25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 17

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

A Christmas tree by a decorated mantel and a roaring fire…….does it get more cozy than that???

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Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

Today’s song has been a favorite of mine since the first time I watched “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  Who would not love a festive holiday tune sung by a cuddly adorable and very dapper snowman???

I always loved the line “say hello to friends you know” best.  It was just so cordial and lighthearted.  However, since the fall of 1997, whenever I hear that line, especially the word “hello”, I cannot help but get hysterical with laughter.  That is because all I can think of is how Jerry, George, Kramer & Elaine greeted each other with that word in a “funny booming jovial” hilariously boisterous voice supposedly belonging to Jerry’s girlfriend Clare’s stomach (using the belly button as a mouth, of course)  in the Seinfeld episode, “The Voice“.  If you are a fellow Seinfeld fan, you have just done the proverbial laugh out loud remembering that episode.  If you are one of the three people who was not a fan of the show, here’s a clip to bring you up to speed.  Only Jerry & Company could take a word like “hello” and turn it into a pop culture moment.

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Seinfeld’s “Helllloooo” 
Burl Ives, both circa 1964 (original sources unknown).

Burl Ives:  “Holly Jolly Christmas” (1964, written by Johnny Marks in 1962).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 3

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Here’s another classic 1950’s Christmas card image I found on Pinterest.  So charming & festive!!!

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Found on Pinterest by way of  Zazzle.ca (original source unknown).

Today’s song is by an American band formed in 1967 that went on to become one of the best selling groups of all time.  Known for their ballads, their rock songs and everything in between, their music is a combination of jazz, R&B, pop and classical.  All this and a horn section, too.  What more could a band need?  Oh, right, great songwriters and incredibly talented vocalists.  Check and check.

They released a Christmas album in 1998 (produced by E Street Band member Roy Bittan) which was reissued in 2003 with six extra songs including this classic.  For some people, there will never be a better version than Gene Autry’s or the one from the TV special as sung by Burl Ives,.  But I think today’s pick is a really good one.  Let’s call it the grown-up version of a childhood favorite.

Chicago

Chicago:  “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” (2003, written by Johnny Marks in 1939).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 21

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

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I will admit it:  I was never enjoyed watching “Frosty The Snowman”.  Quite frankly, the Scarecrow who needed a brain in “The Wizard Of Oz” had more sense to me than Frosty.  I never understood the whole “Happy Birthday” exclamation every time he came to life.  I guess I was spoiled.  The first snowman I saw on television was the wise, articulate and adorably handsome Sam from “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”.  He was so dapper with his hat, pocket watch, vest & umbrella.  He was like the animated version of another sage soul, Mr. French from “Family Affair”.

I also liked the song Sam sang much better over the one about Frosty.  Actually Sam sang three in the special:  the title song, Silver & Gold and today’s pick, which is my favorite.  In fact, it is in my top five list of Christmas songs and it is this song that I need to hear for it to officially feel like the holiday season to me.  Written by Johnny Marks in 1962 & made famous by the very cuddly Burl Ives in 1964, it is such an incredibly festive and happy song full of good wishes to everyone who hears it.  And I just love it.

Sam the Snowman

Burl Ives:  “Holly Jolly Christmas” (1964).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 23

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

christmas-2

(Original source unknown)

The original version of today’s song hit #1 on the charts in 1949, but the TV special based on the song was not released until 1964.  It has been recorded over a dozen times and three of them are on my list of favorites.  Both the song & the special are holiday staples for anyone who grew up with the tradition of watching it every year.

rudolph

(Original source unknown)

Gene Autry:  “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”  (1949)

Ella Fitzgerald:  “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1960)

Burl Ives:  “Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” (1964)

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

 

 

 

 

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 15

Hello. Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

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Today’s post is basically a contradiction of every opinion I have given on Christmas music thus far.  That is because I feel that today’s song only has, or should only have, one singer.  This song is not covered nearly as much as other Christmas songs, and it does seem to have a wider appeal to country singers.  I do like Faith Hill’s version , but I still love the original the best.

Actually, I cannot even refer to it as the original version because the man who sang my favorite take on it was the second one to record it in 1964, but he was the one who made the song famous.  And millions of people have heard him sing it in “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” over the last 53 years.  Ironically, his character was not supposed to sing this song-it was originally going to be sung by Yukon Cornelius.  Given his character’s somewhat abrasive voice, I am glad the powers that be changed their minds and let Sam the Snowman sing it instead.  Otherwise, we would not have this man’s version for posterity.

burl ives 2

(Original source unknown.)

