Before we slide into the new year with new hope and happiness (hopefully), I wanted to say that I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!
I certainly did and I will show you my reap later next week on my Youtube channel (because a little bragging has never done any harm), but let's say it was a wonderful time well spent with my family and man. And there was a wonderful thing I found out about Christmas. Usually, I am devastated come Christmas because it marks the end of the wonderful pre-Christmas time. However, I recently found out that the official Christmas time actually goes until 2nd February to a holiday called Candlemas, which marks the 40 day mark after Jesus's birth. Apparently, women were considered impure 40 days after they had given birth (seriously, church sucks in their opinion on women...), and 2nd February therefore marks the official end of the whole Jesus-being-born-issue. So, Happy Post-Christmas and make sure you make it a good one!
But let's concentrate on the holiday upon us. People who know me, know that as much as I am a fan of Christmas, I loathe NYE. I think it is generally because NYE marks a milestone upon which you regard your life and see what you have achieved (or not). Additionally, I am not a fan of any occasion where people get ridiculous wasted and think it's OK simply because it's NYE or carnival (which is why I don't like either).
This year, however, I had some sort of epiphany. As you know (or don't), my year's been quite turbulent and I am pretty quick to say it has been one of my worst years yet. I started into it without work, found a job which made me entirely unhappy, had some family issues going on, including my granddad having a stroke, and, to top it off, my beloved dog Lilly died in September. Seriously, if my man and I hadn't gone on our journey, there would hardly be anything positive to report about this year.
I believe, however, that with every crisis, a new start offers itself and even though my year was not really good, I managed to break through some of my safety nets which strangled. I had the courage - and so did my man - to break free from the traditional patterns of life and work and dare to take a risk, which, I am sure, will pay off. I have worked extensively on my writing, also in this blog, and my man and I couldn't be closer. We are now embarking on a new journey, leading us to Vienna for now, and we're all excited about it.
Additionally, I realised that, as this year ends, I am in no secure job position, I have no clue what I want from life and I am momentarily bunking in with my little sister in her own flat - so, actually, the only way from here is up, right?
JK Rowling once said that failure strips away the unessential and you can see clearer what you want, and I can only agree. I have come to welcome my low points with open arms because even if it hurts walking through them, you always come out wiser and stronger and more certain of what you can do and what really matters.
So, this year I have decided to look forward to the transition to 2018 because, seriously, I cannot state enough how over I am over 2017 and how ready I am to take on new adventures!
Have a happy transition yourself and be prepared to read more wonderful articles here, now that my Christmas countdown is over and I can dedicate my time to writing more serious articles like The Most Wrong Episodes of HIMYM (soon to be on), or You Only Thought You Are Born Once? and of course my favourite The Danger of Projectising Everything.
Some things to look forward to, so I'll see you in 2018!
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you are having a wonderful day and before I am shutting down for the festive days, I will give you a little insight into my Christmas.
Today is the 24th, which usually means it's pretty relaxed at home. We watch Christmas movies, prepare the little things to prepare (last-minute gift-wrapping, boiling the potatoes for raclette, etc.) and preparing Christmas lyric sheets (which is my job and which I actually still got to do) because we can all only sing the first verse of every carol before slowly fading away into silence.
We have our big turkey on the 25th but only eat raclette on the 24th because it is no hassle to prepare and means my mum doesn't have to be stressed out about food all day. My sisters visit the horses with goodie bags filled with carrots and apples and we take our (one remaining dog, sniff, sniff) out for an extended walk.
This year, we are varying one of our traditions. Usually, we always re-enacted the shepherds' quest to find Jesus, with my dad acting as the shooting star (which meant putting candles along the path he was walking through the forest) and us (the shepherds) following. Then we would gather in the woods around the clay Jesus doll, sing Christmas carols and read the respective bible part.
However, my dad has decided until one of us has children we will pause this tradition and rather go for a long walk and then choose a nice spot to do our prayers and songs, which I think will be very nice.
When we return, we will bless the house with frankincense, singing an awful rendition of Amen. However, we love this tradition and it has to stay.
