holiday panic! (the sequel)

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth!

It’s been a crazy week. I had a whirlwind trip to DC. Even though I didn’t get to see the Capitol Christmas Tree (which I REALLY wanted to see), I did get to catch up with a few friends. It’s been exciting to see where all of them are going in their lives: the DEA, the State Department, teaching (secondary and in higher education), think tanks, Capitol Hill. I have really accomplished (and amazing) friends. But honestly, it was just good to see them. There’s an old proverb: “the best mirror is an old friend.” I didn’t fully understand that until I started to spend time with old friends. And it’s true. There’s nothing like sitting around with people that have known you (and loved you) through all of your weird and awkward phases. Shout outs to Heather, Allan & Jes, Steve-o, and Leah. I don’t think you guys even know how much your friendship means to me. Love you so much.

Also? I had an interview for my dream job—so keep your fingers crossed for me!

On the way home, after hearing Josh Groban for the eight hundreth time (without swerving my car into oncoming traffic), I started to think about what my favorite Christmas songs are. And since I got a great response from my 10 worst holiday songs, I thought I’d do my top 10 favorite holiday songs. You know, to get me into the Christmas spirit…and maybe get up the energy to finish (read: start) my Christmas shopping. Especially since Christmas Eve is, you know, TOMORROW. The only thing that’s (almost) done is my grandmother’s scrapbook. Procrastination: holiday style!

So in my effort to NOT go to the mall (and hang out with Mama D), I present to you my (and my mom’s) favorite Christmas songs.

10. “The Christmas Song” — Mel Torme

A classic. And who better to sing it than the guy that wrote it? Although Nat King Cole comes close, no one beats Mel. Besides, Stacey loves the Velvet Fog! (if you didn’t get the Seinfeld reference, I don’t know if we can be friends anymore).

9. “Do they know it’s Christmas” — Band Aid

Like I said before, Band Aid has the special honor of being the only song to be on both the worst and best lists. I know I mocked it before (and, come on, the song BEGS to be mocked), but I really do have a soft spot for it. Especially when they say “the greatest gift they’ll get this year is life”. Makes me feel a little guilty for putting an iPad on my list for Santa. It does put things in perspective, though. That is, if you can get past Boy George and George Michael. Or the hair. The hair is very distracting. But if Bono and David Bowie say it, it must be important. Ziggy Stardust wouldn’t lie to you. He might get glitter on you, but he wouldn’t lie to you.

8. “Christmas All Over Again” — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

I’ve already talked about how much I love Tom Petty. And this is his Christmas song. And it’s awesome.

7. “Please Come Home For Christmas” — the Eagles (is the The Eagles or just Eagles? I can never remember)

You’ve probably heard it’s more famous sister, the Bon Jovi version (duh, Cindy Crawford was in the video, making out with Jon. It was obviously going to be more popular). But I (and everyone else in Casa D, including my brother, E, who was the one to suggest the song) agrees that (even though Bon Jovi’s pretty awesome), Don Henley and the Eagles are better. Side note: I saw the Eagles a few years ago on the “Long Road Out of Eden” tour and it was the best concert I’ve ever been to. Better than Springsteen, better than Tim McGraw, better than Britney (I KNOW! but it’s true). So Don & Co nail the 7th spot.

6. “Merry Christmas Happy Holidays” — NSYNC

It wouldn’t be a Stacey Top 10 without mention of NSYNC. For me, NSYNC is so tied to my adolescence and my best friends that I couldn’t NOT have an NSYNC song on the list. The entire “Home for Christmas” album reminds me of my best friend, Chelsea. We listened to this album EVERY.SINGLE.DAY driving to and from swim team practice for like 3 straight months. It’s hard not to hear “O Holy Night” and not think of ladder sets and stoke drills instead of, you know, Jesus. Besides, Gary Coleman is in the video and Joey is wearing a pair of ski goggles NOT ironically. Like he really thought they were an excellent fashion statement. So good.

