I almost didn't do it this year. Almost every year I make a Christmas mix cd, in part because I'm ridiculous, but mostly just because I love this whole dang season and only by finding something new and interesting to listen to can I justify playing holiday music for so long. Amelia is kind; she puts up with it, and I think she's even started to look forward to it.
Anyway, last year I sent out the CD to family and a handful of people in lieu of Christmas cards. It was mildly successful; I had at least one request to get this year's version, but I thought, "Nah, who has time for a playlist right now?"
Turns out I do.
I'm happy to make copies for anyone who requests, though I wouldn't mind if you paypal'd me a buck or two to cover shipping and cd costs. I'll send you a cd either way, but if you want to contribute, I wouldn't complain. Either way, if you want me to send you something, email your address. My email address is my first initial, last firstname.lastname@example.org. or first name dot last name @gmail.com. And if that doesn't help, do I really know you? You can still leave your email address or real address in comments and I'll get back to you.
Or, if you don't want me to send you a cd (with personalized message!), you can make your own playlist on iTunes. Anyway, here's this year's mix. I call it "A Beginner's Guide to Christmas":
1. Ding Dong, Merrily on High - Chanticleer. Gotta start things out traditional--and by traditional, I mean acapella arrangements that could be straight out of the nineteenth century.
2. Go Tell It on the Mountain - New Orleans St. Peter's Gospel Choir. This is still traditional, but there's nothing like a little gospel music to get you in the Christmas spirit.
3. O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night -Trans Siberian Orchestra. In honor of our concert experience a few weeks ago. Also, when the electric guitar starts, you know things are about to get crazy.
4. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen. Bruuuuuuuuuuce! Christmas rock either works or it doesn't work, but here's the thing: Bruce Springsteen ALWAYS works.
5. Run Rudolph Run - Keith Richards. I hadn't heard this one before, but it's pretty good. It's late 70s Keith Richard, before he became a walking corpse, so it's pretty rollicking. This is the song playing in the background when you spike the eggnog.
6. Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC. I know! I've made probably five or six of these mixes in the past few years, how did I go so long without this little number? I don't know either, but I've rectified the oversight.
7. Christmas Baby - G. Love. Is Special Sauce on this song? I don't know, but it's got that classic G. Love sound that I like so much. He exudes hipness here, just like he does elsewhere.
8. Gary - MC Lars. What? A second Christmas rap? That's right! This tale of Rudolph's half-brother is destined to be, if not a classic, at least the only Christmas song you play this year that talks about 9/11.
9. Donna and Blitzen - Badly Drawn Boy. From the About a Boy soundtrack. This one was an Amelia request, and I have to admit she's right. It's a pretty good song.
10. 2000 Miles - Pretenders. Listen, I like her just fine, but were you expecting Chrissy Hynde to make a solid Christmas song? I wasn't really. This was a pleasant surprise.
11. Someday at Christmas - Jack Johnson. Yeah, it pretty much sounds like every Jack Johnson song ever, but it's still pretty enjoyable. A nice mellow complement to the Pretenders.
12. All That I Want - The Weepies. I'm pretty sure this was on a Gap commercial or something. But I still kind of like it.
13. Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses. I kind of wish this song was a little shorter, but it's still a good "background music during the white elephant gift exchange" type of song.
14. Carol of the Bells - The Bird and the Bee. A friend recommended this version of "Carol of the Bells," and I have to admit it took a little time to grow on me, but now I can't get enough. Dark and funky.
15. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Sarah McLachlan. I think it's some kind of rule that "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" has to be somewhere at the end of any holiday mix worth it's salt. It's the perfect fire-burning-down-to-embers type of song.
16. Wonderful Christmas - Tom McRae. Right after I finished last year's Christmas mix I heard this song for the first time and immediately opeend a new playlist called "Do Not Open Until Christmas 2008" because I knew this had to be the closer. So slow and mournful and just soft. I can't hear it enough.
Anyway, there you go. Modify it, laugh at it, whatever you want. But that's what's going to be played in my house this year. And yours too, if you want.