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December 22, 2007 | HARMLESS UNTRUTHS

Ho ho ho.

I have been discussing Christmas lately and I have some mixed feelings about it. I guess, overall, I think it is kind of a mixed-up holiday that awkwardly combines the celebration of the birth of Christ, sort-of-cute traditions for kids, and unsettling consumerist madness. I’m not sure that any of these things belong together and for years now, Christmas has never quite sat right with me. I like seeing my family and I like our family traditions, but I think that, unless I have kids of my own, I will never really be a big fan of Christmas.

On the other hand, the nice parts of Christmas are very nice indeed, and one of the nicest parts of all is Christmas music. Christmas songs are some of the loveliest songs we have and even a lot of the silliest and stupidest ones are ok to listen to once a year (especially if sung by kids!). The really great Christmas songs are pretty much unassailable. I was going to say, “impossible to screw up,” but then I found this:

Winger : Silent Night

(Also youtube has a David Hasselhoff version but I will spare you.)

Luckily, I don’t spend much time Christmas shopping or hanging out at malls, so I don’t have Christmas music blaring at me all the time, and can still enjoy it when I do hear it. I was trying to remember German and Polish Christmas carols but had trouble with it; the best I could come up with was a few German ones, including the very nice “Kling, Glöckchen.” I couldn’t find many samples (Germans seem to have an alternative to youtube that isn’t accessible from the U.S.) but via this source I found some brief musical clips to embed:

“Kling, Glöckchen”

“Schneeflöckchen”

Oh, Tannenbaum!

Since I like Christmas songs and I like writing songs, I have occasionally thought about writing Christmas songs. I tried to write one a couple years ago and I liked the piece, but it wasn’t really up to the standards of the good Christmas music. But I didn’t forget it and I tried to record it recently. It didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but it is kind of a pretty little piece. It isn’t quite a Christmas song, so I called it “Boxing Day” (Boxing Day is the day after Christmas in the U.K.) You can download it here or listen to it here:

Boxing Day

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Since I’m not super satisfied with that, I will toss in a bonus track, one that not too many people have heard. This is a song I wrote some years ago called “Christmas Lights” and it is not a Christmas song at all, but it could serve that purpose. It is not a terribly upbeat song and I think it reflects my ambivalence about Christmas even going back to the time I wrote it, though I was just using Christmas lights as a kind of a metaphor. The lyrics are available here if you are really interested.

Christmas Lights

But anyway! I don’t want to be a total scrooge and I hope any of you who stumble on this page actually do have a wonderful Christmas (if you choose to celebrate it)! I expect that I will, too.