5. “All Alone On Christmas” — Darlene Love

Most people know this song as the “Home Alone 2” song (because it was written for the movie), but most people don’t know that the band is the E Street Band—that saxophone you hear? Clarence Clemons (RIP, Big Man, you’re so missed). Sweet drum solo? Max Weinberg (who does not look happy to be starring in a music video with Macaulay Culkin. I imagine Kit Culkin was skulking around the set, being all “helicopter parent/fame whore”. I wouldn’t be happy either). Patti Scialfa (Mrs. Bruce Springsteen) looks exceptionally pretty (she’s the red headed singer) and it looks like Little Steven (Van Zandt) broke out his “dressy” bandana and pirate costume for the occasion. Joking aside, the song is terrific—I’ve been listening to it on a loop for the past day. Besides, the music video not only has Clarence wearing a sweet hat and smiling (and being nice to that Culkin kid), but also some of the funniest parts of the movie (and Home Alone 2 is one of my all time favorite movies). Also, where can I find Darlene’s sweet jacket. I need one.

4.. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” — U2 (but it’s been covered to death)

I know, I know. The lovely Darlene Love sang the original. But the U2 version is my favesies. I’m not even the biggest U2 fan (sorry, but it’s true), but I AM a huge fan of Bono in general. I think he’s one of the coolest dudes on the planet—he would definitely be on my list of people that I’d like to have dinner with. Seriously, he could totally talk Vatican news with me and then belt out this song. Perfect. The song itself is wonderful, which is probably why it’s been covered so many times. Phil Spector clearly knew what he was doing. Before he began a homicidal maniac and stopped cutting his hair. Besides Mr. Bono, I’ve always been partial to the Mariah Carey and Hanson (shameful, I know) versions. Until I came across this baby.

Jon Bon Jovi, in a tux, singing this song. That’s it. I die. End of story. Yum.

3. “All I Want for Christmas is You” — Mariah Carey

Ok, so the video is pretty stupid. Mariah with a rabbit decorating a tree, in a realllllyyy ugly snowsuit, hanging out with Santa (how much you wanna bet that it was Tommy Mattola in a Santa costume). But the song is SO GOOD. I would (and do) listen to it year round. I don’t care if it’s a “Christmas” song. It’s a flat out great pop song. I don’t care if you hate everything associated with Christmas, you hear this song and you want to go buy a tree and bake Christmas cookies. It’s that good. And it’s so rare for a recent(ish) song that’s not a cover or one of the “Holiday Classics” to become a Christmas staple, but this one did. Besides, that little girl sand it at the end of “Love Actually” (one of my all time favorite movies) and this song was recorded BEFORE Mariah lost her mind and started to work out in stilettos.

2. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” — James Taylor

The standard has been Frank Sinatra. though I love Old Blue Eyes, I like Sweet Baby James’s version better. Mostly because he sings the song the way that it was SUPPOSED to be sung. The line “hang a shining star up on the highest bough” was originally “until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow”, which not only makes more logical sense, but also sounds better. But Frank thought it was too depressing so he made the writers change it (must be nice to wield that kind of power). Luckily for us, James Taylor isn’t strongarmed by Sinatra’s demands and sings it the right way. And it it beautiful.

1. “Little Drummer Boy” — Bing Crosby and David Bowie

In a word: perfect. I love this song so much that I can’t think of anything snarky to say about it or mock it (except for maybe David Bowie’s hair). Unfortunately Bing died not too long after this was recorded, so this was his last Christmas Special. Arguably his best. Take that back, NOT arguably. It is his best.

Bonus:

Eric Cartman — “O Holy Night”

I don’t care if it’s blasphemous. It’s also really funny.

So there you go.

I suppose I should head out to shop, otherwise the only thing my family is going to get for Christmas is a hug.

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2 thoughts on “holiday panic! (the sequel)

  1. The Bing Crosby/David Bowie version of “Little Drummer Boy” is Amanda’s all-time favorite song. She’s the only reason I’ve ever heard it – and it’s the only version of “Little Drummer Boy” I like. (Nice job fitting *NSYNC in there, too!!)

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