Getting the Warm and Fuzzies: Favorite Christmas Songs for 2016

I love this time of year.  One of my favorite things is Christmas and everything that comes with this holiday.  The family traditions, the trees (don’t judge my family goes all out) and the baking. Most of all I love the music.  Like everyone else I enjoy the classic standards but every so often a new song comes along and grabs my heart.  These songs didn’t hit it big like Mariah Carey’s song, “All I Want for Christmas is You” but they still find their way into my heart every December (November and July).

So, without further ado, here are my top four favorite newer Christmas songs.

Cold December Night by Michael Buble

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This song was written by Michael Buble, Alan Chang, and Bob Rock and shows up on his 2011 Christmas album.  Mixed in among the standards and reimagining of standards is this little unassuming song.

Why do I like it so much? I like to compare the song to the end of an exquisite romantic comedy.  It is sweet, heartwarming and the melody and lyrics make you want to listen to the song more than once.  It is a song asking for what brought them joy as kids (family traditions, food, and presents) but they also want love (aww…how sappy).  It is quite sweet and hard for me to describe. Every time this song comes up at random, it is like I just sat by the fire with some hot chocolate.

Favorite Lines

So please just fall in love with me, this Christmas
There’s nothing else that I will need, this Christmas
Won’t be wrapped under a tree, I want something that lasts forever, so kiss me on this cold December night

Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song) by Kelly Clarkson

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This song was written by Kelly Clarkson, Ashley Arrison and Aben Eubanks for her 2013 Wrapped in Red Christmas album.  This song was written for her fiancée (now husband) Brandon.  It describes their first Christmas together and what it meant to her.  Kelly Clarkson describes the song as, “…a lighter fare, referring to it as her holiday life after meeting him.”

The first time I heard this song I felt like I was intruding on a moment I wasn’t supposed to hear or even feel.  You can feel the emotion behind this song and picture these two sharing these moments she writes about.  The 50-piece chamber orchestra (conducted by Joseph Trapanese) gives it a rich feel, almost like it’s a musical number in a Broadway show.  It feels like a classic Christmas song that you can listen to for years to come.

Favorite Lines

This Christmas Eve
I became We
Don’t wake me please
From this winter dream

Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg

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Ok. I’m cheating with this one. This hasn’t come out recently. In fact, it was released in 1981 on the album The Innocent Age.  This song written and sung by Dan Fogelberg is about two former flames that happen to meet up in a store on Christmas Eve.  The song only made it to number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts but is now played frequently during the Christmas season.

Ok, the first time I heard this song I was driving up to Madison to take my marketing communications final, five years ago.  The dreary day matched this song perfectly, and I became obsessed. I swear I have never heard this song before that moment.  Since I’m a sucker for story songs, I got caught up in the story of two former lovers awkwardly reconnecting for a few hours on Christmas Eve, never to meet up again.  It is bittersweet and melodic.  You can’t help but wonder why they didn’t decide to stay in touch after meeting back up especially when the woman relieved she wasn’t in love with her husband.  It is the perfect chaser after the two super sweet songs I described before.  Listening to this song is like reading your favorite bittersweet book. You get caught up in the story and hope beyond hope that the ending will change, but it never does.  Still, you listen again and again.

Favorite Lines

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how

Those are my new favorite Christmas songs.  Have any new Christmas songs grabbed your attention recently or do you stick to the classics? Tell me below.

For your enjoyment, I created a Spotify playlist of the three songs above and other songs I’m obsessed with this year. Please enjoy!

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Until next time.

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We Need a Little Christmas but Not This Early

Welcome back. As I write this, Spotify is playing a Christmas song. No, I didn’t pick it. This is what happens when I hit shuffle.  Before that, another Christmas song played. Now an ad promoting shopping early for Christmas gifts just came on.

Hold on. I’m checking my calendar.

Right. Just as I thought. September. I’m still in shorts and a t-shirt. The leaves are still green and on the trees. Right.

Fa la la la la la la la la la.

