The traditional sounds of Christmas music – from the frivolity of Frosty, Rudolph, and Santa to the choral renditions of Silent Night and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – make Christmas festivities spark with life. Who doesn’t have a fond memory of listening to Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Burl Ives while sitting around the tree with friends and family? “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” as Andy Williams crooned. Now, let’s sprinkle some spice into the mix.
The Christmas Donkey
Because tiny reindeer dominate the current songs played repeatedly, we’d be remiss if we left out Dominick the Donkey. Who knew that reindeer who fly around the world in a magic corn-fueled high could not climb the hills of Italy? Lou Monte tells the tale of Santa’s Paesano with “Jingle bells around his feet and presents on the sled; hey, look at the mayor’s derby on top of Dominick’s head.”
It’s cute, it’s catchy, and “jingedy-jing heehaw-heehaw” will have even the stuffiest guests chiming in for the little fellow.
Perhaps no one does Blue Christmas better than Elvis Presley, but he does have stiff competition with Porky Pig impersonator Seymour Swine and The Squealers. Seymour stutters his way through the haunting ballad of being left all alone without true love on the holiday. He then pivots to a kazoo and begins his sad dialogue for a few seconds. “Oh, b-b-b-b-baby I’ll m-miss you.” And frankly, after listening to Swine’s version, even the loneliest of singles will be grinning ear to ear – even if only for the moment.
Gotta Love a Good Jingle Bell Song
Created in Denmark in 1955 with recording engineer Carl Weismann and producer Don Charles, a 75-second recording of differently pitched dog barks tape-spliced together was included within a three-song medley. The real stars of the show were the Canine Carolers: Dolly, Pearl, Pussy, Caesar, and King.
Sure, it is yuletide kitsch, but who doesn’t need a little kitsch here and there? This writer believes it is the only Jingle Bells version worth listening to.
The Chanukah Song
Adam Sandler saw a need and then filled it with this fun song about the Jewish holiday of Chanukah: It seems there were no mainstream radio-played songs during the holiday season. “It’s for all those nice little Jewish kids who don’t get to hear any Chanukah songs,” the comedian explained. “So put on your Yarmulke.” The campy tune lists several celebrities many may not have known were Jewish, including David Lee Roth, Goldie Hawn, Henry Winkler (The Fonz), and the Three Stooges. They all “light the menorah. So do James Caan, Kirk Douglas, and the late Dinah Shore-ah.”
Pop this one into your lineup for the mingling and jingling days to come.
No One Likes Yes-Elf
We all face a point during the holidays when the tidings of joy and good cheer are met with a rumbling grumble. Hence, many pubs and taverns are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But if stuck at home in the bosom of the family, sneak this little gem in between Frank Sinatra’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and his Rat Pack buddy Dean Martin’s version of I’ll Be Home for Christmas: In Santa’s Lament, Father Guido Sarducci takes on the role of Claus and tells a tale of too many “yes elves.”
Guido Claus wants something in return for all his wearying work. “I want some clothes that are not red, I want a car, not a sled,” he humbly states. Also, he’s tired of the tiny red and green-clad lackeys available at every turn and wants to hit the beach somewhere, like most people who live in a cold, winter environment. This Santa needs some “me time.”
Grab the Nog and Sing Along
Sure, play the classics evocative of Christmas past, and grab a moment in time this year to add to those still frames that run through your mind when you hear White Christmas. But have a little spicy fun with the irreverent stylings of Dr. Demento, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and make a memory for those younger generations to cherish for a lifetime.