I am a Christmas music junkie. It is seriously a struggle for me each year to save my beloved collection of Christmas music until the Christmas season is officially underway. If I’m playing by my own rules (and you know how much I love making rules), the Christmas music isn’t allowed to be heard around here until the day after Thanksgiving. This is a difficult rule for me to adhere to if the weather’s cold and snowy, but I managed to do it this year… probably because the weather’s been windy and brown.
So, now that we’ve marked Thanksgiving and the Advent calendar is counting down to the big day and our Christmas tree is glowing merrily in the corner (it’s only fallen over once — fingers crossed), Christmas music is once again filling the house where Tam, Beau, Asher, Emilyn, and Marsielle live.
I thought it’d be fun to share a few Blake family Christmas favorites for your listening pleasure today… because maybe you love it like we do or maybe you need a little inspiration in this department. If so, we’re here to help.
The kids are voting for “Huron Carol” for obvious reasons — you’ll recall that Asher is sure he’s at least half Native and by golly he likes to stick to tradition. This version by the Canadian Tenors can be found on YouTube and accompanies pictures of some very cool Native nativity scenes which the kids adore.
The Blake kids also like Natalie Merchant’s “Children Go Where I Send Thee”:
And, finally, their list wouldn’t be complete without the good ol’ classic “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”:
As for Beau, his favorites are an eclectic mash-up of Clint Black’s “Milk & Cookies” (a nostalgic one from his childhood):
… while his more modern preferences include Sting’s “I Saw Three Ships”:
… and he’s also a big fan of Merle Haggard’s “If We Make it Through December.” Beau is, after all, our warrior, who goes outside to brave the (frigid) elements this time of year while the rest of our family stays inside to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and bake Christmas cookies. By early December every year the ranch is usually about three weeks behind finishing up fall work, and the crew is pushing hard to wrap up weaning and processing calves at the tail end of a two-month push of early mornings and late nights and semi-loads and water-bellies and tank heaters and so on… so who can blame the guy for a taking a little more of a cynical viewpoint of the twelfth month along with ol’ Merle?
Now, for me.
I will spare you and share just three of my favorite Christmas albums. Okay, I mean four. First there is a love from my childhood in the “Alabama Christmas” album by (who else?) the country group Alabama. I still remember Mom coming home from shopping in Billings one cold December night — I must’ve been 10 or 11 — and in one of the many bags of goodies she brought in from the car was a brand-new cassette tape. On it Alabama sang a song called “Joseph and Mary’s Boy,” which she had heard and really liked, and so she bought the tape, and we played it on the tape player… and it became tradition. Who could’ve guessed that a few years down the road I’d end up married to a real boy from Alabama?
Next, also a joy from my childhood, is the G.T. and the Halo Express album “Ticket to Christmas.” I was, and remain, the only person I know, at least of my age, who listened to and listens to G.T. and the Halo Express. G.T. was an early ’90s audio drama that included kids singing songs woven with scripture. I remember the hour-long stories — I think there were seven of them all — as such a fond part of my growing-up years that I’ve purchased the full CD set for both our niece and nephew and for my own kids too (the CD set can be had at http://www.gthalo.com if you’re interested). There’s no YouTube link to G.T., of course… though I suppose I could make one if I knew how and had the desire… but here’s what the original cassette cover looked like, just for fun:
Aw, there’s G.T. (the angel who always swoops in to save the day) and Michael (the boy who’s always getting himself into trouble and needing heavenly help).
Okay, stay with me here. Two more recent loves finish off my list for today.
First, Wylie Gustafson of Wylie and the Wild West — yup, that famous Yahoo yodeler — and his awesome Christmas album “Christmas for Cowboys.” Here’s the title song:
I got acquainted with Wylie when I worked at Agri-News years ago. He sent me a CD for review, I loved it, and the rest is history. Little did he know that his acquaintance with me would keep paying such excellent dividends as a mention on my world-famous blog 10 years down the road! (Hi, Wylie! Doubt you’ll ever see this!)
And finally, one more album from my Agri-News years in singer-songwriter (and at least part-time Montanan) Stephanie Davis’s “Home for the Holidays.” I just love her old-timey sound, don’t you?
To all of you who bravely subscribe to read the overthought opinions of a conservative Christian hippie (that’d be me), please know that I appreciate you, and that I sure hope you’re having fun getting ready for Christmas at your house. If you’re not in the spirit yet, enjoy these tunes… they might help!
© Tami Blake