Christmas music

by Honolulu Mother

It’s time for our somewhat-annual discussion of Christmas music! What are your newest favorites? What are your classics? And what are your never-play-that-agains?

I will remind you of the existence of All I Want for Christmas is a Goat. That’s very distinctive, and pretty low on my list of Christmas favorites.

I have many that are high on my list of favorites, but for this year I’ll pick Christmas Island by Leon Redbone, and Holiday Songs and Lullabies by Shawn Colvin.

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163 thoughts on “Christmas music

  1. Voces8, Seraphic Fire and The Sixteen.
    L might know them. They are popular with choral music geeks.
    Also Cantus is a terrific men’s group with no countertenors, so all of their pieces are scored for lower voices.

  2. Straight No Chaser’s version of 12 Days of Christmas is a family fave. And now the goat album will be, as both the young ladies have been angling for a pet goat for at least a year. Thanks for that one, HM! Just texted them both the YouTube link.

  3. Brian Setzer Orchestra! One day I will go to their live show, but the tour is always way out in the boonies on a school night.

    There are also some great, fun tracks on the Jackson 5 Christmas album (love their version of Up on the Rooftop). I also like the Ventures surf-rock instrumental version of classic Christmas carols.

    Johnny Cash’s version of Silent Night.

    I will admit to liking “Last Christmas” quite a bit. It’s catchy as hell, and what are the holidays without some cheese.

    And DH would say Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis (Tom Waits), which he made me put on our Christmas playlist.

    The worst Christmas song is that horrible Christmas Shoes song that pops up on the Holiday channel of SiriusXM every so often. Also – Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

  4. Jim Reeves followed by Nat King Cole for me.
    Have to attend two band concerts and usually end up sitting through one rehearsal so lots of Christmas music in the next week.

  5. My number one favorite is Bing Crosby’s I’ll be home for Christmas. Guaranteed to tear up. I also prefer his version of Mele Kalikimaka to Jimmy Buffet’s version.

    Two songs I can do without are the Little Drummer Boy and the 12 days of Christmas.

  6. Pentatonix makes me wish I had been born without ears. No words for how much I dislike them. Sorry Birdie!

    I prefer classic songs sung in the classic fashion. Do not try to make Jingle Bells cool and I will not “Rock around the Christmas Tree”.

    Love the Pogues Christmas in New York .

    Also love Last Christmas and Do They Know It’s Christmas (mostly out of nostalgia for the people and the big celebrity fundraiser song) and I like the Christmas Shoes because it is so sappy. I listen to it and then ask my children “Would YOU buy shoes for me to meet Jesus?” and they say “But you don’t believe in Jesus!” and I say “That’s not the point!” and storm off!

    @Ivy – I heard a Yabba Dabba Yule from Brian Setzer the other day and it was awful. It made me wonder 1) Who greenlit this? 2) What did they say no to? I’m not a Setzer fan but any marriage between Christmas and Fred Flintsone is about the wrongest thing one could do.

    Public school had the “Holiday” concert last week. We are so diverse that it was mostly songs about snow – so like a concert for the National Weather Service. Which was fine but just call it the second semester concert then.

  7. I will always love Bob and Doug McKenzie’s 12 Days of Christmas, though. “And a beer in a tree”.

  8. Cranky Andrew Fergusson of the Weekly Standard spoke for me two years ago when he perfectly encapsulated why so much of the modern pop music (Mariah, Christina) is complete garbage.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/jingle-hell/article/2000170

    A big part of the reason why modern versions are crap is because the base model is so good, but they feel like they have to jack it up.

    Stick with doing the basics, and doing them exceptionally well. And for that, we have Josh Turner and the recruited help of his parents and sister:

  9. Scarlett – those groups are great. I know some of the people who sing with Seraphic Fire – they also sing with other pro groups here. You might also like Polyphony, Tenebrae, and Stile Antico (all British).

