Update (Dec. 16th): If you leave a comment to this post any time today or tomorrow, you’ll be entered to win everything I’ve ever written, both as Kinsey Holley and as part of the Nine Naughty Novelists. That’s 7 books: 3 novellas, 2 novels, 1 almost novella and 1 anthology. Comments need not pertain to the subject; “Hey! Give me free books!” will suffice. Contest closes midnight Tuesday the 17th.
I’m a Christmas freak. I love the whole holiday season, Halloween through New Year’s Day (see previous post), but December is my favorite month. My birthday is today, and in nine days we’ll have Christmas. (I’m turning 50 this year, so the birthday isn’t the attraction it used to be.)
I know a lot of people complain about stores starting the Christmas displays in September, and Christmas music being played in November, but I love it. If I could, I’d start decking the halls the week before Thanksgiving, just so I could enjoy it all longer. Unfortunately, our Christmas decorations are stored in the attic and ever since I fell out of it (and onto the kitchen floor) ten years ago, I have to depend on Hub to get Christmas started. This year we all got sick right after Thanksgiving, so the halls didn’t get decked til around the 7th, and Hub never put up the house lights because his back’s been out.
I’m trying to get over it.
I love Christmas music. Over the years I’ve grown sick of some songs that I used to adore–Springsteen’s Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Live Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas, and Vince Vance and the Valiants’ All I Want For Christmas Is You are three of the songs I’m most tired of now. As soon as they come on the radio, I have to change it.
There are still some songs that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of (although I’m probably wrong): U2’s version of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home): Keith Richard’s version of Run Run Rudolph (I think the proper title is Run Rudolph Run, but that’s just stupid); and Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas (which is the only Carey song I will ever listen to willingly.)
I’m also a fan of dystopian (for lack of a better word) Christmas songs.
Three of my favorites:
Fairytale of New York, by the Pogues and featuring the late, amazing Kristy McColl, is a nasty, heartbreaking, gorgeous ballad. Shane Macgowan has his quirks and foilbles, but the man can write a song. This one’s frequently cited as the most beloved Christmas song in Ireland and Great Britain; even though it’s actually depressing as hell:
I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can´t make it out alone
the first time I hear it on (satellite, only) radio in the late fall, I know it’s Christmas time.
My other two faves are dystopian only in that they’re funny and not sweet.
I once read a piece that referred to the family in Robert Earl Keen’s Merry Christmas From the Family as “dysfunctional,” and that one stumped me. I don’t find the description of events in this song dysfunctional at all. These people seem perfectly happy, just not perfect. Mom and Dad get a little toasted; an RV shorts out the lights; someone has to go to the store to buy lemons, fake snow, cigarettes, and tampons. I don’t see this as weird. Maybe it’s a redneck thing.
I don’t know if people outside Texas are familiar with Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis; here, they’re superstars. Both are extremely talented songwriters. George Strait covered Bruce’s Wrapped and Tim McGraw covered Angry All the Time. I remember seeing Kelly at a fundraiser in Austin thirteen plus years ago when she was pregnant with her first of four kids; I saw her last night at the Mucky Duck and the bitch looks exactly the same.
Bruce wrote a great song about spending his first Christmas with Kelly’s very Christan family in Oklahoma, a celebration so wholesome it makes “Waco look like a scene from Girls Gone Wild.”
If you have any favorite Christmas songs, share them in the comments.