Unlike most people, we always unwrap before dinner, simply because we cannot wait any minute longer. Our unwrapping sessions last for at least an hour (we all have serious gift-buying issues, everyone gets faaaaaar to much and every year we promise we will keep it down, but, hell, I bought two presents each this year as well...). Then, finally, we assemble at the Christmas table and dig in until we nearly vomit (we have eating issues, too), but it's delicious and we are jolly and in a happy mood.
Probably the best part ensues after dinner. We loll around in (hopefully) new pajamas, read our new books, watch a movie or have a lovely chat. It is the absolute bliss of relaxation and I cannot wait for tonight.
I hope you have an equally wonderful Christmas and thank you all for reading my blog and supporting me therefore. I wish you the best of Christmases and after a short break, I will be back to tell you more about everything that comes to mind!
Oh, and for extra support, don't forget to get an e-book copy for 0.99C of It's Christmas, After All on amazon. You can find the link Books. I hope you like it!
Go to https://tasteofbritatasteofbritain.weebly.com/in.weebly.com/ to read the latest updates on my London trip and my time at Regent Street and my visit to the Christmas concert of Kate Rusby.
As promised, here comes a list of other Christmas movies to watch over the festive days. Yesterday, you were given real gems (as considered by me), but today I will include a wider range of movies, some of which not particularly good but worth watching on a snowy (or rainy) Christmas Day.
This movie tells the story of a couple who, after their flight to Fiji gets cancelled, have to visit all their four parents (each is divorced and has a new family) at Christmas. Chaos and funny situations are ahead!
With Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn
Home Alone (2)
I, personally, have never been a fan of the Home Alone franchise and deem Kevin not cute or lovable at all, but rather perceive him as a total psychopath (and Macaulay Culkin isn't helping). However, most people would consider the movies as classics for Christmas, so follow Kevin being left home and defending his home to two absurdly stupid and un-gifted thieves. For fans of slapstick and shallow humour. #
The Christmas Prince
Netflix has provided some lovely Christmas movies and even though The Christmas Prince is no bummer, it is a worthwhile watch for a lazy afternoon. Amber Moore, an editor and aspiring journalist, is sent to Andovia, a fake kingdom set in a lovely castle (which, by the way, is the same they used in A Princess for Christmas - see below).
There she is supposed to write an article about the scandal-ridden prince but soon discovers that nothing is at she thought at first (who would have thought)...
Christmas at Castlebury Hall
This other cheesy movie is, in my opinion, slightly better than the one above and follows Buffalo-based antique shop saleswoman Jules Daly who, after her sister's demise, has to take care of the two children. Shortly before Christmas, the estranged grandfather and Lord of Castlebury Hall invites them for Christmas and they travel to the fake European Castlebury Hall where not only the embittered grandfather can open his heart, but Jules also meets his amazing son (and prince) Ashton (played by no one else than Outlander hottie Sam Heughan).
The Polar Express
A slightly creepy Christmas story, The Polar Express never managed to capture my heart. Cinematically it's really good, I guess, but the notion of a train roaming the country and picking up children to bring them to an old man far away is simply too creepy. The story is about a boy who starts to doubt Santa's existence and is whisked to the North Pole on the Polar Express where he meets a myriad of variable characters - all equally weird, but if it's your deal, why not?
I hate Will Ferrell. Seriously, among Adam Sandler, he is the actor who cannot act, is not funny and whose movies simply suck (only think of Bewitched, it wasn't Nicole Kidman's fault the movie sucked so epically).
Having said that it comes as no big surprise that I also don't like Elf. I think it is a stupid and sort of dazing movie in which a huge grown-up runs around among little elves. When Buddy (as he has been named), finds out his human father is on the Naughty List, he sets off to put him straight back on the Good List, setting off a string of embarrassingly twisted-to-be-funny moments which result mainly of the Will-Ferrell-Show.
Pete's Christmas is among the films I discovered this year and really liked. It is about Pete who has had the worst Christmas ever and, upon waking up, realises it's the morning of Christmas again and again and again (it's the Groundhog Day Syndrome) and realises that he has the once in a lifetime chance to create the perfect Christmas and probably even amend some things gone wrong.
