Saturday, December 20, 2008

Music to Soothe the Soul

This year I've had a hard time maintaining my Christmas spirit. When I flipped the calendar page to December, I vowed to cut myself off from the news for the month. I can't handle hearing about all the home foreclosures, unemployment figures, and bailouts. Now I listen to the weather channel, instead of the news, while I'm getting ready for work. I haven't even been reading our local paper this month, except for the grocery ads. There will be plenty of time to catch up with the bad news after the first of the year.

It's easy to keep the magical glow of Christmas alight in my heart when I'm home. I'm actually grateful for the shorter daylight hours, so I can close the drapes and light our tree, Christmas villages, and candles, and let the warm light bathe me in serenity. Our collection of Christmas videos, together with month-long marathons of Christmas programming on a couple of TV channels have prevented me from sneaking a peak at the news. Peace on Earth reigns in our home.

Work is another story. In the past, my Boss has managed to ruin several Christmases for me. Boss NEVER plans ahead for Christmas and rarely decorates her home. Everything about Christmas is an odious chore for her. Appearance is everything to Boss, and if she can't buy the most extravagant gifts and display new, designer, color-coordinated decorations every year, she won't do anything. From Thanksgiving on, Boss rants daily about how she can't wait for the season to be OVER!

How do I combat the Srooginess of my workplace? With Christmas music, of course! This year I put a Christmas CD in my truck the week before Thanksgiving. Listening to my Christmas music on the short drive to work helps me steel myself for the day. When Boss starts ranting, I go to the back room and start humming Christmas tunes as I work.

Today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite Christmas music. When I was growing up, our home was always filled with books and music. Starting on Thanksgiving Day, my parents would haul out their collection of Christmas albums and fill the house with classic Christmas sounds. Naturally, these albums have become my favorites. With the advent of CDs, many of my parents' albums have been re-released on CD over the years. I'm thrilled that I now have a complete collection of my childhood favorites.

No Christmas season was complete without watching the Andy Williams Christmas special. Weren't those Osmond Brothers just the cutest little tots? One of my favorite songs is It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and this song MUST be sung by Andy Williams.

I was totally stoked to find this particular Perry Como album on Amazon a couple of years ago. This album includes music surrounding the Nativity story, which was always part of Perry's Christmas special on TV. To me, nobody can sing There's No Place Like Home For the Holidays like Perry Como.

I bought this Burl Ives album when I was a teen. Christmas just isn't right without Burl singing Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. Now, I just need to burn this album to CD, so I can listen to it in the truck.

I'm sure that everyone will agree that no Christmas music collection is complete without Bing Crosby's version of White Christmas, or Nat King Cole's version of The Christmas Song(Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire).

Now we move on to Christmas music that has become a tradition in our household. My kids' favorite Christmas album is John Denver and the Muppets. This is another album that I need to burn to CD. I bought SME the CD version of this album and The Nutcracker when she left home. Those albums became the "oldies" foundation of her Christmas music collection.
What Christmas music is part of your holiday traditions?


At 12/20/2008 8:52 AM, Blogger Jeannie said...

Strangely, we don't have any. My mother was into classical music so she played very classical hymns. Although I think my best friends family must have had Andy and Bing and Nat because those are mighty familiar album covers. And frankly, their versions of songs are the best. I never liked "rock" Christmas songs. They are generally stupid. I particularly hate the one where we are supposed to be all guilty over "do they know it's Christmas time at all?"
I will play a few tunes badly on the piano. I had some cassette tapes back when the kids were little but I'm guessing they didn't care that much, none of them hunt for Christmas music. They play so much of it on the radio anyway that it gets pretty tiring.

At 12/20/2008 9:32 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Jeannie, the way you love music, that surprises me.
I'm with you on the rock Christmas songs. I listen to rock all year, Christmas is traditional all the way.

Our radio stations only play a couple of Christmas songs a day, so there's no danger of me ODing. ;)

At 12/20/2008 9:51 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

I have to admit I have one Cd and I have no idea where it went.. I got it from my cousin a while back and I havent seen it in ages.. I dont remember whats on it..

At 12/20/2008 9:59 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Tweets, I'll have to burn a CD for the girls next year.

At 12/20/2008 11:44 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

I have a collection of traditional Xmas hymns sung by a bunch of different choirs from all over the world, including some well-known boys choirs. There is a version of "Once in Royal David's City" that just makes my skin tingle it's so beautiful!

At 12/20/2008 12:06 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

I loved Perry Como when I was a kid. I can't believe we didn't have any of these albums as I grew up. But my mom played piano and most of us sang so there was always music.

Ichabod's family grew up with the Bing Crosby White Christmas album so I bought that CD. I know you like tradition but I love Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas music.

Hang in there, let the music keep your spirits up.

At 12/20/2008 4:39 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

WC, I love boys choirs! My favorite version of The Little Drummer Boy is done by the Vienna Boys Choir.

Squirl, who says that Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas music isn't traditional? We love it! ;)
Right now I'm listening to the vinyl Christmas music that I burned to CD today.
Did you guys watch the Perry Como Christmas Specials when you were a kid?

At 12/21/2008 12:38 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

We probably did. For some reason I can't remember them. Must have just jumbled in my brain with other Christmas things.

My mother was the head organist and my father directed the choir at the Catholic church we attended until I was 11. So the beautiful High Mass is also part of my Christmas tradition.