    HM – my kids LOVE the goat carols. I can only take about 3 at a time before I have to stop since I’m laughing too much!

  10. @Moxie – LOL at the Christmas Shoes scene. I do not dispute your take on Flinstones + Christmas, but I have no qualms about loving the Brian Setzer Orchestra versions of the classics or their Grinch song. The Nutcracker Suite is one of my very favorites.

  11. “How do you all feel about Love Actually? This is a very divisive topic.”

    I remember watching it when it was relatively new and thinking it was fine. Nothing more. I have never re-watched it. At the time, I thought that the storyline with the guy who is now on The Walking Dead was weird and stalkerish though. (I know that is a big topic of this debate.)

  12. Scarlett – also, New York Polyphony (my friend used to sing with them – 4 guys) and Commotio (British) – the latter did a great Bob Chilcott CD a couple of years back. I can’t listen to the whole thing – kind of like John Rutter – but in small doses it is really great.

  13. I think Mooshi and HM mentioned the Appalachian Christmas album a while back, and I have that one – neat for a change of pace and everyone loves it, except for my mom. ;)

  14. I love Bowie/Crosby Little Drummer Boy!

    And TSO “Christmas Eve and other Stories” is already playing in the car. I have Buffett’s “‘Tis the SeaSon” going at work.

    I’m trying out Joel Kopischke “I Got Yule Babe” now… my FIL loves Christmas parodies and gave DH this CD.

  15. Milo, from that article: If Weird Al Yankovic suddenly converted and took responsibility for writing all our new Christmas songs, he could do no worse than “Be Claus I Got High,” “I Want a Boob Job for Christmas,” or “Daddy Please (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas).”

    Everyone thinks Al is Jewish. He’s from a Catholic family and identifies as Christian. Also, he’s written quite a few “comic” Christmas songs (“comic” in quotes because I don’t like them, though I love Al generally).

    Yes I am a fanatical Weird Al fan and yes I paid over $500 so DH and I could get VIP tickets to his upcoming “Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour” in Denver, where he and the guys are going to sit on stools playing acoustic instruments and sing his original songs. Yes I also have tickets to the Redding concert with my friend from Chico. Yes I would love to follow him all over the country because I missed out on the Grateful Dead. Yes I’ve seen him in concert dozens of times.

  16. L, thanks for those suggestions.
    ITA on John Rutter. The Cambridge Singers are terrific, but some of his arrangements with accompaniment are too ornate. A little goes a long way. The a cappella pieces are much better.
    One reason that playlists are good. With random shuffle they can be spread out with Georgian chant.

  17. Every year I begin listening to Christmas music earlier and earlier.  It is not appreciated by the people around me.

    My H and I are polar opposites in our taste of music, and Christmas songs are no exception.  He likes symphonic metal, and one of his favorite (classically trained) singers just came out with Gothic Christmas album that includes a cover of Feliz Navidad.  No, please no.  I love this song, including Jose Feliciano’s original version, as well as cha cha, salsa, disco, polka, and other versions.  Maybe this one will grow on me. She does have an amazing voice.

  18. I like to listen to the music from the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

    I had an extra thirty minutes in Grand Central today. I love NY during the holidays because I saw some very pretty decorations during that 1/2 hour.

  19. RMS, I assume you are a UHF fan also?

    Scarlett, Rutter often writes like he is a teenage girl skipping through a field of flowers surrounded by rainbows and unicorns. ;)

  20. We are huge Weird Al fans. My kids went with DH to see his show a couple of years ago. I see he is playing in the area in the spring so perhaps we will go again.

  21. RMS, I assume you are a UHF fan also?RMS, I assume you are a UHF fan also?

    Well…not so much. I thought it fell flat. I don’t think Al should have let Jay Levey direct.

    Mooshi, be aware that the upcoming concert series is radically different from his previous concerts. No videos, costume changes, big production numbers, etc.