I love Christmas as much as the next random person. It brings a nice warm glow as we head into the coldest and darkest nights of the season. People are a little nicer; the houses glow a little brighter, and lots of goodwill and cheer showed on television.

Yeah, I enjoy that too, after I eat turkey and then shop like an idiot the next morning.

Why are people in such a rush to start the holiday season? Especially when we have Halloween and Thanksgiving to enjoy?

I feel like this started, where I live anyway, around the time Hurricane Sandy hit.  Everyone had enough no living with no power for two weeks and extreme cold. So, Christmas became a two-month event. Since then, it has grown. The minute September hits people start thinking Christmas.

It drives me nuts.

We need separation. I want to feel that transition from summer to fall (the weather doesn’t seem to want to play along, but someday it will be cool out). I want to feel scared and enjoy some good candy in the month of October. I want to look forward to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and overeating with my family. Then we can jump into the next holiday.

Why rush. Enjoy each month as it comes. Christmas will be here soon enough.

What do you think? Are you running around humming Christmas songs already or are you just as sick of the rush? Leave a comment below.

Until Saturday, this randomly organized pop is going to bed. Have a good one.

Are Christmas Movies Dead?

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Ho Ho Ho! Welcome back to the randomness! Other than the obvious, what have I been thinking about a lot lately?

Are Christmas Movies Dead?

You are probably confused. You are thinking, you have written more about Hallmark Christmas Movies than anyone should. You have spent the whole month just talking about things that ultimately relate back to Christmas movies. What are you talking about?

Well, my dear reader, this question came to me while watching White Christmas. You know the film. Two guys fall in love with two girls while putting on a play for their retired general. It is lush, musical, bright and warms even the coldest of hearts.

While I think about this movie, I think about the most recent movie I have seen Love The Coopers. Another Christmas movie follows different members of the Cooper family on Christmas Eve. In comparison the film was dull (in color and topic), slow and less fun to watch.

What has happened to the Christmas film? What happened to these kinds of films that distract us from our problems for two hours. White Christmas lets go into a world where miracles can happen, and it can snow even when it won’t. Now, movies seem to take in all the problems of the world and display them back to us.

I know, as a society, we are much more open about problems and willing to talk about these problems. I’m perfectly fine with that. However, sometimes I need to take a break. Everyone needs a break from the real world. That is what movies are for! Especially movies set during the holiday season.

Hallmark does provide us with more holiday movies than we can handle, but something is off with those movies as well. It tends to follow the same formula of romance or over religious family drama. There is nothing lush or heartwarming about these movies. They are just there with their formulas and cutest covers of Christmas songs.

I wish Hollywood would try to make that type of movie again. I bet people would welcome the break from the real world. Even if the film is corny and full of dancing, I think people want to see that type of film again.
For now, are traditional Christmas movies dead? My final assertion? Yes. Mostly because, as a society, we have let that part of us die as well. That part of us that believes in the corny, lush, romantic, sweet world that could exist. It does not seem like it, especially these days, but on film, we can have that world. In two hours at a time.

Stick around because I will be listing my favorite traditional Christmas movies. See if your favorite is on the list!
Until then, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!

Wanted: Christmas Spirit

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image from Flicker 

Welcome to a special blog post! Here is where the randomness rears its head on this blog.

I just needed to send this question out into the universe.

Are you searching for Christmas spirit this year?

I have gone through waves of disappointment, embarrassment or complete indifference this past month as I thought about this question. I guess it is because my usual traditions are not working. Let me explain.

I live in New Jersey. If you live on the east coast right now, you might understand where I am going with this. It is usually quite cold this time of year. We even get ice and snow. However, this year we have record temperature in the wrong direction. The day I went into the NYC with my mom, it was close to 80 degrees outside. Looking at the Rockefeller Tree felt odd. Watching people skate in Rockefeller Rink in shorts was weird. Looking at the windows while sweating was weird. My trip to New York City with my mom to enjoy some windows, the tree, shopping and tea had gotten too weird. Did I say weird enough yet? No? Just making sure. I love going to have some tea while looking at beautiful lights but on that day, it felt like it was a typical spring day in the city.

