(Written by Martha S.)
In our most recent episode, I told you all that my family is pretty dedicated to about half a dozen Christmas albums that we have been listening to on repeat for the last 30 years. I gave you one name – A Very Special Christmas, circa 1987 – and now I’m going to tell you the others, because they’re great albums and we’ve finally arrived at the ~socially acceptable~ time of year to be listening to Christmas music.
I’m gonna list these in alphabetical order, because I’m too close emotionally to try and rank them by favorite. I’m ALSO going to include links to my favorite tracks where applicable, for no other reason but that I feel like it.
The Bells of Dublin, The Chieftains (1991)
“A Breton Carol,” ft. Nolwen Monjarret
A Celtic Christmas, Windham Hill (1995)
“Soillse Na Nollag (The Lights Of Christmas),” ft. Altan
Christmas Extraordinaire, Mannheim Steamroller (2001)
“Do You Hear What I Hear”
A Christmas to Remember, Amy Grant (2007)
The title song, duh
Traditional Christmas Classics, various (1989)
“Sleigh Ride,” by Leroy Anderson
A Very Special Christmas, various (1987)
“Do You Hear What I Hear,” Whitney Houston
“Gabriel’s Message,” Sting
A Winter’s Solistice, various (1992) (I think)
“A Wexford Carol”
An honorable mention must also be given to A Very Veggie Christmas from Veggie Tales (1996), which I was inexplicably obsessed with for several years (their versions of “Angels We Have Heard On High” and “He Is Born The Holy Child” were my favorite for a very long time).
Hello and welcome to our holiday break episode! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we’re all super busy making pies or eating turkey or watching football, so we have a nice light episode for you. No homework required!
We still have credentials for you, because continuing education is a very important part of being a pop culture podcaster:
Pete: American Ulysses by Ronald C. White, specifically the audiobook format
Martha: Pokemon Ultra Moon, Nintendo DS game
We’re all about nostalgia on this episode, from Martha returning to her favorite video game franchise down through all the specifically Christmas holiday specials we kind of said we wouldn’t be talking about. We touch on some family traditions, like Pete’s family seeing a movie on Boxing Day to Martha’s family listening to the same six Christmas albums every year, pretty much on repeat. The point is: our pop culture traditions are as much a part of our holiday experience as trimming the tree or opening presents.
Here’s the full list of the specific media we discuss (general traditions not included):
Remember the Titans, 2000 film directed Boaz Yakin and starring Denzel Washington
The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 film directed by Henry Selick and starring Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara and Danny Elfman
A Very Murray Christmas, 2015 Netflix special starring Bill Murray (and others!)
A Very Special Christmas, 1987 compilation album (full track and artist listings here)
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965 film directed by Bill Melendez, written by Charles Schultz, and scored by Vince Guaraldi
The Twilight Zone, 1959 television show created by Rod Serling
The West Wing, episodes 2.8 (“Shibboleth”) and 3.8 (“The Indians in the Lobby”)
Elf, 2003 film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Will Ferrell
The holiday musical stylings of Sufjan Stevens
The Dark Knight, 2008 film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale
What are your go-to holiday favorites?