  22. Just to make sure everyone is up to date on their stories : both The Grand Tour (aka Top Gear) and The Crown return tomorrow on Amazon and Netflix respectively.

  23. Just to make sure everyone is up to date on their stories : both The Grand Tour (aka Top Gear) and The Crown return tomorrow on Amazon and Netflix respectively.

    Thanks so much, not I will never get the Christmas decorations up :0

  24. Rhett, thanks for the Jimmy Buffet link, but we have home-grown musicians to play Xmas music! I have holiday albums from the Cazimero brothers, Amy Hanaialii Gilliom, Kuana Torres Kahele, Hapa, Makaha Sons, Na Leo Pilimehana, and probably some others I’ve forgotten.

  25. “We are huge Weird Al fans.”

    I remember him being very popular in SV. I think his humor appeals to techie types (consistent with MM family being fans). It also seemed that a lot of engineers knew someone who knew someone who went to school with him at SLO.

  26. “I like to listen to the music from the Charlie Brown Christmas special.”

    Absolutely. My favorite:

  27. “I love NY during the holidays because I saw some very pretty decorations during that 1/2 hour.”

    Lauren, have you (or any other NYers) been to see the Dyker Heights lights? I’m hankering to go. Kerri, it’s in your borough so maybe you’ve gone.

  28. Finn, thanks for the album suggestion — I didn’t have that one and it’s in Amazon Music Unlimited, so I’ve added it.

    Those of you who are Weird Al fans, have you tried The Bobs’ holiday album? It has classics like Christmas in Jail and this one:

  29. Keali’i Reichel’s holiday album Maluhia is a good one too — I forgot that one.

  30. I also forgot the Sons of Hawaii one and Willie K’s one, Willie Kalikimaka. I should make a Hawaiian Christmas playlist while I have this list in my head!

  31. July, no. I haven’t been to Dyker Heights because I don’t want to deal with the crowds.

  32. Milo, I enjoyed that Josh Turner video, but was surprised that they needed to refer to the music.

    I like the Three Dog Night version:

  33. RMS, I would never have guessed that about you. I feel like you drew back the curtains on your soul a bit.

    I also like that Christmas Cannon song that is words to Pachebel’s Cannon and I second whoever said they liked the Bowie Little Drummer Boy – that is the ONLY permissible version of that song. If I were President, I would make that a law.

  34. “Pachebel’s Cannon”

    Perhaps Rhett can wear a tux while firing Pachelbel’s Cannon in a performance of Overture 1812.

    As I’ve mentioned before, literal readings put thoughts and images into my mind, which I often find amusing (and/or distracting). Cannon is a weapon; canon is a musical term, or a company that makes cameras, or a religious term.

  35. Perhaps Rhett can wear a tux while firing Pachelbel’s Cannon in a performance of Overture 1812.

    When Rhett decides he’s ready to fulfill his dream of attending a black tie event he can go to whichever is most appealing to him of the many charity balls Boston no doubt offers.

  36. Unfortunately, the place to buy tuxes recommended by Mémé closed, just before DS had a chance to check it out.

  37. he can go to whichever is most appealing to him of the many charity balls Boston no doubt offers.

    True but I need one that ends really late so I can walk home with my bow tie undone like they do in the movies.

  38. Rhett, I meant to follow up on your comment the other day. Have you really never had to wear a tux to an event? DH hasn’t worn one in years, but we went through a 10 year period where he had to wear one with sufficient frequency that he bought one. Weddings, fund raisers, other events. There are at least 2 events/year that we are invited to now that are black tie (fundraisers) but we’ve never gone because it requires me staying out past 9:30pm.

  39. Have you really never had to wear a tux to an event?

    I’ve also never worn a Halloween costume as an adult.

  40. And by weddings, I mean weddings where the guests wear tuxes, not just the attendants.

    In fact I used to joke that if I died and he wore a suit to a wedding after 7pm, I would haunt him the rest of this days. I’m actually not sure that’s such a rule anymore. No rules seem to apply anymore.