Love the Coopers
Another family Christmas drama surrounding about various individuals and their problems. The parents want a divorce after forty years and their children come with their individual drama to celebrate Christmas. Their daughter brings a complete stranger, pretending he's her fiancé and his son is still struggling to come to terms with his divorce, so you can imagine you are in for trouble, big reveals and a hearty family get-together.
With Diane Keaton, Olivia Wilde and Amanda Seyfried
The Spirit of Christmas
For fans of Christmas ghost stories, this is one for you (after you have watched A Christmas Carol). Kate, a busy lawyer, has to get a B&B appraised and sold before Christmas and travels to the big house only to find out that a ghost is haunting it (a truly hot and touchable ghost, that is) and attempts to set him free. So she dives into the past to secure her present, but what Kate actually wants changes rather surprisingly (or not).
I’ll be Home for Christmas
This movie starring Mena Suvari as a single mother to a (entirely obnoxious) daughter tells the story of a workaholic, uptight woman whose free-spirited but grumpy father surprisingly visits over Christmas and will put her life upside down.
A predictable but very warm movie, perfect to watch with your family or cosied up alone (so no one can shame-watch you). Just don't think of American Beauty while watching it, or it gets rather disturbing.
The Nightmare before Christmas
For a rather short time, I was a massive Tim Burton fan and, obviously, I also watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. However, it really freaked me out and I have sworn to myself to never watch it again. Still, if you are into moving, creepy dolls who sing (admittedly great) song, this movie is definitely for you. Follow the characters into Halloween Town where all the monsters live, among them Jack, a skeleton with a rather eponymous name (it's Skellington). Jack decides it's unfair that Christmas should only be for the citizens of Christmas Town and announces Halloween Town will take over the feast this year, resulting in havoc and chaos, as you can imagine. Prepare to have nightmares (as the title suggest) and don't say I didn't warn you...
Alright, this wraps it up. With these movies you should have plenty to watch, and if not, here are some more movies which aren't Christmas movies, but still get you in a great mood.
Three Wishes for Cinderella
The Little Lord
Rise of the Guardians
Remember my post from yesterday where I wrote gift-giving should be an entirely relaxed and stress-free experience?
Well, I might be a hypocrite but I had a little gift-related situation yesterday which flung me into a dilemma that I call the "inability-to-stick-to-your-plans" dilemma.
In our family, gift-giving can pose as a source of stress simply for the matter that we often believe what we bought is simply not enough or well-balanced. I have two sisters, a boyfriend and parents for which I want to buy not only great presents, but also know they have to be fairly balanced in price and quantity.
When I realised my mum's present won't be here in time for Christmas, I hurried into the city to buy a plan B present and my bigger sister who had initially wished only for financial support for a riding course she wanted to do, suddenly came out announcing she had already paid for it, which threw me into deep depression as, three days before Christmas Eve I didn't have a present for her!
Rushing into the city to get plan B present for my mum and sister, I found another gift for my little sister because I deemed the one I have her rather small compared to the others. Now, with my mum's delayed present, it means she will get two, as does my little sister which convinced me I had to get another one for my big sister and dad, too - so you see where I am headed. Gladly, I really enjoy the gift-giving process and now that I am ready to go for Christmas present-wise, I can hardly wait!
Christmas is approaching with big steps and it's only a few days till the most awaited holiday of the year.
Christmas, of course, is about the birth of Jesus - the leader of Christian religious beliefs; however, gifts have become a crucial part of it over the past centuries and I daresay most people associate gift-giving mostly with Christmas - apart from advent calendars or Christmas crackers, perhaps...
As the days to buy last-minute-presents are counted, I thought I could do a little piece on giving gifts, what works and what probably doesn't. I deem myself to be a rather gifted gift-giver and I really enjoy the process of it - compared to most people, as I observe. Honestly, I have never understood why buying gifts puts so much pressure on people because it takes the whole fun out of it if you perceive it as a stressful and dutiful task, so let's see if my ponders on the whole idea may help you become more relaxed yourself.