Another tradition of mine, baking cookies, did not even help. I was indifferent to that. It was something that needed to be done.  I helped out. It felt like a chore instead of something that could be fun to do with my family. That didn’t stop me from eating my weight in cookies, but I digress.

I don’t know if it is the warm weather. I don’t know if my traditions that I adore are failing me. Maybe it is my age. I am getting older. I didn’t even have anything to put on a list for my family. I told them to get me anything for Christmas. I will be happy with anything.

I will say that I am excited for my family to open the presents I got them this year. I’ve noticed that over the month. I felt that twinge of Christmas spirit when I was wrapping the gifts I bought for my family.

Maybe, just maybe, the reason not all my traditions are putting me in the Christmas spirit is because they are juvenile. Not that being juvenile cannot be fun, but age seems to change how I approach the holidays now.

I would rather just spend time with my family doing something spontaneous than preplanned traditions that I have done so many times before. I like buying presents for them that reference inside jokes or something they have been looking at and haven’t bought for themselves. That gives me twinges of Christmas spirit. It warms the cold cockles of my heart to think about my family being happy. Not me, just my family.

How do you feel this holiday season? Are you full of the Christmas spirit or are you like me? Struggling to understand what went wrong this year?

In closing, I will say that I still have hope that Christmas spirit will find its way back to my heart. I may only be for one day, but one day is better than never happening at all.

Until Wednesday, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed.

Presents Galore!

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Welcome back! Tis the season for overbuying my random friends.  I make fun of this, but I am not immune. Before I sat down to write this entry I was Christmas shopping for my parents (they do not read this…I hope they do not read this. I am sorry Mom! Your daughter is a nerd).  While this is the time of year to hang out with family and take stock of the year, it is also the time of year that we buy up a storm and worry about the credit card bill in January.

I have noticed that ads have been playing earlier and earlier for Christmas shopping. Especially the new Toys R Us ads.

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(I would have just embedded the video but that costs money now. Boo.)

I have many fond memories of wishing for that one toy. That one particular toy that populated my thoughts. The toy that I saw everywhere.

I wonder if kids still do this.

The last time I was in a toy store all I saw were toys that were electronic. The Toys R Us by me had more computers than Barbie’s. I understand that technology is the best thing ever (I have my tech toys that I adore) but I’m also 28 years old. When I was a kid, my idea of a good present was something that I could physically touch. No, I don’t mean a computer screen.

Right now, you are all laughing or pointing. You probably think I am the type that yells at kids to get off my lawn. I am just worried that kids are spending too much time wanting technology for Christmas. Some of my greatest memories were running around outside. Riding a new bike or rollerblading around the neighborhood. I loved getting new Barbie’s that I could add to the ever-growing soap opera I had created in my head. Even then, I was writing just in my mind.

I wish for a time where kids, while using technology, still run outside to play with their new Hot Wheels or Scooter. It is fine to love technology, but sometimes you need those toys that get your imagination going or at least get you off the couch.

What am I getting at here? Well, I will be going through my memories tomorrow and talking about the toys that got my imagination going as a kid.

Until then the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!

Merry Christmas from the TV!

 

Welcome back! This is just the start of our Holiday/Christmas journey this month. I decided to start out slow. I am talking about television. What a shock. What is different is I am talking about television shows and their holiday episodes. Not the classic type that I watch all year round. That would include the I Love Lucy Christmas special. No, going into that would be too easy. I’m going to be talking about the Christmas episodes I like to watch that aren’t as popular. At least not in a long time. These episodes always make me smile when it’s the holiday season.

The O.C. – Chrismukkah

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Drinking, crying, cops. Well, it must be Christmas! – Ryan

Yes. All the Chrismukkah episodes. The O.C. came on when I was a sophomore in high school. I was their target market, and I ate the show accordingly. I was a Seth fan but over the years I slowly became more interested in Ryan.

Regardless, I love all the Chrismukkah episodes. Before The O.C. I didn’t even know that Chrismukkah even existed! Now that I am older, I have found out that the show came up with that word. From what I gather it has become part of our vernacular at least in America.

