Whatever Happened to Christmas (Music)

This time of year, we are subjected to often horrific Christmas music. (I especially hate the “Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up let’s go!” one. It’s so ugly and it inevitably gets stuck in my head).

Terrible holiday tunes are hard to escape. They’re piped into most crummy stores — and we’re all spending more time in stores than usual. We even heard it on the Amtrak bus back into the City shortly after Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, I even hear it at work. The receptionist at my workplace insists on playing syrupy renditions of Christmas carols at her desk as part of her battle in the make-believe “War on Christmas”. (You learn quickly not to talk to her about it because she becomes rabid).

Contrary to popular belief, there is good Christmas music out there.

Now I know it’s controversial (and probably just flat out wrong) to mention “good music” and “John Denver” in the same paragraph but I’m not afraid to admit that I am devoted to John Denver & the Muppets, “A Christmas Together.”

jdmupps.jpg John Denver & the Muppets has been my family’s Christmas album since I was a kid and, as far as I’m concerned, Kermit is as essential to Christmas as Rudolph.

philspect.jpg For Mr. WholeHog, it’s not Christmas unless crazy-haired Phil Spector’s Christmas album is on, and now I, too, look forward to hearing Darlene Love belt out “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” this time of year.

low.gif Low’s tremendous Christmas album is a classic in our house. It also makes a great gift, because no one should be without Low’s song, “It was just like Christmas”. It’s everything Christmas music should be: joyful and wistful at the same time. Low also has a dreamy version of Elvis’s “Blue Christmas”.

aimeemann.jpg Other notable Christmas albums include Aimee Mann’s One More Drifter in the Snow (I particularly love her take on “Whatever Happened to Christmas”) and there’s Sufjan Stevens’ 5 CD (!) box set of Christmas music, Songs of Christmas.

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