  41. I’ve also never worn a Halloween costume as an adult.

    Well yes, but that’s a desirable outcome.

  42. walk home with my bow tie undone like they do in the movies

    The guys liked to do that after college dances too as I recall.

  43. Josh Groban and Charlie Brown Christmas are my favorite Christmas albums. Many years ago Target released a Christmas album with various artists and that is also in the rotation when I want to mix it up.

  44. Rhett, what did you wear to your own wedding?

    For a lot of guys I know, tux wearing occasions don’t extend beyond weddings and proms.

    OTOH, guys who play in orchestra and/or wind ensemble typically wear tuxes so often they have their own.

  45. @Finn, that’s funny!
    Rhett – walk home with my bow tie undone like they do in the movies – that sounds like a good bucket list item!

    Is Fred here today? Hope you are feeling ok and the pain hasn’t snuck in!

    @Lark, yeah there are no rules. I mean I believe one can wear white after Memorial Day now! When that happened, we should have known that armageddon would soon follow.

  46. “Charlie Brown Christmas”

    I’m listening to that as I type this.

    YouTube cued (or is it queued?) up the Nutcracker next.

  47. Here you go, Rhett:

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bostons-most-exclusive-new-years-eve-party-2018-10th-annual-timeless-gala-tickets-32345527343?aff=es2

    It’s Bond themed and the description of the charitable cause has the words “impactful” and “tech entrepreneurs” in close proximity:

    A portion of the event profit will benefit one of Boston’s most impactful non profits benefiting the wellbeing of underserved local tech entreprenuers.

    I won’t find a more Rhett-appropriate event no matter how long I search.

  48. I don’t think I posted on the Secret Santa day so you can consider that my Secret Santa gift!

  49. By the way, yesterday I learned that Ian Fleming’s original vision of Bond had him looking like Hoagy Carmichael. He was at first very resistant to the casting of Sean Connery but eventually came around.

  50. honolulu – that party makes me want to barf! How can it be ‘exclusive’ if anyone can buy a ticket and hosted by pageant girls? I would like to go watch those kids “bask in the attention” or whatever they said. I swear you could set up a step and repeat in a parking lot with an iPhone 7 and people would clamor to be a part of it!

  51. Rhett, what did you wear to your own wedding?

    A suit. And now that I think of it I’ve only ever been to daytime weddings. How does the timing work for a wedding where you wear a tuxedo? Do they have the ceremony during the day and then the reception many hours later?

  52. “How does the timing work for a wedding where you wear a tuxedo? Do they have the ceremony during the day and then the reception many hours later?”

    Around here, that’s not uncommon. Wedding might start anywhere from noon to 4pm, reception at 6. Weddings are often in churches or temples, with the receptions at hotel ballrooms.

    A lot of families will leave young kids home with a sitter for the ceremony, then attend the reception with the entire families.

  53. 13-year-old DS is so excited that tomorrow is a half day of school in our district (professional development time for teachers), since that means he can be home watching the Grand Tour by 11:00 a.m.

    I love a rich alto voice, so I never get tired of my Christmas music by Anne Murray and Mary Chapin Carpenter. My latest Christmas download (just earlier today, actually), though, was a version of Silent Night by Brad Paisley. I heard it the other day on a Pandora station and thought it was really lovely.

    Personally, I hate that carol that uses the Pachelbel Canon. The Canon is perfection as-is, and should not be messed with, IMO.

    This year, for the first time in over 30 years, I am singing in a choir. We are doing a big Christmas concert a week from this Sunday. It’s taking place in the evening at a classic New England church (circa 1801), and there will be real candles in all the windows, and real garlands of Christmas greenery festooning the church. I’m very excited. We have a lot of great music on the program (including, Scarlett and L, a carol arranged by John Rutter!).

