One way I keep my spirits high during the holidays.
Like many others, I get a little down in the dumps around the holidays. To keep myself from getting beat down by the negatives I associate with this time of year, I focus on the aspects I do enjoy. One of those things is the music. There aren’t any Elfmas songs out as of yet, but I can’t deny a good Christmas song. Now, not all holiday songs are equal. Here is the list of songs I rely on to prepare me for the season. I’ve got my top 10-ish and some stragglers that are good, but don’t make as heavy a rotation in play. Enjoy the Saywerfresh holiday playlist!
1) Santa Claus is Coming to Town a la Bruce Springsteen.
This will forever and always be my favorite song and version. The song by itself isn’t much to write home about, especially with my feelings about Santa, but The Boss can make anything great. It has been my favorite since childhood. I recall going on the yearly holiday drive to visit family and waiting the whole ride to hear this come on the radio. Inevitably, it would come on right as we arrived at a destination, so I would wait in the car until the song was through. What made the song for me, even then, was the energy. Bruce sounds like he was having a blast singing the song and that little chuckle he does towards the end of the song puts an immediate smile on my face. Ugh, and Clarence’s Santa! ABSOLUTELY LOVE!!!
2) All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey.
Typically not a fan of female singers, but when Mariah songs are good, they’re GREAT! I can’t explain exactly why I am such a fan of some Mariah songs. It has something to do with her ability to reach pop perfection, even with that high pitched squeal (That squeal that everyone tries to replicate while singing along. Yeah, tell me you never tried and I say you lie!). When she hits that level of perfection in a song, it’s addicting, which is probably why I could listen to this one so much this time of year.
3) Step Into Christmas by Elton John.
It’s Elton John doing a holiday tune, how could that recipe turn out bad??? When I was a kid, my mom was either listening to U2 or Elton John, so I learned to appreciate his music early on. Not only is this song catchy, it holds some sentimental value too.
4) Baby Please Come Home by U2 or Darlene Love.
I say U2 or Darlene Love because I am a fan of the original version’s Spector sound, but for personal reasons, U2 would be my go-to. Again, this one reminds me of my mom, especially when I watch the video. I think that was her favorite Bono era, the Rattle and Hum look with the vest and hat. I just imagine him singing to her, well more like her imagining he was singing to her while she watches the video. She’s cute like that.
5) Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon.
This one makes my list for a couple of reasons. One, because it’s a bit heavier than the rest on the list. It sparks reflection and thoughts of a positive outlook on things to come. Two, because it’s way better than Paul McCartney’s holiday song (I can’t even type the name without the awful thing getting stuck in my head). Suck it, Paul! Or should I say, Faul???
6) Mr. Brownie AND La Parranda de Fania by Hector Lavoe.
Mr. Brownie is a song I only recently came upon, but I was hooked the minute I heard it. First off, it’s Hector Lavoe, that’s guaranteed goodness. Before hearing this song, I had never heard him sing in English, so it threw me off. The song has a strange blend of Spanish, English and Spanglish…even with Lavoe faking an English accent while speaking Spanish. Totally bizarre and extremely funny. The second song is on the list because again, it’s Hector Lavoe, but this time danceable. A holiday must!
7) El Burrito de Belen, AKA, El Burrito Sabanero.
This is the only religious song on my list, but it’s soooo flippin’ catchy, I listen to it throughout the year. I first heard this song performed at a school function during my first year of teaching. The song was stuck in my head for days, then I finally asked a fellow teacher what the song was. Oh, how glad I was to find out! Why? Because of the video for the version by Alex Alfaro y Los Voces Blancas. Holy crap, this kid has some moves. His side shimmy and whirly bird are on point.
8) Last Christmas by Wham!
Not much to explain here. 80’s pop legends + Christmas song = I have something to sing and dance to. Everything to be happy about with this equation.
9) This Time of Year by The Might Might Bosstones.
It’s the Bosstones and of any of the songs on the list, it best captures what I enjoy about the season. “This time of year, is my favorite time of year ‘cause all of us are here together.” I’m lucky to have such a wonderful family and awesome friends (really my extended family). Spending time with them is all I want during this time of year. Simple, sweet and to the point…this is totally me in song form.
10) Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses.
Every year I hear it and every year I have to look up who the hell does it. It has become a tradition at this point.
The stragglers, in no particular order:
- Christmas in Hollis by Run-DMC.
My aunt got me into rap and hip-hop when I was a kid. Back then, there weren’t holiday tunes in those genres, so when I heard this, I was stoked.
- I Don’t Want to Fight for Xmas by The Ramones.
This sums up what I hope for every year.
- Donde estas Santa Claus by Augie Rios.
This is just cute! I mean, I get to sing “Oh Pancho, Oh! Vixen, Oh! Pedro, Oh! Blitzen,
Ole! Ole! Ole! San Ta Claus!”. That’s freakin’ awesome.
Last, but not least…
Deck da Club by Ying Yang Twins.
Stricktly for butt shaking and laughs. Use wisely and in moderation!