My recommendation for gifts is a) not only to look for presents around Christmas. Look all year round and buy immediately when you find something you deem a perfect match for someone. You will thank yourself at Christmas, believe me, and b) start to listen closely to what people talk about around Christmas. Listening can help you a big deal to figure out what would be a nice gift for the person to be gifted, and it is a nicer way to find out about their wishes than plainly asking them.
The first step for Christmas gift-giving is to think about who belongs to which circle. We all have a nuclear group of to-be-gifted and a wider (second) circle. Some friends may belong to the nuclear circle and their gift may be more exclusive and thought-through, whereas some friends counted rather as acquaintances can also be skipped in some years when they are abroad, etc, etc.
My first rule when it comes to gift-giving is to buy when I see something fitting, especially regarding people from the second circle. I know this sounds hard, but I'd rather have nothing than something completely impersonal and random (which is, actually, so not true because I love being given random things even though they might only gather dust, but nothing is never good, however, I'm trying to be economic and mature here, so bear with me).
Sometimes I simply won't find anything fitting for this person and I forego the task of buying them a present because nothing clicks. Of course, it might be this person has got something for you, which brings me to rule number two.
Don't give to be given. Gift-giving should be an entirely selfless act and even if general politeness suggests it's a exchange process (I HATE general politeness), I don't want to feel deterred to give something to someone because I fear they might not have thought of me. Maybe they adhered to rule one and couldn't find the perfect match. Do not take it personal or, even worse, desist from buying another gift for this person out of personal offendedness. Most likely, the person will have a bad conscience anyway for not having something to offer back, but I think that should be alleviated as best as possible. You give a gift because you want to, not because you have to or ask anything back - or else you haven't understood the whole idea of gift-giving altogether.
But what exactly can you buy for your loved ones this Christmas? Well, the details you must know on your own, but I can provide some suggestions which most likely work. Generally, I daresay women are much easier to gift when it comes to not knowing exactly what to buy because a bottle of expensive perfume, a basket with scented candles and oils, tasteful jewelry or a nice scarf will always do the trick. As for men, I have had my problems over the years as well, but with a good bottle of whisky or gin, a watch or (in these metrosexual days) a perfume might work as well.
Another good option for girls, especially younger sisters or nieces, is Pandora. Pandora sells little charm bracelets to which you can add little charms. Now, investing in such a present is clever because you will know what to get for the rest of the next seven to ten years.
What also works in this section is nail polish, makeup boxes, lovely scarves and shawls or posh leather gloves (in the best case given with a matching scarf). I wouldn't know of a girl not enjoying any of these mentioned gifts, so if you don't too, you should be ready to go for Christmas.
Shopping for the mother-in-law can be a really tricky undertaking because you might want to find the perfect gift; however, showing a person you thought of him/her is a really great gift in itself, so keep it simple and don't overthink it. I usually buy some nice baskets with exclusive oils or scented candles, one year I bought a scarf, or simply a beautiful plant (always potted, never plucked).
Hand-made gifts are a recurring trend, too (mostly among those with little cash to shed) but they can make wonderful, personalised gifts. I love baking and often I put something baked into a box of gifts (obviously, you have to plan ahead with things like these and cannot prepare it weeks and weeks in advance.
A great way to make something yourself without having to bake on the 24th are hand-made chocolates. You can prepare them in advance, wrap them nicely and the person will have a personalised box of chocolates. However, bear in mind that making chocolates is a tedious task and, not sugarcoating anything here, a complete and utter mess in your kitchen.
Hand-made things can also include crocheted products, knitwear, woodwork or anything else you are talented in. Last year, I gave a friend a bound book of my Taste of Britain book because she had previously mentioned she wanted to write down the most interesting articles of it, so I took off this particular task and made a nice present out of it (it always seems like shameful self-promotion, but she really is a fan of my books, so I guess it's OK).
The great thing about hand-made gifts is that you have actually invested sweat and time into creating something for someone, so probably these presents are the best after all.