  54. Wedding might start anywhere from noon to 4pm, reception at 6. Weddings are often in churches or temples, with the receptions at hotel ballrooms.

    So those going to the ceremony have to change before going to the reception?

  55. “The Canon is perfection as-is, and should not be messed with, IMO.”

    So I’m guessing you didn’t enjoy this:

  56. “Milo, I enjoyed that Josh Turner video, but was surprised that they needed to refer to the music. ”

    Ehh, so many of those songs have many, many verses, and when people sing different versions, they choose a few and omit others.

    Also, they’re singing different parts, depending on bass/tenor/alto/whatever when they get to “When Heaven and Nature sing” and “And wonders of His love…” so that helps to have it written down.

  57. Here’s more Josh and his parents, this time in a church.

    I’ve been listening to a lot of the old English carols, including this one, but also ones like “The Holly and the Ivy” and “I Saw Three Ships.”

  58. “So those going to the ceremony have to change before going to the reception?”

    I think the scheduling is typically driven by availability of the wedding sites, not providing the opportunity to change, although it’s also common for couples to want the time between the ceremony and the reception to go somewhere for photos.

    A lot of parties take photos before the ceremony, but some prefer not to tempt fate.

  59. NoB, I’ll hazard a guess that it’s the Candlelight Carol? If not, then the shepherd’s pipe or nativity carol?

    Milo – I am also surprised that they refer to the music. Also some pitch wobbles. ;)

  60. “How does the timing work for a wedding where you wear a tuxedo? Do they have the ceremony during the day and then the reception many hours later?”

    You have both the ceremony and the reception at the Four Seasons, of course.

  61. I wish my kids could sing like that. So much cheaper than buying violins.

    Is that Josh singing the lowest part?

  62. “Also some pitch wobbles. ;)”

    OK, I don’t know what that means. You get a YouTube channel, and I’ll listen to your singing also. ;)

    I think the amateur appearance of their videos, perhaps including their reading the music, is a huge part of the appeal.

    Josh and Myles. I think the music is taped to the microphone.

  63. Most of the black tie weddings that I have been to are same venue for ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. Ceremony takes ~20 mins, go straight to cocktail hour (during which time the wedding party might finish up some pictures) then dinner, which is served very late. No kids in attendance.

  64. @NoBo – that choir sounds awesome! I would like to sing in a choir but the ones around here are audition only and I stink. Apparently my enthusiasm does not make up for my lack of talent!

  65. OTOH, the chorale kids aren’t going to HSS with the frequency of the orchestra kids.

    Part of the price of totebagginess.

  66. You have both the ceremony and the reception at the Four Seasons, of course.

    Have the ceremony at night?

  67. “Is that Josh singing the lowest part?”

    Yes. He has a very versatile voice. (“range”?)

    He can do all parts and blend them together:

    Obviously, I have a man crush on Josh. At least he’s well over 18 now.

  68. @ Rhett – yes, ceremony is at night with reception right after. If wedding is at 7pm or 7:30, men wear black tie. If 8pm, white tie.

  69. If we got an invitation for a 5pm wedding DH would not wear black tie. Only for 7pm or after, unless specifically instructed.

  70. “black tie weddings”

    I’ve never been to a wedding here in which black tie generally extended beyond the wedding party.

    The one exception was when I wore a tux because I was emceeing the reception and I promised the bride I would wear something nice and not casual (I had somewhat of a reputation of dressing casually, by local standards).

    When I got married, my Dad busted out his suit. My 2 BIL both wore suits too (I’ll wear mine if you wear yours); I think they were the only men not wearing aloha shirts, which is typical wedding guest attire.

  71. @ Lark – I guess Emily Post puts 6pm as the black tie dividing line. I stand corrected.

  72. Finn, at my Mom’s funeral, my brothers emptied their suit pockets to demonstrate that they still had the funeral bulletins for my grandmothers’ funerals (held 1 and 4 years previously).

