I still want a hula hoop

I have an insane love for Christmas music. No, it’s crazy, my love for Christmas music. Really.

When it comes to Christmas music, the regular rules of listening don’t apply. Normally, I can’t stand Mariah Carey. When it comes to Christmas music, she’s alright. Pop princesses, the alternative crowd, classic crooners, and even a bit of the country herd are all mixing it up right now in Ferris the iPod.

If there was a dinner party with all these folks in attendance, I would pay to be there. Who knows what would happen when this group mixes it up in person.

I think I’ve always loved Christmas music. Well, I’ve always loved music in general, but there’s something about Christmas tunes that makes me smile and gets me in the holiday spirit. I remember singing along to the Christmas songs as a kid, getting excited when the first sign of Christmas came on the radio, just general “Woo! Christmas!” excitement all month long.* Ah, Christmas.

I would be remiss in my duties as a music dork if I didn’t share a list of 19 of my favorite Christmas tunes. Some of the songs may be new to the favorites list, but I find that I can’t stop listening to them this year. Some bring back memories, and some have been on the list for as long as I can remember. No matter what, they get played a lot right now.

  • Frosty the Snowman – Harry Connick, Jr. Ah, Harry. I do love him and his jazzy musician ways. He is possibly the only person who could do this song in a way that makes me enjoy it as an adult.
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan. I like almost every version of this song I’ve heard, so there’s always at least one on the favorites list. This version is a little faster than most, but it’s still good.
  • Christmas Time Is Near – SNL 2000. So, yes. A skit from SNL. This cracked me up so much the first time I saw it that I couldn’t contain myself. The later versions (including the Easter one with a special appearance by American Idol judge Simon Cowell) just cemented it as one of my favorite SNL things ever, right up there with Steve Martin’s Gala Opening. So, naturally, just hearing it also makes me giggle.
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey. Remember how I said Mariah Carey was okay at Christmas? This song is the reason why. I don’t know why I love it, but I sing along whenever I get the chance.
  • River – Robert Downey Jr. His version is just heartbreaking.
  • My Grown-Up Christmas List – Kelly Clarkson. The first time I heard it, this song didn’t really do anything for me. Since then, it’s really grown on me and become one of my favorites. The Kelly Clarkson version is one of two that I have and I actually think she does quite a good job with it (there is a reason she was the original American Idol).
  • Deck the Halls – SHeDAISY. Really, I’m a fan of their whole cd of Christmas music, but I really like what they did with Deck the Halls – it’s modern and not at all that boring “fa-la-la-la-la” song we all know and feel apathy toward.
  • ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? – Louis Armstrong and What Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds Everybody Swingin’)? – Louis Prima. Listed together because I discovered them both at the same time, thanks to a very small list of “not your typical Christmas songs” in, I think, Entertainment Weekly several years ago. Not usually the best source of musical information, but since my love of Christmas music (and music in general) borders on obsession, I thought I’d check the songs out and I liked them.
  • A Christmas to Remember – Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers. I remember watching this Christmas special as a kid with the ‘rents and I know it was one of my favorite Christmas soundtracks as a kid. I just discovered it again this year and while the cheese factor is HUGE, it reminds me of Christmas when I was younger.
  • Bizarre Christmas Incident – Ben Folds. Santa gets stuck in a chimney, gets found the next morning sans red and white suit, Ben Folds sings in a grandpa voice. Funny stuff, folks.
  • Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2. I just can’t get enough U2. They make heartache sound so cheerful, too.
  • Fairytale of New York – the Pogues w/Kirsty Maccoll. Absolutely fabulous song. Even though there are other versions floating around (some of which I have), nobody tops this one.
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland.** Sometime a few years ago, I realized that I had never seen Meet Me In St. Louis and set about remedying that situation. I mean, I’m FROM St. Louis, I should see the movie, right? Finally, I caught it on cable (it wasn’t even out on DVD when I made this discovery) and kind of fell in love with it. I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Along the way, I also fell for the original version of this song, as sung in the movie when the family still thinks they’re about to move away from their friends, house, and St. Louis. “Now dammit, Tootie, get back here and quit beating up the snowpeople! I’m singing!”
  • The Chipmunks Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) – The Chipmunks. I was Alvin as a young child. Had to march to the beat of my own drummer, got lost in thought, asked for ridiculous presents. The only difference is that I wasn’t a boy. Or, um, a talking Chipmunk adopted by a songwriter and in a singing group with my brothers. Other than that, though, twins.
  • Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses. Come on, who doesn’t like this one? On the other hand, who tries to get a single date with the same guy for a year? Hmm, I wonder if she really does know what boys like or what guys want.
  • White Christmas – Bing Crosby. It’s possible that this is the first Christmas song I ever started singing. Mostly because I always wanted a snowy Christmas, so I tried to give the weather a push by singing. It never worked, though. Hmm.
  • Merry Christmas From the Family – Jill Sobule. Hers was the first version I heard of this song and it just stuck with me.
  • What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – Diana Krall. I’m also really fond of Ella Fitzgerald’s version, but she’s represented elsewhere on the list.

*Although that may have partially been “Woo! Presents!” excitement, too.

**How is it possible that I have 17 different versions of this song on Ferris the iPod?


6 thoughts on “I still want a hula hoop

  1. Fiona Apple has a lovely “Frosty the Snowman” as well, if you get the chance to check that out. Very classic and pretty and actually not recognizably Fiona Apple right away.

    I also love love love the “Maybe This Christmas” album … the one with Barenaked Ladies, Jimmy Eat World, and a few others on it … there are several good ones on there. I think they made a “Maybe This Christmas 2” and are probably still going, but I haven’t checked those out.

  2. I love your list. Fantastic. Heartbreaking is a wonderful way to describe Downey’s version of River. If he never did another creative thing he should be a legend for this alone. Don’t forget also Nat King Coles version of the Christmas song. Goes down like butter! and thanks for adding Judy’s version of Have Yourself..it always makes me cry. Franks version is good too but her is the best..

  3. Okay so I hate christ–mas…oh yea..anyway… I do like the following songs even if i don’t wanna
    Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
    All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey.
    “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” (Traditional) – 3:26 – featuring Sarah McLachlan, recorded in 1997
    and the Sarejevo one…. or however you spell it.

  4. I love your list, too! In fact, I am so inspired I’m going to write my own. RDJ’s version of River is way way up there on my list. Sarah McLachlan’s new rendition of it is good, too, but his takes the cake.

  5. I wouldn’t spit on Mariah Carey if she were on fire but God I love All I Want For Christmas.

    That Louis Prima tune came up on my shuffle last Friday.

  6. Schnozz – there is a Maybe This Christmas Too and Maybe This Christmas Tree. I haven’t heard of a 4th this year yet, though.

    Dixie – I feel the same way about Mariah Carey. Darn her for having such a great Christmas song!

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