Tag Archives: Christmas

Holiday spirit

I do not have a large collection of holiday and seasonal decorations. I have some decorations for Christmas, a few for Halloween, and that’s it. 

What few I have, I like a lot. I believe part of continuing to like them is that they’re part of the decor only a short time each year, so each time I bring them out of storage it’s like meeting an old friend — sometimes one that I’d forgotten but am terribly pleased to see. Continue reading Holiday spirit

Give all the toys to the little rich boys

I’ve never been great at gift giving.*

Some years back, one of my sisters read a book, The Five Love Languages, which boiled down the ways people like to give and receive love into five “languages.” A person tends to be able to perceive love through one of these styles, and to give via one (although not by any means necessarily the same style).

Here are the “languages” (as I remember them):

  • Talk (saying sweet things to the other, compliments)
  • Spending time together (aka attention), doing things together
  • Gifts
  • Doing something for another
  • Touch

Thus: I might like to be told how wonderful/beautiful/amazing I am, but when I want to show someone that I appreciate them I could instead think the right thing to do is to give them a big hug.

So here’s the thing: I myself am big on the “spending time together” kind of love, and I’m really NOT into any of the other style. If you can find time to have lunch with me, I understand that you care about me. And if I can wrestle myself out of my hermetic hovel to share a meal or a drink with you, you should know that you are special to me.

(Let’s remember though that if I don’t attend your event, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I very well may think you rock socks. It might mean that I had a last-minute panic attack and needed to spend the evening sorting my actual socks. Please know that I stayed at home in panicky terror while feeling full of love for you.)

But so. Telling me that I’m terrific: not much effect. Giving me Tiffany earrings? I’m likely to rattle off a diatribe about blood diamonds. Shovel my snowy sidewalk? That I decidedly will appreciate, but I’ll view it as a debt and make plans to shovel yours in an upcoming blizzard. Give me a hug? I will hug back as best I can, and I will feel really, really awkward in the process.

Anyway. The Kinks’ classic holiday song “Father Christmas” always has held a special meaning for me. Yeah, give those gifts to the little rich kids. Give the money to the other kids who need it. But if you want to give me something, c’mon and let’s grab a coffee and chat.

* Can we please stop using “gift” as a verb? Where did this usage come from? Every time you “gift” something to someone, a tiny kitteh chokes on holiday ribbons.

Kooky Christmas #13: “Must Be Santa” by Bob Dylan

Today on Kooky Christmas, we learn that we must be careful what we wish for.

#13: “Must Be Santa” by Bob Dylan

Just yesterday, I was thinking that I didn’t know any new Christmas album released this year by artists that I like. More of my favorite bands should make holiday albums, I thought.

And then I saw this video by one of my favorite musical artists:

“Must Be Santa” by Bob Dylan

It turns out that Mr. Dylan released an entire Christmas album in October — Christmas In the Heart (click to buy) — and I missed it.

Some thoughts:

  • Yes, that really does look to be Bob Dylan in the video.
  • No, I don’t know what’s going on with his hair.
  • For me, Dylan’s voice has never been his strong suit, and it has not improved through the years. What I tend to love about his performance is his song-writing — lyrics in particular. So I wouldn’t expect to enjoy hearing him sing other people’s songs. But having listened to the album, I find I rather like some of them. Your mileage may vary. (FYI: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is not one of the ones I like.) (UPDATE: One of the songs I enjoy is Dylan’s version of “Christmas Island” — the original of which is #15 on our countdown!)
  • When I throw a party, it is not generally like the party in the video. One time, it was — my grad school friends and I threw a progressive party where we went from one of our houses/apartments to the next, all in walking distance, getting progressively wilder and weirder. In my heart, this is the kind of party I always want to throw. (See also The Wild Party: The Lost Classic by Joseph Moncure March.)

Next year, I want there to be a Pixies Christmas album.

Next on Kooky Christmas: Not everyone likes the merchandising of Christma$.

Kooky Christmas #15 (take two): “Christmas Island” by The Dinning Sisters & Bob Atcher

Hawaiian Christmas, originally uploaded by coconut wireless.

Let’s try this again.

At #15 on our Kooky Christmas Countdown, we take a trip to the islands, for a holiday in a tropical paradise.

“Christmas Island” by The Dinning Sisters & Bob Atcher

Aloha! Grab your ukelele. I’ll bring the pina coladas. Meet me on the beach at sunset, by that palm tree that someone (island elves?) has strung up with lights and tinsel. We’ll strum and sing while we wait for Santa to come skimming up in his canoe.

You’ll find this tune on one of my favorite Christmas collections, Christmas Cocktails, Part 2, from Ultra-Lounge.

My sister Laura is spending Christmas in Tahiti, staying in a bungalow that’s on stilts over the water. This song is for her. Mele Kalikimaka!

Next on Kooky Christmas: The tale of a be-bop Christmas.

Kooky Christmas #18 & 17: “Indian Giver” & “Gift of the Magi” by Squirrel Nut Zippers

Squirrel Nut Zippers had a big hit years back, “Put a Lid On It,” and I’ve been a fan ever since.

In 1998 they put out a Christmas album that’s like no other: Christmas Caravan. It’s a crazy, hot jazz album with some slow and sweet bits threaded through (and an eerie final track that makes you want to hug your sweetie close). It’s difficult to choose just one song from it, so let’s take two.

Kooky Christmas #18: “Indian Giver” by Squirrel Nut Zippers

You know that friend who gives you a lovely sweater or new and well-reviewed book, then borrows it from you right away and never returns it? This song is for her. It barely seems like a Christmas song at all, but Santa puts in an appearance so we know it counts.

The video is a fan video with photos of the band. The sound quality is good though.

“Indian Giver” by Squirrel Nut Zippers

Kooky Christmas #17: “The Gift of the Magi”

I was introduced to the concept of irony by the O. Henry short story “The Gift of the Magi.” It nearly exploded my mind. If somehow you missed this story in high school, you can listen to this song and use it as your Cliff’s Notes.

For those who have read the story (spoilers!): I never quite dug the problem in the story. Her hair will grow back. Heck, she can grow it long, sell it again, use the money to retrieve the watch from the pawn broker, and then grow it yet again and everyone is happy. What’s the big deal? Maybe my view is different from everyone else’s; my hair grows really quickly.

No video for this one, so you’ll just have to buy the song and listen. Heck, treat yourself and buy the whole album.

Next on Kooky Christmas: Not everyone likes the gifts people give these days for Christmas.

Kooky Christmas: #19, “Bizarre Christmas Incident” by Ben Folds

We turn now to the seedier side of our Kooky Christmas (if philandering Santas weren’t seedy enough for you).

Now Santa has turned to robbery, and the results are unpleasant for everyone involved.

Number 19: “Bizarre Christmas Incident” by Ben Folds

This song comes to us from Maybe This Christmas, a compilation of alternative artists from 2002. In the concert video below, Ben tells the true life story behind the song.

UPDATE: Lyrics NSFW, and not kid-friendly either. Funny though.

Concert video of “Bizarre Christmas Incident” by Ben Folds

The album has a mix of artists performing both original and traditional songs. It’s a mixed bag, but with priceless gems like this how could I skip it? to see more, click here: Maybe This Christmas.

Next up on Kooky Christmas: Santa may not be as generous as he’s made out to be….