  73. “Have the ceremony at night?”

    Yes. 5 or 6 pm. A clergy person of some sort may officiate the ceremony.. Catholic priests don’t officiate outside of a church, AFAIK, but it’s a fine setup for lots of Protestant and Jewish weddings.

    Our wedding and ceremony were all in the same place with a Protestant minister officiating. Wedding at 6, cocktails immediately following while room was turned over for dinner, then dinner/dancing. Just like Birdie described, except we had a few kids there, and it wasn’t actually black tie.

  74. I’ve been to a number of weddings at the same hotel as the reception, typically either ~4 to 5pm, reception at 6, cocktails in between, or wedding around 10am or 11am, followed by lunch reception.

  75. Milo,
    That In Dulci Jubilo clip was amazing. Never heard of that guy before. But he is clearly singing falsetto on the upper parts…..

  76. If wedding is at 7pm or 7:30, men wear black tie. If 8pm, white tie.

    White tie! Now that would be something!

    Also you should never wear a watch with a tuxedo.

  77. “But he is clearly singing falsetto on the upper parts…..”

    OK, I don’t know what that means, either.

  78. HM,

    Here’s one:

    House Party

    Benefits: Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston
    Attendees: 500
    Most recently held at: John Henry and Linda Pizzuti Henry’s Brookline manse
    Notable guests: Robert Kraft; Margot and Jonathan Davis; Cyndy and John Fish; Chris McKown and Abigail Johnson; Carolyn and Peter Lynch
    Tickets/sponsorships start at: $1,250
    Amount raised last year: More than $2 million

  79. “Also you should never wear a watch with a tuxedo.”

    Well of course not. What are you, a farmer?

  80. “Also you should never wear a watch with a tuxedo.”

    Not even a pocketwatch?

    I find it difficult to wear a wristwatch with any long-sleeved dress shirt; it’s hard to button the cuff. Perhaps I need a slimmer watch for those occasions.

  81. I don’t know Scarlett. I have one friend who still lives there (although lots more who live not too far in the better areas). I cannot believe that she never left. But her family lives here as well as her husband’s. My parents know it sucks. They say so. Yet they still live there. I have tried to convince them to move nearby to a condo in a better area. They have drive thru Starbucks! And decent restaurants! And maybe fewer people overdosing on their street. But they have lived there a long time and are really good friends with the other long timers. And they all are really nice, kind people. Like the kind of people who would watch my kids when I am there and unexpectedly have to attend a funeral. They offer and really want to do it and are super nice. I don’t know people like that around here.

  82. “The guy on the left reminds me of one of the Jersey Boys”

    Well, the clip is titled, Frankie Valli.

  83. Yes I am a fanatical Weird Al fan and yes I paid over $500 so DH and I could get VIP tickets to his upcoming “Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour” in Denver, where he and the guys are going to sit on stools playing acoustic instruments and sing his original songs. Yes I also have tickets to the Redding concert with my friend from Chico. Yes I would love to follow him all over the country because I missed out on the Grateful Dead. Yes I’ve seen him in concert dozens of times.

    Rocky, I say this with all seriousness: my opinion of you has increased tremendously after reading that.

    There are only three artists who have charted top 40 hits in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s: Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Weird Al.

  84. Moxiemom – Old rule was you wore white from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Never after Labor Day.

  85. Not even a pocketwatch?

    No, it’s considered rude. If you’re wearing a tuxedo you shouldn’t have any time constraints. I think it dates from the Dowager Countess – “What’s a weekend?” era where having something to do the next day would be considered low class.

  86. Milo, I didn’t realize the Four Seasons (not the place to get married) recorded Working My Way Back to You. I think of it as a Spinners song.

  87. “Working My Way Back to You. I think of it as a Spinners song.”

    When I was in college, it was used as the theme song for Crown Theaters, which operated the local movie theaters. They had an animated dancing lion, and they modified the words to “I keep working my way back to you, Crown.”

