I've been mulling this post over for a while now. Ever since Dave mentioned in one of the podcasts earlier this season that he was looking forward to Christmastime, with the lights and decorations and Saints playoff buzz, with everyone kind of happy and Who-Datting each other in the streets, etc.
I love Christmas, too. Last spring, I mentioned it when I posted this story about the Saints 2006 Christmas Eve game featured on an episode of Treme.
So with all that in mind, I want to bring some holiday spirit up in this place. Today was the Winter Solstice, for Gaea's sake, and yesterday was the first night of Hanukkah!! Now it's just four days until Christmas, and five days until the beginning of Kwanzaa. We cannot waste another minute of this joyous season.
When you make the jump with me, we will discuss some of my Who Dat holiday memories and music, and I invite you to share your own, however you celebrate...for in the words of Blues Traveler/John Popper:
If it's Chanukah or Kwaanza, Solstice, harvest or December twenty-fifth
Peace on earth to everyone, and abundance to everyone you're with
As I wrote above, I love Christmas. It's a full sensory/emotional experience for me: the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes (lots of goodies to eat), the happiness all around, spending time with family, no school/work for a while, and presents (first the getting of them, then as I grew older, more enjoyment in the giving of them).
As a kid, one of my favorite parts of the season was getting out the Christmas decorations and the records every year: Andy Williams, Perry Como, and especially the Disney Christmas Album, with this tune I could not get enough of - From All of Us To All of You. My sister and I wore that album out. We also had this silver sphere/ornament thing that plugged into the wall and chirped like a bird: chiiiiiiiiiirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp! Over and over again. Very obnoxious. I have no idea why it was in the Christmas box, or where we got it from, but it was there nonetheless, and the game was to be the first one to find it and then sneak over and plug it in when no one was expecting it, annoying the rest of the family to no end. Big fun!
Then, starting in the mid-to-late 80's, when the Saints got a bit respectable, an added bonus to this season was the Saints and their legitimate playoff chances. 1987 was a glorious holiday and football season. For Christmas that year, I received a Saints NFC Playoffs sweatshirt, and it was great until the Vikings ruined it, of course. Watching the Saints win meaningful games at this time of year was such a treat, especially since it was a pretty new sensation. The 1991 and 1992 regular season endings were a blast, and 2000 kicked all kinds of ass, as did 2006. 2009 wasn't so great at Christmas because of the 3-game losing streak, but we all know that season ended pretty well after all.
As a young adult, with the advent (get it?) of the compact disc, my love of Christmas music led me to amass quite a collection over the years. And each year I glean much pleasure from listening to them to rekindle my holiday fire. Here are some of my favorites clustered into groups (caution - the 'cheese' factor will be thick on many of these selections):
Instrumentals: Vince Guaraldi Trio's Charlie Brown Christmas, Booker T and the MGs - In the Christmas Mood, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass's Christmas Album, the Canadian and London Brass Christmas Albums, Mannheim Steamroller (there's just something I dig about those ancient tunes all "synthesizered-up" and s***), and George Winston - December.
Various Artists: Putumayo's New Orleans Christmas, A Very Special Christmas Vol. I and III, VH-1's Big 80's Christmas (Bob and Doug MacKenzie's 12 Days of Christmas is the crown jewel), Nick @ Nite's Classic Cartoon Christmas (with songs from classic Christmas TV specials), the Love Actually soundtrack, several jazz/60's Christmas collections, and Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics (from South Park).
Single Artists: We have Christmas albums by Elvis, Sinatra, and Leon Redbone, then the Chieftains - Bells of Dublin, Asleep at the Wheel - Santa Loves to Boogie, the Blind Boys of Alabama - Go Tell It On The Mountain, and then my mellow and soulful female singers (Shawn Colvin - Holiday Songs and Lullabyes, Aimee Mann - One More Drifter in the Snow, and Sarah McLachlan - Wintersong).
Other holiday traditions Mrs. Hans and I have recently adopted involve listening to our CD of the This American Life 2005 Holiday Spectacular (featuring holiday-themed stories from David Sedaris, John Hodgman and others), and the annual All Songs Considered Holiday Music Special (link to the 2011 edition) from NPR, which always clues us in to some new seasonal tunes and artists.
OK, that's enough from me, so now I'd like to hear from you.
What are your Who Dat and holiday traditions? Do you enjoy holiday music as much as me? What are some of your favorites? Don't be shy, be proud and share your memories and music!!
ENJOY the holidays, everyone!!