At 12/21/2008 6:57 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

I grew up with all that music too and I love it! We never missed Andy Williams or the Osmonds and Christmas could not have come if we didn't get our fill of all our favorite Rankin-Bass Christmas cartoons - Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, and all those. My favorite song are from Burl Ives - Holly Jolly Christmas, and Silver and Gold. Thanks for stirring up all those memories. Oh, and we made it to NY and had a great dinner with Pat and her family. She made an awesome beef stroghanoff. Yumm! Merry Christmas, keep the cheer and avoid the grinches.

At 12/21/2008 9:35 PM, Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

I love your traditional picks, too. They are part of our faves. One additional favorite of mine is God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen. It's all instrumental, nice and mellow, bluesy and jazzy. Very relaxing.

Merry Christmas to you and your family - and to all of your readers!!

At 12/22/2008 2:44 AM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker of course.

At 12/22/2008 10:49 AM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Wow all of these are my family's faves! I'm really a fan of the odd Christmas music, like Bob and Doug McKenzie's stuff, regae Christmas and all that sort of thing. Nothing serious at all.

Good way to fight back against the crabby folk too, Sista!

At 12/22/2008 12:42 PM, Blogger Cherie said...

I actually have goose-bumps, Tshs! Every single one of those artists have been major parts of my Christmases. Every. Single. One.

My folks did the same thing - Christmas music right after Thanksgiving and on until Christmas. How I loved it!!

I am amazed - but why should I be, given our history - that right down the wire we love the same artists singing the same songs on the same albums. The Nutcracker, Andy, Perry, Bing, Nat, Burl, and of course JD and the Muppets! I gasped as I scrolled down your post. Surely there would be ONE I didn't have or listen to. Nope.

We are going to have SO MUCH to talk about on our ice floe!

"Oh there's no place like home for the holidays!!"

At 12/22/2008 2:16 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Squirl, traditional Christmas music by church choirs is the best! That and watching the little ones in the Sunday school program.

VV, when we got our first VCR, I started taping all the Rankin/Bass and other Christmas specials. Lately L has been gifting me with DVD versions to replace my ancient tapes.
I'll bet Pat makes a mean stroganoff with all that homegrown garlic!

Grizz, we've got a few instrumental albums in our collection too...very relaxing. I should look for that jazz album for SME; she loves jazz!

ZS, the FULL version only; none of the abridged versions will do! ;)

Bridg, why doesn't it surprise me that funny Christmas music is your favorite? ;)

Cherie, now you gave ME goosebumps! I already figured that you had JD and the Muppets, but the rest just blows my mind!

I have a feeling that we'd both feel very much at home in each other's houses, especially at Christmas. ;)

At 12/22/2008 2:55 PM, Blogger Mnmom said...

Have to have:
Vince Guaraldi
Robert Shaw Chorale
Christmas at King's College
Old Fashioned hymns
"Christmas time is here" - by Toni Braxton
Andy Williams
Really great choral music

Can do without:
Most new rock and country songs
Beach Boys
Eartha Kitt

At 12/22/2008 5:00 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Mnmom, that's what I forgot to list-choral music! Love it!

Our radio station played nothing but Country Christmas carols today when they played their block of Christmas music. BLECH!!

At 12/22/2008 6:50 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

You've got the BEST taste in Christmas music! I've dug out my Bing Crosby, Elvis, and others - and I'm going to look for a new one -uh- classic new one that you suggested.

You handled the work situation beautifully! You are like me - esp. around Christmas, I seek peace and tranquility, a haven...that's even more important than presents.....and with the news and the gloom and doom - its like sometimes you get what you speak - and if people want to keep themselves upset, we don't have to join them!!!!!

Our trees will end up with anything on them - paper chains, popcorn and cranberries - seashells - ornaments from other countries - whatever happens to strike our fancy - I enjoy the gorgeous coordinated ones, but not to have to spend the money to invent a new one every year - besides some ornaments are just too sentimental (kids make at school, etc.) to NOT put on a tree!

BTW, what kind of light bulbs do you use - I seek that "warm glow" with all my heart and what I get is dingy - it is driving me nuts as I seek a Kincaid type Christmas, LOL!

At 12/23/2008 2:28 AM, Blogger Cherie said...

Feeling perfectly comfortable in each other's houses, of that I have no doubt!

(And I'm certain our husbands and kids would get along, too.)

At 12/23/2008 4:35 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Mele Kalikimaka (by Bing or the Blue Hawaiians) Tshsmom! Christmas music at Christmastime sure helps sooth the savage beast, Surf music the rest of the time. And Surf-Christmas is stokin' gnarly-dude!

At 12/23/2008 5:17 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Gardenia, your 2nd paragraph says it all! My sentiments EXACTLY!

All of our ornaments have sentimental value, that's what makes our tree so special to us. It's a tree of LOVE.

We have a real mishmash of lights on our tree. The bottom strand of lights are bulbs that look like flickering cool. The next 3 strands are the new LED lights we got, on sale, to replace some dead strings of lights. The LEDs are a bit bright, but they do warm up the room. The rest of the lights are just mini tree lights. We prefer multi-colored lights, because they just seem warmer and cozier to us.

Cherie, no doubt in my mind, my friend! ;)

DC, Hey, I actually know that song! They played it in Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase was daydreaming about the new pool he wanted to build.
The music seems to be working...I'm a lot less savage right now. ;)

At 12/29/2008 9:09 PM, Blogger Barb Patch and Mark Spurrier said...

when i was younger, it was Perry Como and Jimmy Durante. Now I am strictley a r'n r' christmas guy. My favorites:





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