    It was awful, so it definitely stuck.

  88. something like

    “Don’t let it, Get awaaaayyyyyyyy!
    Do doo. Doo do do.
    Please throw your trash away!”

  89. Rocky, I say this with all seriousness: my opinion of you has increased tremendously after reading that.

    LOL! What other ridiculous obsessions can I confess that will raise me in the Totebag’s esteem? Hm. I can sing the theme song to Super Chicken. But that’s pretty run-of-the-mill.

  90. We went to a white tie wedding in Europe once upon a time. It was amazing. It was magical to be around everyone so fancy.

  91. Henry J. Henhouse III?

    Henry Cabot Henhouse III. And his trusty sidekick Fred.

  92. “If 8pm, white tie.”

    Oh no, DS wore white tie for a performance that started before 8.

    I’ve seen the local Symphony men wear white ties, e.g., opening night, and their concerts start before 8.

  93. OK RMS, my opinion of you has just taken a step up.

    I’m guessing HM knows that theme song too, so it’s already factored into my opinion of her.

  94. Just finished buying my corolla with Costco. Far more waiting and negotiating than I expected. But woohoo.

  95. “But he is clearly singing falsetto on the upper parts…..”

    OK, I don’t know what that means, either.

    It’s how males who are not young boys or countertenors sing notes above their normal range.

  96. It’s taking place in the evening at a classic New England church (circa 1801), and there will be real candles in all the windows, and real garlands of Christmas greenery festooning the church.

    In the beginning part of this video you get a good view of the interior of Kawaiahao Church, which is what those same New Englanders built a few decades later (using blocks of coral mined from the reefs) when they got to Hawaii.

  97. Moxie — Happily, there were no auditions for my choir! It’s primarily made up of people who sing in the church’s regular Sunday choir. I would say the average age of the singers is about 65. I’m like the kid in the group.

    L – the Rutter song that we’re singing is entitled “Cradle Song” in our book. Apparently it’s a traditional Flemish carol.

  98. Honolulu — Yes, I definitely see the New England-church influence there. Sadly, though, our choir robes aren’t nearly as cool as the outfits those singers are wearing!

  99. NoB, they are of course wearing mu’umu’u and aloha shirts, with lei color-coded by ensemble.

  100. They also dance and sing at the same time sometimes, which I’m guessing is another difference. Like this:

  101. I’ve never been in Kawaiahao Church, but from the video, the inside looks a lot like Central Union.

  102. Finn, there’s definitely a similar feel to both. I think Central Union is a little larger, but then Kawaiahao is 80 or 90 years older.

  103. Christmas in the home country looks very similar to a Hawaiian Christmas. The weather is great and the season doesn’t start till the start of advent. Just enough time to prepare and not be fed up by the overkill. It is also wedding season so in addition to Christmas, lots of people tend to get married this time of year.
    The week between Christmas and New Year is very popular for weddings. My church growing up had a wonderful choir director who also sang and played guitar. He made the services memorable. Unfortunately he passed away fairly young.

  104. “July, no. I haven’t been to Dyker Heights because I don’t want to deal with the crowds.”

    I don’t think the crowds are worse than Rockefeller Center or other holiday spots. I’m more concerned about the cold! But I’m sure it’s worth it to see these displays up close.


    http://gothamist.com/2016/12/07/photos_dyker_heights_christmas_ligh_1.php#photo-1

    The secret chord that makes Christmas music sound so Christmassy
    Hint: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” uses it.

    https://www.vox.com/videos/2016/12/21/14043244/secret-chord-makes-christmas-music-christmassy

  105. Public school had the “Holiday” concert last week. We are so diverse that it was mostly songs about snow – so like a concert for the National Weather Service. Which was fine but just call it the second semester concert then.

