, live music, and a 15-meter Christmas tree…

“At 6 meters tall (almost 20 feet) Shaka Santa — Mr. Claus dressed down in red shorts and open shirt — takes pride of place downtown, seated next to his mu’umu’u-wearing wife, Tutu Mele.”

Quebec City, QC

“A haven for environmentally friendly, outdoor enthusiasts, Quebec bustles with winter activity, offering holiday programs for all tastes.

“Old Quebec is turned into a picturesque Christmas village. Sausage and roast chestnut lovers can browse the wares at the German Christmas market. The more religiously inclined can wander an exposition of nativity scenes from around the world…
“And when Christmas is over, there’s Quebec Winter Carnival from February 7 to 16, 2020.”

Santa Claus, IN

“Christmas is a year-round occasion in this town… [It] gets thousands of letters a year from children trying to reach St. Nick himself. A group of volunteers called Santa’s Elves was set up in the mid-1930s to reply to each letter.
“The Land of Lights display is a 1.2-mile drive around the Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort.

Xmas places for ABC Wednesday

Christmas music in November

A typo augers a special appearance, for naughty boys and girls

Christmas musicThe Boston Globe had a story in mid-November: Are you crazy for Christmas music in November – or does it make you crazy?

“Is there anything that can summon the Scrooges quicker than early-onset Christmas music? ‘If you listen to Christmas music in November, you are a psychopath,’ one person recently wrote on Twitter.

“Yet, for a small but dedicated contingent, the jeers and eye rolls offer little deterrence. Yes, the jack-o’-lanterns might still be perched on doorsteps. True, Thanksgiving might be weeks away. They just can’t help themselves.”

I’ll admit being in the “made crazy” category for much of my adulthood. But I’ve found that finding my own soundtrack, in my own mind if necessary, works reasonably well so that I’m not totally bored by seasonal music by the Ides of December.

Still, the fact that Thanksgiving in the United States in 2018 is the earliest it can be is slightly problematic. It seems to invite turning to the “all-Christmas music all the time” radio station in the car. Not by me, and not by my daughter. Fortunately, the Hamilton soundtrack or some K-pop usually wins the day, at least until December 1.

That said, the fact that Arthur posts Christmas ads in his blog in November, from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States. I find interesting and charming because I don’t tend to see them otherwise.

Here’s something I’ve known for decades: Santa’s Elves Live in … Schenectady? Schenectady is near Albany, so this is required information. But this story about the Christmas transit transfer was new to me.

A typo augers a special appearance, for naughty boys and girls.

Finally, frankincense has been proven to be a psychoactive antidepressant. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I hear too much Christmas music in November. Or October, fercryinoutloud.

(X is for wanting to X out Xmas music in November, for ABC Wednesday)

X is for Xmas music (ABC W)

Crosby had a Christmas special, which aired AFTER HE DIED and he had Ziggy Stardust on?


It’s been long established that the term Xmas is not an insult to Christians, but rather that the X actually represents the cross, as I’ve noted here and undoubtedly elsewhere.

This is is going to be a list of some of my favorite Xmas music NOT otherwise represented in this blog this month, with links to each. Of course, “Christmas” songs are peculiar beasts, some of which don’t even mention the holiday – Let It Snow (X3) or Jingle Bells being obvious choices. And let’s not even talk about the theological implications.

Hamildolph – Eclipse 6 (a new one for me)

Christmastime is Here – Vince Guaraldi

Good King Wenceslas – Ames Brothers

Little Saint Nick – Beach Boys

Purple Snowflakes – Marvin Gaye. I song I had not heard until this season, yet I had, sort of.

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole. One of my wife’s favorites, and Nat always reminds me of my mom

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love. Way better than the U2 version on A Very Special Christmas 1.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town – the Jackson 5

Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi

This Christmas – Donny Hathaway – I miss Donny Hathaway

Snoopy’s Christmas – the reason I took such great exception to the Snoopy v Osama record is that it wasn’t THIS Snoopy

Child of Winter – Beach Boys. A 1974 single I discovered on one of those early 1970s Warner Brothers Loss Leaders

Mele Kalikimaka -Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters, which I think is a hoot

Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses, which reminds me of my pop music listening renaissance in the early 1980s

The Wexford Carol – Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss

The Christmas Waltz – Frank Sinatra, which is on some 4 CD Capitol singles box set

Getting Ready For Christmas Day – Paul Simon, from his 2011 album

Every valley shall be exalted – Lizz Lee and Chris Willis (with Mike E.) from Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration

The Mistletoe and Me – Isaac Hayes – and I miss Isaac

Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth -Bing Crosby and David Bowie This was strange. Crosby had a Christmas special, which aired AFTER HE DIED and he had Ziggy Stardust on? Now, Bowie’s gone too.

Father Christmas -The Kinks

River – Joni Mitchell. Hey, it namechecks Christmas, and it reminds me of my late friend Donna

What Christmas Means To Me – Stevie Wonder; Paul Young does a decent version on A Very Special Christmas 2, but it doesn’t hold an Advent candle to the original.

R.O. Blechman – CBS Christmas Message (1966)

The Bells of Christmas – Julie Andrews, from a Firestone (tire company) LP I still own. There’s an extended version of this which is less good

Winter Snow – Booker T & the MGs (starts at 2:30)

Slightly off topic:

In defense of Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime”

World’s First AI-generated Christmas Song Is the Stuff of Nightmares

Honest Trailers – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

The Korean War on Christmas

ABC Wednesday – Round 19

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