The Sights & Sounds of Christmas

The radio in the library workroom has been set to the station that does "24/7 holiday music" at this time of year since the week before Thanksgiving (which in my opinion is SICK). I think what bugs me about it the most is that this is the "adult contemporary" station and they seem either to have a limited repertoire or to entertain repeated requests for the same songs all day. (Seriously, the only one that makes me happy is "Dominick the Donkey." And O.K., I think they played the "Hanukkah Song" right around the time Hanukkah started.) My desk is closest to the office door so it's not hard for me to notice there's Mariah Carey claiming all she wants for Christmas is you (whatever) or Snoopy's dealing with the Red Baron (I do not get this song for the life of me in spite of the fact that I love Snoopy) for the third time since I finished my morning coffee.

However, by some miracle, last week some sort of interference with the radio's reception cropped up, so no adult-contemporary-holiday-music for days. (Just the '70s station and I can tune most of that out.)

As a result, I finally felt like putting on Christmas music at home.

Right now, I've got in two discs from a set I apparently got in 2005 on clearance from Bath & Body Works--good music can be found in many unusual places, right? Some of the tracks are skippable, but the remote to the stereo died a while back, so I'm just pretending it's all good stuff, even if it's by a strange breathy singer I never heard of then and am surprised to see is still performing now.

After those two discs--because I have a lovely 3-disc player--comes the wonderful A Christmas Together, by John Denver & the Muppets. Freakin' awesome. A favorite of my entire family.

This afternoon while I paid bills and cleared magazines out of the living room, Miracle on 34th Street (original B&W of course, but sadly chopped up for commercials) was on the TV. I'm excited that the totally corny movie The Christmas List will be on this week--even though I have to record it because they're airing it at some ridiculous time. For some reason, the stop-motion animation stuff (other than Claymation) never really spoke to me. The Heat Miser starts singing and I'm totally turned off. I know they're widely loved, but I can't explain it so please don't think less of me!

Is there anything special you must listen to or watch at this time of year? Please share!


nightfly said…
Snoopy v. The Red Baron was actually based in part on a real-life WWI event, where German and British soldiers left their trenches in response to hearing the carols and revelry from the other side. They approached each other across no-man's land and formed an impromptu truce on Christmas Day.
ccr in MA said…
I was listening to that Muppet Christmas music yesterday, too! We really are meant to be friends. It's one of my favorites. I've started making a list of the holiday songs I love and the songs I'd like to never hear again, so expect a post on the subject this week.

I wasn't familiar with the Snoopy/Red Baron song, so I found it online to listen to, and I agree with you, what IS that about? (I'm not asking literally, but metaphorically.)

I don't think less of you for not liking the TV specials I do. If I can't even explain why I like them, why should I expect anyone else to like them?
Anonymous said…
Well, the Royal Guardsmen had a hit with "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron," and since they were otherwise another American garage band trying to affect British Invasionness, and since they liked cashing checks, they put out two follow-up singles, of which "Snoopy's Christmas" was the second/last. Both "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" and "The Return of the Red Baron" made the top 40. "Snoopy's Christmas" is now a holiday staple, at least a generation after anyone should get the joke.

A version of the Royal Guardsmen continues to gig.

Prof. M
Kate P said…
'Fly & ProfMondo--now you have me thinking I am referring to the wrong song (I should say I was told the wrong title by someone). That must be "Snoopy's Christmas" the radio station plays so much. The whole composition/execution of the song just ANNOYS me. That constant interjection of refrain that sounds like shouting and all in the middle of storytelling. Are you singing or are you telling a story? Make up your mind! Just goofy.

CCR--can't wait for the post; it sounds interesting! And thanks for the not-judging. :)
nightfly said…
Kate - oh, knowing what it's about and liking it are definitely candy canes of a different stripe. (He said, straining the metaphor badly enough to pull something.)

For example, one of my favorite Christmas songs is "The Little St. Nick" by the Beach Boys. It's a car song about Santa's sleigh! That's just genius to me. The Boys' version of "We Three Kings" is worth twenty of the other (even if they leave off a verse) but Little St Nick just makes me grin every time... very holiday spirit.

My wife's family always watches Babes in Toyland (Laurel and Hardy) for the holidays. My family has no such tradition, save going full-tilt boogie on the decorations and leaving them up well into January.

One tradition that my family has thus far resisted is to add a movie to the staple of holiday specials... the MST3K cover of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians." Once, apparently, was enough.
Anonymous said…
Kate -- The three songs all follow essentially the same template (including the semi-shouted choruses). Trust me -- they'd all grind your gears.

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