Reverendmother here... those of you who read my blog know I have a love-hate relationship with the 24/7 Christmas music we're
subjectedtreated to in stores and radio (in the U.S. at least). It gets too sentimentally sticky-sweet sometimes, yet I find myself unable to resist it. Nothing says "it's Christmas" to me like John Denver and Rolf the Dog singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." So...
1. A favorite 'secular' Christmas song. Wow, that's tough. I suppose "Christmas in the Trenches" by John McCutcheon might qualify. Other than that, I pretty much despise all of them. Oh, wait: the "Elmer Fudd" version of "Blue Christmas" is great, for comedic value only.
2. Christmas song that chokes you up (maybe even in spite of yourself--the cheesier the better) "The Music of Christmas" by Steven Curtis Chapman. Just seems to get me every time. But it's certainly not a "secular" Christmas song. And I agree with Reverendmother: Rolf and John Denver do choke me up quite a bit, in spite of myself.
3. Christmas song that makes you want to stuff your ears with chestnuts roasted on an open fire. "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer," "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas," "Little Drummer Boy" and anything you hear in every Christmas movie where the name Jesus is only mentioned as a profanity. Fa-la-la-la-la, indeed.
4. The Twelve Days of Christmas: is there *any* redeeming value to that song? Discuss. Sure: the Muppets recorded it on the aforementioned Christmas album. Miss Piggy singing, "Five - GOO - OLD haRINGGGGGGGS ba dum dump" is comedy gold. Not to mention the janitor foghorning his way through "eleven pipers piping." "Is nothing sacred?"
5. A favorite Christmas album. I do like "When My Heart Finds Christmas" by Harry Connick, Jr. Also the Stan Kenton Christmas album (can't remember the title): hearing the Kenton Orchestra blazing through "Angels We Have Heard On High" is just COOL. But my favorite Christmas album by far would be "The Bells of Dublin" by the Chieftains. Beautiful music, great guest singers (Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, etc) and two tracks featuring Kevin Conneff singing sean nos: "O the Holly She Bears a Berry" and "The Wren in the Furze." The only blemish on this album is a CLUNKER of a recording of "O Holy Night." It's so bad I've considered dubbing a copy CD without the offending track. But otherwise it's a gem of an album.