Sunday, December 14, 2003

My Holiday Mixtape

Your taste in music is impeccable. You’ve got a musical library that reflects the adventurousness, the depth, the openness, the risk-taking soul that is you. But when it comes to holiday music, you are a sap, yes, a dyed-in-the wool S-A-P. In spite of that esoteric mixtape CD that you burned, designed the cover art for and mailed to friends, filled with irreverent takes on holiday classics by underground bands, or downright satirical ditties from comedians--with a traditional rendition by a respected artist (or two) thrown in--nothing really rouses your Christmas spirit like Harry Connick Jr. crooning on some saccharine trifle or Mariah Carey see-sawing up and down the scale on “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Or that tingle you feel when you hear the Smurfs Christmas album you listened to as a child.

My "discerning taste" cannot save me from the Star Wars Christmas album where I am swept by C3PO teaching R2D2 to “sing” in “Sleigh Ride.” I feel a little shiver when at the end of that song, Artoo whistles out the notes to “Jingle Bells” to the triumphant Threepeo. The obsessive-compulsive in me tries to figure out alternatives to the suggested brush in “What Can You Get a Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)?” Can I get him a Flo-bee? A super-sized bottle of conditioner? A nose-hair trimmer? A Split Ender?

When I hear “Merry Christmas, Darling” by The Carpenters, I am always brought back to sitting in the backseat of the car as a child, listening to my mom singing along to Karen’s clear, poignant alto as she drives us around town during the holidays. It was the first song on the cassette, the first one we hear when she pops the tape in. It is the only song from that album that I remember because as songs segued into others, as the trips went on, I am distracted by other things: passing cars, my bratty little sister, anticipation of going to wherever we were going. This season, this song, brings my mother to mind—is she over that bout of flu? Is she feeling poorly? I can’t help but worry.

Cheese rules at Christmas (ironically, for me). So here they are, for better or worse, the songs that would be in my holiday mixtape:

1. Merry Christmas Darling – The Carpenters
2. Hey Santa! – Wendy and Carnie Wilson
3. Grown-Up Christmas List – Amy Grant
4. Santa Baby – Madonna
5. What Are You Doing New Years' Eve? – Ella Fitzgerald
6. Sleigh Ride – R2D2 and C3PO
7. Last Christmas – George Michael
8. Do They Know It’s Christmas? (Feed the World) – Band-Aid
9. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays – Nsync
10. Twelve Days Of Christmas - Bob & Doug McKenzie

What's in your mixtape?