We don’t have many rules in the SAHD household because, well, you know – kids. We try, but as the authoritarian gene was stripped out of us (as is the case with, I suspect, most post-1970s parents) the second we beheld our Dear Children, there’s not much point.
Among the few remaining strictures is this seasonal one: no Christmas music before December 1st. The shops and public places of our country may have been blasting out Slade, Shakin’ Stevens and other old, er, favourites for weeks but not a Festive note is heard within our walls until the Advent countdown begins.
The DCs don’t waste much time once it kicks off though. As December 1st was a Saturday this year I was hoping for a slow and peaceful entry into the Season of Goodwill. And in a way I got my wish. It may have been before 8am but I suppose there are more violent ways of greeting the new day than hearing the great Tee Jules recount the Cajun 12 Days of Christmas (find it on Youtube. It’s a doozy, as they probably don’t say in the swamps of Louisiana).
If I thought the mood was going to stay mellow I was mistaken. Creole crooning was swiftly followed by Bob Dylan’s seasonal polka version of ‘Must Be Santa’, which is not anyone’s idea of music to snooze by.
Rude awakening banished, though, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the return of the Christmas Song. If you can devote 11 months to the rest of the musical canon, three or four weeks isn’t a long time to let a little Festive fun into the soundtrack of your life.
Of course, you have to be selective. Too much John and Yoko, Wham! Or (dare I suggest) even Band Aid can turn you into the most misanthropic of Scrooges. The trick is to leave the blockbusting ‘Christmas Best Ofs’ in the CD drawer (or if you’re extremely hip, locked away on your phone) and seek out something a little different.
In recent times we’ve tried to find a new Christmas collection every year. Takes a bit of work beforehand, but it does mean we can flip from James Taylor (heart-achingly lovely voice) to Christmas funk and rare groove (mixed quality, but fun) and Spanish kids’ Christmas songs (surprisingly catchy) to Noel Jazz, a riot of mid-century seasonal bop (top buy, ages ago, in a furniture and lifestyle store somewhere on the Continent).
I’ve always thought the energy and inventiveness that went into all those classic Christmas pop hits was something to admire and it’s a great pity the music industry doesn’t still come up with seasonal presents for us like it used to.
Still, the internet means you’re never more than a few clicks away from finding another cool Yule tune. Happy hunting – and listen out for those Five Poules Douces…
Some personal Christmas faves
Santa’s Got A Bag Of Soul – Soul Saints Orchestra
Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan
Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues and Kirsty McColl
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
What Will Santa Claus Say – Louis Prima
River – James Taylor
The Christmas Waltz – Frank Sinatra
Who Comes This Night – James Taylor
Fantasy On Christmas Carols – St Paul’s Cathedral Choir / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Ring Out Solstice Bells – Jethro Tull
Christmas Island – Bob Dylan
Merry Christmas Baby – Charles Brown
Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
7 O’Clock News / Silent Night – Simon And Garfunkel
If you’ve got some Festive favourites, let us know – we’ll all be sick of this lot come December 25th.
Stay At Home Dad