Burl Ives:  “A Holly Jolly Christmas

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

Christmas Decorations & Countdown Song #23

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Today’s post will also feature some of my decorations.  I hope you enjoy them!!!

After I put the ornaments on the tree, I light it up to see how it looks before I add whatever topper I am going to use. It’s like my seal of approval that the tree is ready.  This was the first picture I took to check it and I was so happy with how pretty it turned out.   I love real trees, especially the chubby ones!!!

 

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Here’s a look at it during the day,  I usually do not do themes for Christmas.  I prefer to focus on the colors of the season that I enjoy the most, like green, silver, white or natural hues like from the raffia bow.

 

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I absolutely A-D-O-R-E adding some greenery to an Ironstone pitcher.  The color of the pine needles just pop in the neutral container.  It also adds some wonderful fragrance to whatever room I put it in.  This is one of my bed side tables so I can inhale the heavenly scent all night long!!!  And I love the contrast of the rich white pitcher and the rusty goodness of the cabinet.  I found it exactly like this and could not resist the wonderful patina.   Swoon!!!

 

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I used this child’s Windsor chair-my very first purchase from my very first Brimfield trip in 2005-to give a few cherished items a place of honor.  Many, many years ago I went to my first day-after-Christmas sale.  I lived near a Fortunoff’s store and they had an entire second building next to the main store dedicated to Christmas for the last three months of the year.

Since it was 100 years ago, that was unheard of…..and a sight to be seen.  When I went for my yearly decoration search, the clerk at the register mentioned the big sale the day after Christmas.  I do not know why I had the day off-perhaps Christmas fell on a weekend like this year.  Anyway, I knew that meant I was going to the sale.  I spent Christmas day with my grandmother and my aunt, and we all decided to go together.

 

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The snowman was the first thing I saw at the sale that I wanted, and luckily there were a number of them so I had no problem snagging mine.  We looked at decorations for hours, just taking in all the exceptional items the store carried while making our way through the hordes of other shoppers doing the same thing.  Then my grandmother spotted the Holy Family figurine (mixed in with other religious statues) and she became a woman obsessed.  She got right in the middle of the huddle and was tossing boxes side to side trying to find the one she wanted.  My aunt and I started helping her, and finally my grandmother found it-at the same time my aunt found one for herself.  Success all around.

After our shopping trip, we decided to have lunch at a nearby diner.  As we were sipping our hot beverages of choice, my grandmother pulled the figurine out of the box to give it a closer look….or so I thought.  She placed it on the table between our plates, then reached for the box and placed it in front of me on the table.  Then she slid the figurine over to me.

“You take it home,” she said.

I told her no, that she wanted it and worked so hard to get it, that she should treasure it.

But she shook her head no.

“I have a nativity set.  I bought this for you,” she said.  “You need to at least have the Holy Family in your house for Christmas.”

She was like Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” reminding me what Christmas was all about.

 

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My grandmother raised me.  She cooked and cleaned for me, took care of me when I was sick, listened to Bruce Springsteen with me and taught me how to cook.  She shared my joys and my heartaches with me.  She also made me nuts and gave me gray hair.  But I know she loved me without question.  When I think of her pushing through that crowd and digging through those boxes for me, I remember how she fought to give me back my faith when I was struggling with it.  And it was not through her well honed tactics like guilt, lecturing, yelling or fighting.  It was important enough for her to to show me by making a gesture.  A quiet, enormously grand and loving gesture.  And one of my most cherished Christmas memories ever.

Hence, the place of honor 🙂

 

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Today’s song is from “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”.  It is one of two songs sung by Sam the Snowman, who narrates the story.  I know he was not real, but to me he seemed so much more “alive” than Frosty.  Sam was wise, kind and very smart.  Frosty just melted.

I love both songs Sam sings, but this one I love just a bit more.

Burl Ives:  Holly Jolly Christmas.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

Christmas Song Countdown #12

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Fifty two years ago this holiday classic had its first broadcast.  I do not think there are too many people who were born after that who did not grow up singing this song.