Many people still issue vouchers for Christmas but I think it is a terrible tradition and should not be supported, same goes for giving an envelope with money. It is thoughtless and lame. Of course it also depends on the voucher, if it is one for bungee-jumping and you have been wanting to do that for a long time (which means something's entirely wrong with you), it might be a nice gift, but generally I would refrain from it.
Also, money from a distant aunt might be better than a gift so terrible you will only hide it to never see the light of day again; however, these are rare exceptions and will not be the presents you will be talking about for a long time.
For me, gift-giving is mainly about thinking of a person and considering what this person would like. It is not about outdoing anyone or finding the allegedly perfect gift. It should be fun, not a burden.
So when you brave the last-minute-shoppers, stay calm and make the most fun of it. Shops like Depot, Butlers or Nanu Nana are perfect for choosing lovely little gifts and I am sure you will find great presents there. Other than that, take a deep breath and if everything goes wrong, you can still simply ask the person what to buy...
As I am momentarily in London, tasteofbritain has a comeback and you can find the latest update on tasteofbritain.weebly.com/blog/the-unsuccessful-journey
Compiling a Christmas song list can be a tedious undertaking, so be glad I already did that for you. Today I have enlisted the best Christmas songs (according to me) and I hope it will help you get on with your Christmas music for this year's Christmas. Enjoy!
Oh, and why not tell me about your favourites, too, and if I like them, I will gladly include them in the list :-)
Holly and Ivy – Kate Rusby
Cold winter – Kate Rusby
Little Drummer Boy – Celtic Woman
Sweet Bells – Kate Rusby
White Winter Hymnal
All I want for Christmas is you – Mariah Carey
Charms – Frosty the Snowman
Christmas Wrapping – Glee
Ella Fitzgerald – Let it snow
Angels we have heard on high – Glee
Diadem – Kate Rusby
Christmas Without you – One Republic
White Christmas – Otis Reading
Merry Christmas Baby – Otis Reading
Carol of the Bells – Point of Grace
Sleigh Ride – Ronettes
Run Rudolph Run – Sarah Evans
Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin Stevens
The Christmas Song – The Raveonettes
It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas – Michael Buble
Silver Bells – Michael Buble
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
Ring them Bells – Sarah Jarosz
O Holy Night – Tamika Lawrence, Molly June & Wes Hutchinson
Have yourself a merry little Christmas – Christina Aguilera
Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Pentatonix
Feliz Navidad – Michael Buble or Dave Allan & The Arrows
White Christmas – Michael Buble (Duet with Shania Twain)
Santa Claus is coming to town – Mariah Carey
White Winter Hymnal – Birdy or Fleet Foxes
Go tell it on the mountain – Anne Murray
Blue Christmas – Kelly Clarkson
Rockin around the Christmas tree – Brenda Lee or Victoria Justice
Ding Dong - Celtic Woman
Coming Home – Sasha
It’s not Christmas without you – Victoria Justice
Merry Christmas – Bryan Adams
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Angelo Kelly
Christmas Times are Coming – Patty Loveless
Up on the Housetop – Reba McEntire
Every year I compile a new list of Christmas music; however, the songs don't have to be new and I excel in finding hidden gems on Youtube which are, indeed, very old. Two years ago, my compilation was mainly party songs because we had a huge Christmas party at our house and included songs by Lady Gaga and pretty much the entire Glee soundtrack.
Last year, I concentrated on folk music and instrumental music and delved deeper into traditional songs as well as folk singers like Kate Rusby.
This year's compilation concentrates on oldies and country Christmas songs because, weirdly, they make a great couple; however, I have not only included them in the extensive list below, but also my favourites of the past years, so I am sure there will be plenty for you to choose from for you personal Christmas list. First, I will list some songs, you might not know to add and be delighted (and even more delighted when you return to the songs you know and feel this familiarity).
Alan Jackson - Let it Snow
This one was actually a borderline decision and I think it is nearly too schmaltzy but, hey, let's have him on the list.
