September 21, 2017

12 Blogs of Christmas: Songs of the Season Re-Recorded

Is there anything more identifiable than the strains of the first Christmas carol on the radio to signal the start of the holiday season? Sure, they may drive us nuts by the time Christmas actually rolls around, but there’s no denying that first nostalgic nudge we experience when we hear our favorite holiday songs every year.

As a participant in the 12 Blogs of Christmas, it’s my pleasure to share with you the favorite holiday tunes of eleven of my favorite people (as well as my own). At first I thought that identifying my favorite Christmas carol would be too difficult. Fortunately, having a chance to read through everyone else’s selections helped me narrow it down!

Kicking off this jingle-jangling post is Erica Lucke Dean, blogger, survivor of the Bikini Wax Disaster, and author of To Katie With Love–coming soon from Red Adept Publishing. You’ll find my response to Erica’s Christmas Memories blog here, complete with a childhood Christmas photo. Erica had this to share for my post:

“My mom used to play the Elvis Christmas album over and over again throughout the entire Christmas season. Hers had a skip in the middle of one song, and all these years later, I still sing that song with the skip in it. ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas’ is the one song on that album that still resonates with me. I love the old Elvis version, but I’m becoming a fan of the brand new Michael Buble version as well.”

Thanks for bringing back the memory of my mom’s record of the Ray Conniff Singers, complete with a skip in the middle of “Jingle Bells,” Erica!

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Next on my list is the author of Ragtown, Kelly Stone Gamble, whose Hoover Dam stories evoke great empathy and appreciation for America’s pioneers. When asked about her favorite holiday tune, Kelly said:

“Kelly Gamble loves old rock and roll, and her favorite Christmas song is one that not many have ever heard. ‘I Believe in Santa Claus’ performed by REO Speedwagon always makes me smile, because I do believe that anything is possible.”

You’re right, Kelly…I didn’t know that one, so thanks for alerting me to another great holiday tune! To find out what my favorite Christmas book is, check out Kelly’s blog here.

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Sharing a love for the classics is fellow Thespian-turned-writer, Karen DeLabar. She had this to share regarding her favorite Christmas song:

“I’m an old fashioned girl, always have been, always will be. My absolute favorite Christmas song is none other than Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’. His dreamy baritone voice wraps around me like a warm, fuzzy blanket on a cold day. The song is poignant, yet hopeful, and if the mood is right will inspire a tear or two to roll down my cheek.”

You’re spot-on, Karen! Find out if my “classic sensibilities” extend to my favorite Christmas movie, which appears in Karen’s 12 Blogs of Christmas post here.

As an added mention in this year’s post, we all wanted to bring attention to Toxic Shock Syndrome, an illness that kills 8 out of 10 people. Karen happens to be one of those who beat the odds! You can learn more about her story here. As a friend following her progress, I can only say she is one of the most positive and courageous people I’ve ever known. She and her family have experienced tremendous physical and financial struggles through this ordeal, and we would love to help support them. If you’d like to help out, you can do so by clicking this button:

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My pal D.C. McMillen, author of the Nauti-Lust series, The Rusty Nail and A Decent December, and all-around fun lady, knows what she likes when it comes to Christmas music. Check out her thoughts on “Santa Baby,” a great song choice:

“It confounds me that people waste time wishing for a snow (who the frack wants their streets blanketed in wet, dirty, slippery, slush while they drive to the mall?) or two front teeth (way to set your sights high, kid) when they could be wishing for real stuff? If you ask me, Joan Javits was in the true spirit of Christmas when she wrote ‘Santa Baby.’ After all, isn’t this supposed to be the season of miracles and giving? You have absolutely no better chance of getting the deed to that platinum mine at any other time of year than you do right now. So go on and sip your hot toddy until your insides are warm and your mind is fuzzy, listen to this sexy, sultry song, and think about what it would be like if Santa actually brought you everything you ever wanted for Christmas. Oh, and make sure to envision Santa Claus as the sexiest beast you have ever seen in a red suit. My Santa looks a lot like Jason Statham, and sometimes Robert Downey Jr.