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Vintage Christmas postcard (original source unknown)

 

One of my most vivid memories of watching the TV special is not from childhood, however.  It is from my freshman year away at college.  My friends and I were teased incessantly from the guys on our floor when we told them we we were not going to hang out with them so we could watch this Christmas show.  But two minutes after it started, all the boys joined us in the common room where the TV was.  Of course it was to make inappropriate comments about what Clarice really wanted from Rudolph, but hey, at least the guys were there!!!

rudolph

Courtesy of Bass/Rankin Productions

 

For anyone who has ever felt like a misfit, this one is for you.

Gene Autry:  Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

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Courtesy of Bass/Rankin Productions

 

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

Christmas Song Of The Day #8

Hello, Vixens!!!  How are all of today?  Hope you are all on (or as close to) schedule for Christmas as possible.  But even if you are not, take a moment for some Christmas cheer through song!

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Source:  “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” TV movie 1964

Confession:  I watch Christmas specials and movies all year long.  I have my most loved ones on DVD because I enjoy watching them whenever I want.  In fact, in the height of summer, when I have had my fill of humidity and mosquito bites, I escape it all by turning the A/C as low as possible and climb under the covers with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a holiday movie.  Don’t judge-I bet the person who came up with Christmas in July or Hallmark movies in October does the same thing lol!!!  So why didn’t I come up with those splendid ideas???  Ugh!!!

One of my favorite holiday specials features an adorable-singing-banjo-playing-snowman.  It also features I place I can whole-heartedly identify with-the Island of Misfit Toys.  Oh, and a red-nosed reindeer, some elves and Santa Claus.  But the moment I wait for the most?  When the snowman, with the voice of Burl Ives, sings “Holly Jolly Christmas“.

You do have to watch the whole special as that song does not make its appearance until the end.  But the show is great so the time flies by.  Plus there are other songs to enjoy along the way, especially Ives’ other singing performance of “Silver and Gold“.   I love the message:  “What’s a Christmas tree without tinsel and pretty silver and gold decorations?”  and “Think of all the fun and joy that would be lost on Christmas morning if all the young folks didn’t get to see that sparkling happy tree?”  Exactly.  Although I must admit I prefer only silver on my tree, but hey, to each his own, right?  🙂

Please remember I do not own the rights to anything, I am just sharing some of my favorite Christmas music with you.

Enjoy!!!

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Source:  culture.com

Christmas Songs Of The Day #4

Hello, Vixens!!!  How are all of you doing?  Can you believe we are less than two weeks away from the big day?  It certainly is going by fast.  So before we blink and have it pass us all by, let’s take a moment to celebrate some more amazing sounds of the season.

It is no secret that I am a H-U-G-E fan of Bruce Springsteen.  He just announced several tour dates for next year which will come to my area just in time for my birthday.  So, it is fair to say Christmas came early for me!!!  But this season is never complete for me until I hear his versions of two Christmas classics.

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        Source:  Backstreets.com

The first is a throw back to the innocence of childhood and its cautionary message “to be good for goodness sake”.  The original version comes from one of the three  Christmas specials I MUST watch every single year:  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (see that here), “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” and this one.  It features a beautiful wedding scene under “the first Christmas Trees” and is probably what made me fall in love with the beauty of this season before I knew how truly special it also was.  And as soon as you hear the music, you cannot help but sing along to “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.

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Source:  Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 1970

Springsteen’s version is just as infectious and features some funky saxophone playing by another Big Man, Clarence Clemmons (miss you, Clarence!!!)

The Boss’ other holiday gem is just as special.  “Merry Christmas, Baby”  is a rocking, bluesy, jazzy and romantic way to celebrate the season with that special someone.  It is also perfect for singing along to while you are alone in your car, or while decorating the tree with some of your closest friends or sharing a holiday meal with family.  For me, it’s all those things and another reminder of why I love Bruce!!!

Enjoy!!!

 

My Top 20 Christmas Songs

Music is such a special part of my life, and Christmas songs are no different.  There have been so many great versions of almost every song, it was hard to narrow it down to just 20.  But with 10 days to go before the big day, I thought I would share my list with all of you.

Each song includes a link to a YouTube video.  I do not own the rights to anything, nor am I associated with any of the channels/videos that I chose.  I just picked ones that showcased either the artists and/or the song enough to give you the best feel for the tune (in my humble opinion).

All opinions are my own.

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?  Tell me in the comments below.

Enjoy!!!

1)  Merry Christmas Baby by Bruce Springsteen ( written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore).

