Friday, December 18, 2015

Confessions of a Christmas Music Lover

I'm a ravenous lover of Christmas music. In September, I start getting antsy for it.

It's a delicate process. As the weather starts to cool, I'll listen to just enough to prevent the shakes, while at the same time trying to prevent a full-on binge, which will lead to burnout before Dec. 10. That happened one year. It wasn't pretty.

I love this album. I know, it's hokey. But, I hit play and it takes me back to my childhood. You know, back when Christmas was fun, and not just a bunch of work.

So, rather than a Top 5 Christmas Album list, I'm going to take you through my Christmas-music obsession progression.

September: As I noted, this is when I start feeling a tug from those old yule songs. As an adult, I realize it's too early. So, here's what I'll do. From time to time, I'll play my entire iTunes library on random, knowing full well that I have a plethora of Christmas tunes in my catalog.

Then, when one comes up, my mind acts surprised. "Oh my, this is a Christmas tune. Well, it's way too early for that sort of thing. But, we might as well listen to this one little song."

October: Essentially, I follow the same protocol as above. However, I'll try to find some Halloween songs to distract me from pursuing my Christmas muse. Even though the protocol is the same as September, this is a critical month. October is when I blew it several years ago. I started binging before Halloween. I thought I could sustain my Christmas fever through Dec. 25. I was wrong.

November: Finally! We're getting close. By Nov. 15, I've given up any pretense of trying to stave off the Christmas-music fever. But, I'll begin listening to Christmas music in a phased approach. Phase I, i.e. mid-November, is the soft stuff. So, that will include things like the Beach Boy's Christmas Album. I'll usually do some classical Christmas tunes during Phase I -- things I can hum to, but don't feel like singing.

December: I like to refer to Dec. 1-15 as Phase II. At this point, we'll start hitting some of the classics. Michael Buble just barely makes his way into this phase. It's mainly the old time greats like Sinatra, Crosby, Martin, a little Vince Guaraldi Trio...that sort of thing. The important point is I've given myself over to Christmas music binge mode.

Phase III begins somewhere around Dec. 15 and continues through Christmas Day. For these ten days, I'm bringing out the hard stuff. Phase III is full-on nostalgia mode. So, these are the Christmas songs I grew up with. Dad actually had these albums on vinyl. And we listened to them on an old turntable.

I recently hopped into Phase III. I've been listening to Kenny and Dolly's Once Upon a Christmas album exclusively for about three days. Unfortunately, I've never seen the made-for-TV movie that was released in conjunction with this album. Judging by how often we heard this album growing up, I'm sure my parents have.

Best. Christmas. Album. Ever.

Phase III will culminate with an Alabama Christmas listening session. I love that album. Again, I have mom and dad to thank for that. Happy Holidays, Tennessee Christmas, Homecoming Christmas, A Candle In the Window...they're all amazing. These tunes warm my soul. Thank you, Alabama.

Post-Dec. 25: There is exactly one song I will listen to that's "holiday-related" after Christmas Day. That song is Same Auld Lang Syne by Dan Folgeberg. The song's sadness speaks to me. My "missed opportunity" is the fact that perhaps I missed out on squeezing in one more Christmas song during my binge. And, I'll have to wait until next year.

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