Bette Midler - Mele Malikimaka
This song is probably not so well-known in Europe and tells you how to say Merry Christmas in Hawaii. The version of Bette Midler is best for me and I hope you enjoy it too.
Blackmores Night - I Saw Three Ships
I have already talked about this song and my favourite version is by Kate Rusby named Sunny Bank, but this one is also really good and probably a tad more traditional.
Brenda Lee - I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus
Brenda Lee is mainly beloved for her Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, but this song is a bummer, too, especially for children. Essentially, she talks about lassoing Santa Claus, taking the presents and giving them to children who have none. A nice message.
Celine Dion - Adeste Fideles
Technically not really a folk/country song at all; however, it is a really beautiful song and Dion is a fantastic singer, so nothing wrong with that, right?
Celtic Woman - It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
This is a beautiful song and I daresay it is not as well-known either. Celtic Woman sing it really nicely and set the perfect mood for Christmas, as usual.
Charms - Frosty the Snowman
Simply a Must on a Christmas playlist.
Chet Atkins - Jolly Old St. Nikolas
Louis Armstrong - Christmas Night in Harlem
A classic Jazz town sung by the Jazz legend per se. A new discovery for me this year, I think it belongs to the top list spots for oldies and goldies.
Patty Loveless - Christmas Times A-Coming
This song is one of my favourites for this year because it is Christmassy, very country style, but not puke-inducingly so.
Elvis Presley - Santa Claus Is Back In Town
The slightly less popular brother of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, this song sung by Elvis Presley needs to be in a playlist for Oldies. Musically it is fantastic and engages you to dance.
Angelo Kelly & Family - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Yes, the Kelly Family is BACK. Even though it is now Angelo Kelly (remember, An Angel) and his lot singing. This song is mainly mesmerizing due to its backpipes intro which is eerily beautiful. The singing itself is a bit disappointing compared to the intro, but it deserves a spot on the list nevertheless.
Gayla Peevey - I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas
Probably my favourite this year, this song is not only painstakingly cute, but also real fun to listen and dance to. Especially for children (and hippo lovers), this song should be included in any list.
Jaida Dreyer - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Another children's classic and even though it is not my particular favourite, this particular version with its country style music is a real party inducer.
Johnny Cash - We Are the Shepherds
When compiling a country playlist, Cash cannot be missed, of course. This slow song is perfect for curling up on an armchair with a cup of cocoa and a good book (like my Christmas short story collection It's Christmas, After All, she wrote, shamelessly self-promoting her work).
Kelleigh Bannen - Deck the Halls
Deck the Halls is probably the most traditional song of all and it is miracle someone dared to make a folk/country version out of it, but Kelleigh Bannen did and I must say I rather like the outcome. It still has the beauty of Falalalala, but with a more modern touch to it.
Kelly Clarkson - Blue Christmas, Every Christmas, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Please Come Home for Christmas
Kelly Clarkson sings a couple of really nice Christmas songs and Blue Christmas is among them. In this soul version you will want to sway along to the singer having a terribly blue Christmas. As for Emmanuel, it doesn't fit the list either, but it was so eerily beautiful I decided to include it nevertheless.
Kenny Rogers - Once Again It's Christmas
A less popular song as well, I reckon, and it's not my personal favourite, but for fans of soulish and blues music, definitely worth listening to.
Lady Antebellum - A Holly Jolly Christmas
This song is so cheerful you cannot help starting to sway along and this upbeat version by Lady Antebellum makes it even better.
Meaghan Smith - Silver Bells
A rather weird version of the classic song, but with its very relaxed and laid-back tune and soft voice, a song which will set the mood to decorate the tree or bake cookies - not too stressful, but not Silent Night-ish either.
Sugarland - Nuttin for Christmas
Country you want? Country you get. This song is so country you actually cannot believe it upon hearing it the first time. Not only the music underlines the country theme, but the singers' accent is defiantly southern. A fantastic song for car driving.
Reba McEntire - Up On The Housetop
A fast-paced version of the well-known song with upbeat and motivating music playing along.