Now for a little Christmas trivia material. ‘Santa Baby’ was originally written in 1953 by a senator’s daughter but not officially recorded until 1957. Eartha Kitts was the first doll to record this smoking hot Christmas song and it has since been covered by everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Madonna to Onyx. That’s right – Onyx.”

I stopped by D.C.’s blog today to share my favorite Christmas drink. I hope you’ll check it out here!

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This wouldn’t be a well-rounded post without pointing out the comedic side of holiday music. From Adam Sandler’s famous Hanukkah song to the “Twelve Pains of Christmas,” spoofs abound. One of the more original humorous songs was submitted to me by the talented high fantasy writer, Ciara Ballintyne:

“My favourite Christmas Song is ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ by Frank Kelly. This is NOT your ordinary Twelve Days of Christmas Song and if you haven’t heard it I strongly recommend you find it!”

Well, I just HAD to find this song after Ciara’s recommendation. Check it out if this is new to you…I assure you, it’ll get you laughing! For a glimpse at my holiday decorations, check out Ciara’s post here. You can also pick up a great story for the fantasy fans on your list while on her site.

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Next on my “hit parade” is Maureen Hoverdale, a writer and reviewer whose dedication to indie authors warms my heart. I was thrilled when Maureen (a.k.a. @zencherry) told me she was participating in the 12 Blogs of Christmas, and her Christmas song story made me appreciate her all the more!

“Music has always been a part of my life, my mother being a singer back in the day. We’d gather around the piano and if we didn’t harmonize properly, we’d go back and try it again. This was just how things were.

My first-ever stage appearance was a duet with my friend, Sheila, in kindergarten. I was SURE that we were going to rock the house down, and looked at my sparkly costume hanging in the closet every free minute. We practiced ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ over and over again and listened to little Michael Jackson until we were sure we had it right. Jackson 5 was jive, y’all. You just don’t know how much we dug their spangly awesome. Of course, when mom found out we had the Jackson 5 rendition in mind, things changed…but I did get in a ‘Whoa Yeah!’ while I was up there.

Merry Christmas, Raine!”

Merry Christmas, Maureen, and thanks so much for sharing! I gave Maureen some insights on Christmas wardrobe on her blog, if you’d like to check those out here.

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When I received the wonderful writer and blogger, Marie Patchen’s, contribution to my favorite Christmas song list, I was so excited! I’ll bet this album brings back memories for most everyone:

“If I were exiled to an island full of unwanted toys, and only allowed to take one Christmas album with me, I’d take ‘A Chipmunk Christmas’ by none other than Alvin and the Chipmunks. And what I mean by that is the iconic 1983 version, which tells the heartwarming tale of how Alvin gave away his prized harmonica to a very sick little boy just before Christmas. This is an album for putting up decorations to, opening presents to, or drinking hot cocoa to while you address envelopes for Christmas cards, all of which I have happily done. Why yes, as a matter of fact it does make me feel like I’m eight years old again. That is why I love it so much!”

I couldn’t agree more, Marie! Thanks for that trip down Memory Lane. I was further able to revisit my childhood by sharing my favorite Christmas cartoon on Marie’s blog here.

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Natalie Kenney, a writer I envy for her baking skills alone, is a fan of ‘Old City Bar’ by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This song was always big in my mom’s house, so it was fun to take a trip down memory lane! While I couldn’t possibly match Natalie’s baking skills, I did share my favorite Christmas cookie recipe with her on her blog today, found here.

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Melody-Ann Kauffman is a kindred spirit…a fellow Floridian, writer, blogger, mother and all-around hard worker. I wasn’t surprised to find that her holiday music tastes suit her perfectly!

