Making a Christmas List
‘Tis the season. ‘Tis the season for constant loops of overplayed Christmas songs blaring at your local shopping mall. ‘Tis the season for those same songs played in radio and television advertisements. Frankly, ‘Tis the season to get fed up with holiday songs.
When you’re a child, you welcomes the catchy holiday tunes. We learn them in school. We sing them with family. We even sing along with our favorite holiday specials. As you grow older, however, those same songs start to lose their charm. Some overstay their welcome. Others, well, let’s just ask ourselves how many versions of Little Drummer Boy do we need to hear in one day?
What is one to do? Well, avoiding those same holiday specials and doing your holiday shopping in April are certainly options, but what if you want to celebrate the season as well? What if you love music? What if you don’t want to be an Ebenezer Scrooge? The following guide will assist you in creating an alternative holiday play list, one that will allow you to join in the festivities but in your own, unique way. You can enjoy Christmas and listen to the kind of music you like.
Here iTunes or other media player of choice will be your friend. Begin with the basics. Break out those Christmas standards that have yet to annoy you. Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and Ella Fitzgerald can form the glue for your list, unifying the holiday themes and thereby grounding your other choices however odd. If your case of the bah humbugs is particularly bad then maybe it is best to focus on alternative Christmas albums like those by Richard Cheese, Barenaked Ladies, or satirist, Stephen Colbert.
To reflect the midwinter festival of Yule, use keywords such as snow, ice, or cold to find tracks to add to your list. Typing winter into my iTunes yields such songs as Winter Comes by Covenant, Sore in a Masterpiece/Dead of Winter by Skinny Puppy, and Mid Winter’s Night by Blackmore’s Night. Other tracks garnered through this method are Driven Like the Snow by Sisters of Mercy, Cathedral in Ice by Fahrenheit 451, and Cold by The Cure.
The pagan roots of Christmas fall around the winter solstice, the darkest night of the year. Pagans marked this time of year as the point when the days after grew longer. As such, the Christmas holiday celebrates the return of the sun. You, too, can mark this occasion with songs about the sun and light. By this technique you can add tracks like Invisible Sun by The Police or Guiding Light by Muse. You can expand on this theme by adding songs about candles or fire, two substitutes for sun and light. In this manner you may add tracks like Candles by Dirty Vegas or Light My Fire by The Doors.
For your inner child add songs about toys, candy, and the like. Candy Perfume Girl by Madonna and I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow should be welcome additions as well as All of Your Toys or Cuddly Toy by The Monkees. Feel free to use your imagination. It may provide such gems as Coin-Operated Boy by Dresden Dolls or Special Little Gift by The Last Dance.
You can go the religious route as well, using keywords such as holy, angel, and the like. This provides tunes like Joy by VNV Nation, Hope by Bauhaus, or Peace by Depeche Mode. More straightforward keywords garners songs like Godlike by KMFDM, Jesus Built My Hotrod by Ministry, or Angel by Concrete Blonde. Alternately (or in combination if that is your pleasure) you can go the pagan route. Select songs about trees and stars. Shaking the Tree by Peter Gabriel and Starshine by Gorillaz are fine additions.
You can go still more generic by typing in the Christmas colors of red, green, and white, granting you titles like Red Over White by Siouxsie and the Banshees or Grooving in Green by March Violets. Similarly add the precious metals of silver and gold to the list. Silver & Gold by Rita Lynch is an obvious result. As much about Christmas surrounds foods you can drop in tracks like Ashes and Wine by A Fine Frenzy or I Want a New Duck by Weird Al.
As new keywords come to mind you can cherry pick further tracks to be added. For instance Bless the Child by Nightwish or Day of the Lords by Joy Division fit right in with what types of songs have been discussed above. On occasion you may come across songs that contain several holiday keywords. My own playlist contains Trees of Winter by Sol Invictus, Fire and Ice by Pat Benatar, and Northern Star by Lucia for example.
When complete you should have a custom song list that reflects holiday themes yet, as it springs from your collection, also reflects your individual taste in music. So while others wince at yet another version of Little Drummer Boy as they do their Christmas shopping, you can slip in your earbuds and enjoy Somewhere That’s Green from the soundtrack to The Little Shop of Horrors. Moreover, you don’t have to feel like a total Scrooge when doing so.