I love Christmas. I love the tacky lights, the treacly pop songs, the way fresh cut trees smell, the glittery fake snow on the fake wreaths (Martha Stewart has a fantastic one at the orange big box store. Pre lit!), the failed attempts at homemade eggnog that more resemble rummy scrambled eggs. Special holiday cookies that are baked too early in the season to be fresh by the time I give the tin to an unsuspecting neighbor. The panic and overspending. The many dramatic versions of “O Holy Night” sung along to in the car (solo, of course) that have me convinced of my formidable operatic chops. My very temporary love of Josh Groban. All of it. It’s like one, big, beautiful disaster that I just can’t do without.
The only thing I feel like I have control over is the music. I could make a mean mix in the old iTunes (some Christmas with the Rat Pack, some Muppet Christmas, a little Motown Christmas, Burl and Bing, that one Trans-Siberian Orchestra song that everybody knows), but I’d invariably forget to hide the playlist after the holidays and then I’d get Christmas-bombed (you know, when you’re jamming to regular music and BOOM! Christmas!) in, like, June.
If you’re a responsible person who still turns on the old desktop or laptop from time to time (alas, I’ve been spoiled by my very convenient iPad) and you want to upload the music to your computer for an awesome personal Christmas library, then please make your way to the Robbins. We’ve got a great holiday collection, and this year, it has its very own shelving display across from the reference desk.
If you didn’t have time to make a mix and you have a little technology at your disposal, then your options have expanded. Most cable packages come with a variety of music stations at the very high end of your channels. A good way to find them is to go to channel one, and then toggle backwards. Usually, there’s a “Seasonal Music,” or “Holiday Hits” channel that you can throw on to keep up the Christmas spirit (because, you know, nothing makes folding the endless baskets of laundry more fun than listening to Bing Crosby and David Bowie sing a very awkward, very slow, duet together).
There are many, many options for free streaming music to accompany your holiday traditions, and seemingly endless ways to connect. Here’s one scenario:
Using Pandora: If you have a wifi-capable television, or a blu-ray player and a wireless connection, you can make your very own channels on Pandora. Give Pandora a song, artist or album that you like, and it (or your other favorite music streaming site) will try and match the sound, mood and style of whatever channel you design (70% accuracy with no repeats, which forgives the other 30%). Want a Norman Rockwell kind of sound? Make a channel around Bing Crosby. Want world music with an exotic sound? Try Loreena McKennit’s Christmas album. Like jazz? Vince Guraldi and the Charlie Brown Christmas. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you can create a bunch of holiday stations and hit shuffle.
So what’s on your holiday playlist? Personally, I need Stevie Wonder’s “One Little Christmas Tree” to make my holiday complete. What’s your must-have Christmas song? Drop it in the comment section…