Christmas Freak

The merriest corner of the Internet

Category: Music

Mariah Carey

Hark! Were you aware that we have been graced with a modern day herald angel who has decided to appear to us first in the following form:


and later in this updated form:


a divine being who sleeps on a lofted throne of the softest terrycloth, surrounded by humidifiers set up for the sole purpose of lubricating her vocal chords so she can spread the Christmas gospel via not just one but two Christmas albums; who owns at least two off-the-shoulder Mrs. Claus outfits and whose signature choice of footwear is the clear high heel adorned with feathers, a shoe that’s best classified as an angel’s slipper, and whose hair is so golden it emits a glow that approximates a halo?

Hark! Did you know that if you play All I Want for Christmas Is You twelve times on repeat, a dozen lambs will spring from the womb, joyful and bleating; that if you listen to Mariah singing O Holy Night alone in a room with a single candle flickering in the dark, a family of mice will link arms and hold a vigil; that if you put on her 1994 recording of Silent Night at the stroke of midnight, a bowl of plums will crystallize into candy and a partridge will pluck a sprig of boswellia and carry it aloft to roost at the top of a tree, auguring an age of peace and tranquility? Go ye now and add a little more happiness to the world by experiencing the modern day miracle that is MC.


Best Version: Here Comes Santa Claus by Elvis Presley

I never liked this song until I heard Elvis sing it. He clearly recorded it in the kitchen because his voice sounds like BUTTER.

Justin Bieber’s Someday at Christmas

This is somewhat unfashionable to say, but Justin Bieber’s way-back-when cover of “Someday at Christmas” is truly wonderful. Watch it and become a belieber. (Sorry, I had to).


Nas Songs That Sound Like Christmas Music

Nas loves Christmas. I would bet anyone all of the chocolate in an advent calendar that he’s one trip to Rockefeller Center away from recording a Christmas album. (I’d call it St. Nas). Exhibit A: He already has an album called God’s Son, so obviously the general context has been on his mind since at least 2002. Exhibit B: His albums almost invariably feature at least one song produced with sleigh bells and/or tambourines, which is really more an effect than a cause of Exhibit C: His music is, at heart, interested in nostalgia, which gives each of his songs a magical little tingle and makes them sound like they were mulled with spices. If you want to start the Christmas season “early” (though personally, I consider any festivity past July 25 fair game) without anyone knowing, may I suggest:

Can’t Forget About You


A Queens Story

Not Going Back

Doo Rags

What Goes Around


I Can, which, though not seemingly Christmasy, samples Fur Elise, which is also featured on Vince Guaraldi’s Holiday Classic: Charlie Brown’s Christmas.


ios7 Ringtone Twinkle

Spring is the season of Discreet Christmas Music. I stumbled across this ringtone while changing the settings of my iphone, and was immediately transported to back to 1994, when I first saw the cover of Mariah’s Merry Christmas album and knew I had found my place in the world. Set this as your ringtone! It’s the perfect way to sample Christmas while still feigning interest in the ancillary seasons of spring and summer. No one will suspect.

Auld Lang Syne

Though traditionally played on New Years, I think of it an honorary Christmas song, and one of the few holiday tunes that doesn’t elicit groans when I play it this soon after December. I like how it’s both sentimental and optimistic, as if to say: Go forth into the dawn! Don’t look back! There’s a whole year of Christmas ahead of us! Here are my favorite versions, which I listen to as a playlist, Auld Lang Syne all day and night:

Andrew Bird. Auld Lang Syne sung on the front porch with a banjo and a fiddle.

Mariah Carey. Auld Lang Syne as the national anthem. Then breakdown! Auld Lang Syne in the club.

Sufjan Stevens. Auld Lang Syne sung by bonneted 19th C American settlers and a chorus of their rosy-cheeked children. You can almost hear them knitting a quilt in the background.

Jimi Hendrix. Nostalgic electric shredding.

Beach Boys. Auld Lang Syne harmonized around a bonfire, with a classic spoken interlude from Denny Wilson.

Vitamin String Quartet. A traditional instrumental version, best listened to at night, the lights low, the flatscreen playing a recording of a crackling fire.

Patti LaBelle. A quiet, doo-woppy Auld Lang Syne, sang as though it’s the last song of the night before closing.

Put on Darlene Love’s Winter Wonderland

and feel yourself being transported to the holiday tree-shopping montage in your own personal romantic comedy.

Merry Christmas, Darling


I feel a little sad when I listen to the Carpenters. For me, their album, “Christmas Portrait,” has always embodied Christmas Day. It’s as wholesome as a glass of warm milk on the mantle, but also nostalgic, a reminder that the day will soon be over. I get so delirious on punch and powdered sugar in the days leading up to Christmas that when the 25th actually arrives, I want to cling to the decorative tablecloth and holly garlands and shriek “You can’t take it away from me! Not this year!” feel wistful and unsure of how to best soak up every last bit of the season’s joy. This year, instead of forcing your loved ones to pry the holiday spirit from your cramped white knuckles, why not sneak the last of the thumbprint cookies, curl up in front of the potbellied stove, and let Karen Carpenter’s buttery voice ease you into the new year, which, as all ChristmasFreaks know, truly starts on December 26th. Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

Bob Dylan’s Christmas Album

Picture: A dive bar on Christmas eve, sparsely filled. A sad, haggard man who’s been there since 3pm starts to sing along with the music. The other patrons join in on backup. A serenade for the lonely.

The Crappy Part of the Nutcracker


Blasphemy! I know, I know. I adore the Nutcracker so much that I always forget how much of a snoozer most of the first act is. Let’s pause for a moment, clear the marzipan from our heads, and think back to that nice nap we took during scenes one through six, you know–the scenes with all the lovely orchestra music playing in the background?

Somewhere in between the trumpet and the horn, I vaguely remember a long, uneventful Christmas party: 20 minutes of adults greeting each other and passing around hors d’oeuvres. I’m pretty sure one of the scenes is called “Dance of the Parents,” and another “Departure of the Guests,” two of the least exciting things to happen dramatically ever, and during which time most of the dancing consists of adults shaking hands and bowing to each other. Which, I’ll give them credit, is exactly how I imagine parents dancing. I know, they have to introduce the magical toymaker who gives Clara the nutcracker, etc, etc, but really–and maybe this is the New Yorker in me speaking–I would have been just as pleased to have rushed through that bit, and filled the following five scenes with the dancing rats. Who doesn’t like festive rodents?

For the love of Silver Bells

I’ve been testing the patience of my apparently very patient fiance, who is a NCF (Non-ChristmasFreak), by playing Stevie Wonder’s Christmas album on repeat for the past few days. The entire album is basically a musical version of stuffing as many marshmallows as possible into a mug of hot cocoa, though in my humble opinion, the best song is Silver Bells. Can you please just go listen to it right now? It’s like a puff of warmth from the speakers. I’m listening to it as I write this, and it’s taking a lot of will power not to just fill this entire post with HAPPY WARM FUZZ FUZZ FUZZ. Oh, and as an added plus, it’s one of the more “secular” Christmas songs, omitting all the Jesus/manger stuff, which makes it a lot more palatable to NCFs. Dare them not to like it!

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