    @ Moxie – why does diversity have to be bland and boring ? My own school diverse experience was so much fun and so interesting. The parents used to complain that there never was a festival we wanted to miss !
    And they were terrified that school work would suffer :-). A post for another day perhaps.

  106. Grumbles here this morning. For those who missed it, we got snow yesterday – 1 to 3 inches officially, but a few people calling in with up to 5 inches, oddly more to our south and east.. I realize it is not “real” snow, but enough to make everyone excited – adults, teens and small ones.

    The grumbles are because in our metro some schools cancelled classes today, some are on two hour delay starts and some are on regular schedule. I have one who gets the day off and one who starts at regular time. Most of the schools who did the two hour delay were warranted as the bridges and overpasses in that part of the metro are a bit icy this morning.

  107. Good luck getting through your day, Austin. I was really surprised yesterday to see a Facebook post from a high-school friend of mine who now lives in El Paso — she posted photos of snow! In El Paso! We still haven’t seen snow yet this season here in Boston (although some might be coming this weekend).

  108. Austin – Yikes! Unexpected changes in school schedules are never fun. We might get our first snow this weekend/early next week.

  109. We are supposed to get a rain/snow mix tomorrow, more rain and I am sure nothing will stick but my city of course is terribly excited by the sighting of even one snowflake.

  110. We are supposed to get a rain/snow mix tomorrow, more rain and I am sure nothing will stick but my city of course is terribly excited by the sighting of even one snowflake.

    In Chapel Hill everyone used to go nuts. And snow wasn’t even that rare! The highways were instantly parking lots.

  111. And, yes I was that awful mom this morning. DD#1 is the one with school and wanted me to drive her. No – the streets in our area and the direction she is going are fine, it is to the south and east that are not.

    I did not mention to her that my employer follows the lead of her sister’s school district, so I technically get the day off too. I got bleary-eyed trying to proof something yesterday that is needed on Monday. I will complete that task today, but it shouldn’t take long. Am thankful for the extra time to get ready for the downstairs flooring!

  112. We got 1-2 inches of snow here last night! DS was amazed! 3rd times it’s snowed in my 20+ years here! School called me at 4:13am to tell me that classes would move forward as normal.

  113. @Louise – diversity is great but I’m guessing in an effort to not offend anyone we don’t include ANY religious tradition songs just songs about weather and light. I would guess that the Muslim families might not be jazzed about their kid singing a song about Jesus and vice versa. I personally don’t care about any of that but some people do and very much so. I can only assume that the school doesn’t want any hassle. It was fine just not really very ‘holiday’ in any sense.

  114. Austin, do you not have a unified school district or are you talking about a split between public and private? Here they do everything on the county level.

  115. Austin, when I lived in your fair city, I worked at a housing association that had the goal of providing housing to low income people. There was a freeze that year. It was tumultuous. That was one of the few times we were in contact with housing agencies that year. Many, many buildings were not insulated, people had never heard of “dripping” their faucets, lots of exploded pipes. I hope you that isn’t happening across central and East Texas!

  116. When I was a kid, we had to sing Jesius songs in school at Christmas time. My mother’s friend was one of the few Jews in town with a kid in the schools. When he came home one day and said he was learning to sing the song “Jesus Loves Me, Yes He Does”, she yanked him out of the public schools and sent him to private. She was SO angry. The problem in that public school was lack of diversity – it was all Jesus all the time.

  117. Mooshi in my elementary I had a teacher who opened every class with The Lord’s Prayer. My best friend was Jewish her family had just moved there from NYC. When I was playing at her house after school, her mom asked me to recite the prayer, and had me repeat it a few times. I remember feeling very awkward. I am sure her family was wondering what in the world they had gotten themselves into. (I also remember going to her house when my grandmother was visiting, and telling them where I was going. My grandmother: “that’s. Nice Irish name – what is her last name? Me: Shapiro. Much laughter from the adults, which I didn’t get, but I still remember we how annoyed I was)

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