The reason why I love these episodes is that no matter how bad things are for the characters on the show something good always happened on these particular episodes. It was the show that had every storyline explode but then always put a happy spin on it in the end. Generally. I enjoy watching them and remembering a time when I had a deep discussion on why Summer and Seth should be together forever.

Good times.

Community – Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas

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Abed Nadir: If I can find the meaning of Christmas, then things will go back to normal.

Jeff Winger: …asterisk.

Six seasons and a movie! A call for a generation to come together to keep a show that only kept a few million interested. I would like to remind you that it got its six seasons. Now all we need is a movie.

We need the movie dammit!

Anyway, this episode has it all. It is Claymation, has some cute songs and emotional punch that still makes my heart melt. For a show that would rather run with a joke than character development, this episode stands out. Every character is analyzed and emotionally compromised (except for Jeff but lets’s not kid ourselves. Annie got him to come back to save Abed from Duncan). However, they all come back to save Abed from his sadness.

All the usual Community sarcasm and jokes are there, but they do not sacrifice character development for it. It is a very sweet episode of Community.  I like to revisit each year to remind myself that even the worst people know Christmas is a good time to do some good.

Even if you have never seen Community before check it out. It works on its own and maybe you can get into the Six Seasons and Movie fandom!

AND…CHRISTMAS PTERODACTYL!

30 Rock – LudaChristmas

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“The holidays without drinking is rough. Turns out football is boring, my wife’s sister is not as cute as I thought she was, and I can not play the guitar” – Tracy Jordan  

I’m a big fan of 30 Rock. I loved how its character-driven, funny and created the great comedic pair of Liz and Jack. I like to call them the new Mary and Lou. One of my favorite Christmas episodes is the one that shows different families and how they handle being around each other especially during the holidays.

Jack’s relationship with his mother is always funny to watch, but it is even funnier when you compare it to the relationship the Lemons have with each other. I guess it is to show that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Jack is taken by all the positivity and merriment the Lemons have with each other. It is just to his mother to show that even the happiest family has their pressure points. Which is so true. The Lemons are that family you see on the happy picture on the Christmas card. In reality, they are falling apart and are secretly judging each other while doing it.

I love this episode because I can relate. My family is usually stressed out to the max by the time Christmas comes around, and the general merriment we started with is gone. We are just holding on to get to Christmas. You see other families and want to be like them. I promise you. They are just as stressed out as you are.

It is a fun look at how Christmas looks like in New York City (There is nothing better than Christmas in New York City) and how none of us are immune to holiday and general family stress.

Those Christmas classics are not classics for everyone, but I love to watch them each year.  They are sometimes dark, and a very silly but so is the holiday season.

Until next time, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!

The Holiday Happy Place

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Welcome back! Welcome to December! It is the month where everyone goes nuts. Ok, let us not kid ourselves. We have been celebrating the holiday season since the final notes of the Halloween theme finished at 11:59 pm on October 31st. With every horrible news story that flashes onto the television, we cram ourselves deeper and deeper into our holiday happy place.

That is what this blog will try to be this December. A place for people to enjoy and let go of some worries for a few minutes. I was going to have a regular month of randomness, but I decided, last minute, I needed to talk about the holiday season…in my way.

Whenever I think of the holiday season (I am saying holiday because Christmas isn’t the only holiday in December) I think of warm memories of toys, activities and being able to spend time with my family taking stock of the year. I have fond memories of all the television specials and holiday movies that are not Hallmark related. I also have memories of family fights, wondering if I could afford to get nice presents for everyone and general stress that the end of the year can provide.

I am focusing on the happy memories, obviously.

So, this month will be full of all the memories that come back up this time of year. I hope as I talk about my memories some memories will come up in your minds. Maybe make you smile. Maybe make you forget about the chaos our world has been thrown into.

So, stick around for tomorrow’s entry. I start my ride down memory lane with the television episodes that I need to watch every year or else it does not feel like Christmas.

With that, the randomness has ended for today. I hope you enjoyed my little introduction and will stick around to go through some holiday memories with me.