“My favorite Christmas music is old school Jazz – Louis Armstrong (Satchmo), Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald… this type of music. When my husband and I got married in December, we had a 30 foot Christmas tree and this was the music that we had played. Since that time, the day after Thanksgiving, the tree goes up and the jazz begins to play. We keep that music playing pretty much until after the New Year. Our kids love it. For us it’s a reminder of the simple joys in life.”

Thanks, Melody-Ann. Your comments put me in the mood to listen to that timeless crooner, Frank Sinatra. His upbeat version of ‘Let it Snow’ always brings a smile to my day! And speaking of things that make you smile, why don’t you pop over to Melody-Ann’s blog here featuring favorite Christmas toys?

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We somehow managed to wrangle one guy into this wacky bunch of bloggers. Author of Sandcastle and Other Stories as well as a reader and reviewer for www.inclassicstyle.com and fellow animal lover, Justin Bogdanovitch, decided that being one man among so many lovely ladies could never be a bad thing, and he shared this with me regarding his favorite holiday song:

“I love Christmas tunes. I tend to leave them on my random playlists so they pop up all year long. I live in the town Burl Ives retired in and his top holiday single, ‘Have A Holly Jolly Christmas,’ is a constant twinkle here. My favorite holiday single, ‘River,’ sung by Aimee Mann, is in a contemplative style. She makes me meditate about what Christmas means. The Joni Mitchell lyrics are stirring and filled with yearning. Aimee Mann has a deep love of Christmas. She is putting on her 6th Annual Aimee Mann Christmas Show so look for concert dates if she comes close. Aimee Mann’s complete Christmas album is called One More Drifter In The Snow and features a wry and rousing rendition of ‘You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch.’ This album is great, but you can only find ‘River’ on an old Starbucks compilation of Christmas tunes called: Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Look at Amazon for used copies!”

An excellent tip, Justin! Gosh, Ms. Mann has an awesome voice. You had me at “rousing rendition of ‘You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.’” Too fun! For even more fun, check out Justin’s post featuring the 12 Faux Pas of Christmas here.

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The last, but certainly not the least, of our Christmas song contributions comes from Amberr Meadows, a wonderful writer hailing from my former stomping grounds of Atlanta, Georgia. I think Amberr’s frank and good-humored sentiments most closely reflect that of most of us:

“I love Christmas Music, even though I can only stand the cheesy classics for a short time. I can only listen to Jingle Bell Rock so many times before I feel like vomiting or pulling my hair out, and if I do any sort of shopping, I’m completely unable to avoid being inundated by corny, cheery Christmas songs designed to distract me from thinking of the painful amounts of money I’m preparing to spend.

There is one song, however, that I don’t tire of, because it invokes the warm feelings of tradition, and completely embodies the spirit of Christmas. If you haven’t heard Carol of the Bells, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy the clip, and Merry Christmas!”

This is a great choice, Amberr! This song is one that really whets the appetite for the holiday season, isn’t it? If you really want to stimulate your appetite, you’ll check out Amberr’s blog here featuring favorite holiday foods, complete with recipes.

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So, now we’ve reached number twelve on the list…me! After reading about and listening to everyone else’s choices, I asked myself whether my favorite Christmas tune falls in line with the classic, the nostalgic, the humorous, the rock-n-roll or the jazzy. In the end, it was a combination of all of the above. My favorite Christmas song is…drum roll please…

Yep! Bob Seger’s “The Little Drummer Boy.” I love the story behind the song, as well as the message that it isn’t about the value of a gift, it’s about the thought and heart behind it. Add in Seger’s raspy, rockin’ groove, and you’ve got a hit!

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this segment of the 12 Blogs of Christmas. Please stop by and check out the companion blogs of all of these wonderful folks…and let me know what song is YOUR favorite!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the great christmas songs, I’ve been looking for some on YouTube and this is perfect.

  2. Maureen says:

    You have such a nice way of putting things, Raine. Lovely music on a lovely blog? Great Christmas present to me!