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fa-la-la-la-la, la friday five

So, my love-hate relationship with the 24/7 Christmas music we're all subjected treated to is well documented. It gets too sentimentally sticky-sweet sometimes, yet I find myself unable to resist it. And so...

1. A favorite 'secular' Christmas song.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. There are many versions and most of them are good, except the Manhattan Transfer manage to go beyond "melancholy" straight into "dirge-like." Why, Lord, why? It's hard to mess that one up. Just sing the darn thing and don't slur your way down to 16 rpm and I'm happy.

The definitive version, and I've said this many times, is John Denver singing with Rolf the Dog on the John Denver and the Muppets--A Christmas Together. Ah, the tinkly piano...

2. Christmas song that chokes you up (maybe even in spite of yourself--the cheesier the better)
Mary Did You Know gets me, and a good version of O Holy Night (yes it exists). This year I get a lump in my throat with Happy Xmas (War is Over). But the one that really chokes me up... I can't believe I'm admitting this... it's the dreckiest of the dreck...

...Christmas Shoes.


You all don't like me anymore, do you?

3. Christmas song that makes you want to stuff your ears with chestnuts roasted on an open fire.
Where should I start...
All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
Wonderful Christmastime (Paul McCartney)
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

4. The Twelve Days of Christmas: is there *any* redeeming value to that song? Discuss.
There are exactly two good versions of this song. One is by the Muppets. The other is on A Prairie Home Christmas, with the sound effects guy making short little sounds for each of the gifts. It's very funny and about 1/4 of the usual length of the song.

I will also take this opportunity to point out that the whole "song was used as a catechetical tool in England during the Counter-Reformation" is a ginormous urban legend.

5. A favorite Christmas album
Ella (Fitzgerald) Wishes You a Swingin' Christmas
Winter Solstice III is the best of the bunch
Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas
Mel Torme's Christmas album (can't remember the title)

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