It’s Bruce.  To say this is perfect would only be redundant.

2)  Christmas Time is Here by the Peanuts ( written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi).

The Peanuts were my best friends when I was a kid, and today they are just as special to me.  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the main reason why.  If all I did for the holiday season was watch this special, my Christmas would still be perfect.

3)  White Christmas by Otis Redding (written by Irving Berlin).

Yes, I know all about the popularity of Bing Crosby’s version.  However, in my humble opinion, Redding brings such a stunning soulful element to his version of this song I really cannot listen to any other one. And if it was good enough for the “Love Actually” soundtrack, it is good enough for me.

4)  Winter Wonderland by Ray Charles (written by Felix Bernard).

Charles’ take on this is as unique and gorgeous as his version of “America The Beautiful”.  Truly a holiday gem.

5)  Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives (written by Johnny Marks).

Who does not want a singing snowman???  Burl Ives is one of the reasons why I still tune in to watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” even now.

6)  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love (written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry).

Love has performed this song on Letterman’s show since 1993.  You have to watch both the studio version and the live version to truly appreciate this song and Love’s voice.

http://youtu.be/4EvZOXEoJ84 (studio version)

http://youtu.be/m7M6wRPuD2w (2013 Letterman performance)

7)  Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (written by Charles Wesley).

Between the Peanuts characters singing it at the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and it being the song that celebrated George Bailey’s worth in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, it is impossible for me to hear any version of this song and not get verklempt.  A multitude of singers have covered this song but Martina McBride, Neil Diamond & Frank Sinatra’s versions are among my favorites.

8)  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland (written by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane).

Tony Bennett called Garland the greatest singer he ever heard.  I am in no position to argue with a man of his talent and taste.

9)  Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley (written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson).

It’s ELVIS!!!

10)  O Come All Ye Faithful by Nat King Cole (written by John Francis Wade).

Most people associate him with the most famous version of “The Christmas Song”, but it is this Christmas classic that I love the most of Cole’s holiday recordings.

11)  The Christmas Song by Tony Bennett (written by Mel Torme & Robert Wells).

Tony Bennett is a legend.  If you do not have any of his music in your collection, you are doing yourself a disservice.

12)  It’s a Marshmallow World by Dean Martin (written in 1949 by Carl Sigman and Peter DeRose).

I think Frank Sinatra would even agree that Martin was probably the coolest member of the Rat Pack.

13)  Celebrate Me Home by Kenny Loggins (written by Bob James and Kenny Loggins).

Not a cover of a Christmas classic, but a song of Loggins’ very own is now a holiday staple.

14)  What Christmas Means To Me by Stevie Wonder (written by Anna Gordy Gaye (yes, Marvin Gaye’s first wife) & George Gordy).

Another original Christmas tune that has become a staple of the holiday.  And who can forget Will Ferrell’s “Elf” jumping on the mattresses with his little brother while this song was playing?

15)  Silver Bells by Rosemary Clooney & Bing Crosby (written by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans).

Before her nephew George was probably even born, Rosemary Clooney was Hollywood’s “it” girl.  Anything she sang was perfection and pairing her voice with Bing Crosby’s turned a song into a spectacular event.

16)  Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon (written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono).

From the man who told us “love is the answer”, peace was the gift he wanted for the world, and not just at Christmas.

17)  The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams (written by Eddie Pola and George Wyle).

I’ll admit this song now reminds me of back to school shopping thanks to a fabulous campaign several years ago by Staples, but it is a holiday classic nonetheless.

18)  The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth by Bing Crosby & David Bowie (Drummer Boy written by Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati & Katherine Kennicott Davis, and the Peace on Earth music & lyrics written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman and Alan Kohan expressly for the recording by Crosby and Bowie).

In theory this was an odd pairing, but in principle their voices worked so well together it is hard to imagine this season without this song.  But I still wonder what would have happened if Bowie had shown up at Crosby’s house dressed as Ziggy Stardust???  (LOL)

19) O Holy Night by Eric Cartman (written by Adolphe-Charles Adam).

South Park is one of my all time favorite shows, and this clip illustrates just one of the reasons why.  Any reverence I had for this song is gone thanks to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but I would not have it any other way!!!

20)  Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy (written by Randy Brooks).

This brings back memories of me and my cousins signing this song to my grandmother, who I miss everyday, not just at Christmas.  But this makes me feel a little closer to her.