Rhonda Vincent - Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, Christmas At Home
Once more a true country style defender. Rhonda Vincent makes a waltz out of the Bethlehem song, which makes it perfect for parties, without being too pop song like or fast. Christmas At Home belongs to the "car-driving-compilation" as well.
Debbie & The Darnells - Santa Teach Me To Dance
My annual Oldie favourite, Santa Teach Me To Dance has the perfect tune to twist a little and get into the right party mood - and who wouldn't like Santa to teach them how to dance.
OK, I think I have supplied enough Christmas music for you to drown in, so start listening and have a fantastic audio Christmas with the gems from the four-part-Christmas music special. If you want to contribute anything to the list, just comment here or on Facebook (or Twitter).
Christmas music, as already mentioned, is one of the most important parts to create a Christmassy mood and I, personally, love Christmas music. In a previous post, I have already listed the best Christmas albums to get, but today is about Christmas songs you might never have heard.
I don't know when it all started, but I have been responsible for the Christmas music for a couple of years now and I guess it is mainly due to my ability and liking to burn CDs as well as my self-taught abilities to illegally download music (I know it's illegal, but I was a KID back then and didn't know and I haven't done so ever since Spotify has been invented, so cool it).
Anyway, these wanton abilities combined led to me becoming the compiler and presenter of Christmas music and because I am borderline competitive when it comes to improving my own set of achievements, I strove to come up with an even better and better compilation each year and track down each and every Christmas song, may it hide in the farthest back corner, it's pretty stressful, actually.
But now let's dive into songs you might not have heard before or forgotten about. Enjoy.
Songs you might not have heard before
Santa, teach me to dance
This oldie is perfect for swinging at a party and should definitely be on an oldies compilation
I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
This song is one this year's gem list because it is so terribly cute. Also accounting for an oldie, it is the perfect song for children and at a party.
Jolly Old St. Nicolaus
Originally based on a poem by Emily Huntington Miller, this song is the other Up on the Housetop but equally fun. I really like the version by Chet Atkins and it is also included in my country/oldies playlist.
Do you hear what I hear?
I discovered this beautiful song last year when I downloaded (legally) the Glee soundtrack and it has become one of my absolute favourites. It is a song that touches your heart and the written from the perspective of the lamb and the shepherd makes it also very humble and true to the values of Jesus (the king is the last one to learn about the new baby, before him the night wind, the lamb and the poor shepherd boy do).
O come, O come, Emmanuel
This is a very old song, stemming from the 15th century. Emmanuel is generally simply another name for Jesus, being mentioned in the bible three times, once in Matthew and twice in Isaiah. I found this version of Kelly Clarkson and thought is particularly eerie and beautiful; however, Pentatonix also do a version which deserves notion and is slightly more upbeat.
I Saw Three Ships
I Saw Three Ships is a traditional English Christmas song stemming from the 17th century and it is also on Kate Rusby's Christmas album The Frost is All Over under the name Sunny Bank and it is also this version I would recommend, even though you will find another one in the compilation below.
It’s Christmas Once Again
A slow and somewhat schmaltzy song, It's Christmas Once Again is for cuddling up with a steaming cup of tea and watching the snow fall. The version in the link is sung by Nicole Binion.
Holly and Ivy
In England I assume this traditional song is well-known; however, I doubt many people beyond have heard it before, even though it has been my absolute favourite carol ever since I heard it; however, I fell in love with the folkish version of beloved singer Kate Rusby and the traditional version is not as fantastic as Rusby's, which is why I can only recommend to listen to hers before listening to the traditional one.
White Winter Hymnal
White Winter Hymnal is a song by Fleet Foxes and was released in 2008. Despite its young age, it has a very traditional ring to it and even though the version Birdy has on her own album, I prefer the original version by Fleet Foxes. Pentatonix' version is really good too, if you are into more beaty and rhythm-driven music (and A Capella).
Check out these songs and include into your annual Christmas compilation to spice it up a little and stay tuned for tomorrow's list of Best Christmas Songs Ever and then my compilation of country songs and oldies.
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