Step into Christmas ... Lightly, Merrily, On High, Again.
What is there to say about Christmas Day that hasn't already been said? Well, that's not going to stop me.
My sad tale of Christmas Present.
Ten days before Christmas, June and John joined some neighbors at the apartment complex's annual Christmas party. The affair was packed with everybody and their runny-nosed kids, one of whom must have gifted John with a Christmas virus. It tested negative for flu, but proved a worthy ailment just the same.
Getting the tree and the decorations up proved a challenge, but by Christmas Eve things were looking up, and John retired, eventually, with visions of a festive day ahead and maybe, later in the day, even a Christmas run.
He woke up early, at 4:00 am with a headache, a throat emulating flames and razor blades, a nose stopped up like holiday traffic in the Sepulveda Pass and a fever of 101. The next two hours were dedicated to a living room chair in an effort to facilitate simultaneous sleeping and breathing. Then three more hours back in bed.
The traditional Skelly family Christmas brunch was both late and a struggle. But consciousness was never completely lost, and the Mimosas surely helped. Dinner went a little better, but at 11:45 pm after falling asleep several times during "Home Alone 2," John retreated back to the bed. Only making sure this time to down the nightly dosage of NyQuil he'd foolishly skipped on Christmas Eve, in what could only have been an overabundance of cocky holiday self-confidence.
This year's Christmas Day Song Selection
From the soundtrack to the 1884 version of "A Christmas Carol" starring George C. Scott. It sounds like it could have been penned two centuries ago. The film originally aired on television in America and was released in Great Britain in theaters. This choral rendition accompanies the production's end titles. Surprisingly this music has never been produced for commercial consumption. Lyrics by Tony Bicat; music by Nick Bicat.
Sammy's Christmas Song Videos
The first Christmas Song Selection appeared in these pages in 2007, and at least one has been included every year since. Some years featured more than one. And recently songs have been featured on both the lead page (usually Dec. 5) and the Christmas Day page as well.
The song versions are generally piped in (embedded) from YouTube and as time passes some of those songs cease to be available on YouTube for any number of reasons: copyright infringements, legal disputes, or even just a loss of interest on the part of whoever posted the song in the first place. (Youtube is a streaming service; music videos are posted there by people, like you and me, who have created accounts on the service (same as with SoundCloud, discussed below).
If you should link back to earlier years' posts on this Christmas site you may find the song you wanted to listen to is no longer available. Here's a list of earlier years' selections and an updated YouTube playlist, with links that are currently working. Since most songs get posted in different versions by multiple YouTube account owners, alternative versions are usually available. So if you want to hear a song posted in earlier years, this is the place to do it. (Easer than having to go to back to monitor and reediting earlier years' posts.)
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) David Letterman mash-Up
Fairytale Of New York
The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl
Please Come Home for Christmas
Christmas in Dixie
In Dulci Jubilo
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Merry Christmas, Baby
Cee Lo Green featuring Rod Stewart
Early Christmas Morning
Please Come Home for Christmas
Merry Christmas Baby
Merry Christmas Baby
Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy
Bing Crosby & David Bowie
I Believe in Father Christmas
Greg Lake with The Empire State Youth Chorale
All Alone at Christmas
Darlene Love with the E Street Band and The Miami Horns
Today was better but not enough to dissuade June from demanding another visit to the doctor, which resulted in a Z-Pack prescription, followed by a trip to the airport just in time to return JJ to Chicago. June drove.
Inevitably, all this put some constraints on the anticipated level of merry-making. A two-day summary of holiday lubrication employed this year makes this clear:
1/2 bottle of Cognac
and, of course, the Mimosas
Sigh. Just imagine what could have been. Ah well, Merry Christmas to all. To all a good night.
Don't forget the NyQuil.
Christmas Sounds from the Past
Well I'm feelin' mighty fine, I got good music on my radio. (Charles Brown, "Merry Christmas, Baby").
Same old sounds, actually, but these really are coming at you from the past. They were originally broadcast back around 1984. This is a time capsule of what holiday music on the radio used to sound like before the soft-rock fad rush. Jewel stations like WPAT in Paterson, NJ, (which was not a soft-rock station; it was more high-brow contemporary popular -- think older people) didn't just throw up a disjointed playlist of the usual holiday music suspects. They actually crafted a soft, often dreamy holiday mood comprising a programmed set of musical selections, minimal breaks and commercial interruptions and that calmly reassuring FM DJ on-air voice . WPAT billed itself as "Easy Listening" and it certainly was.
This is an "aircheck" of one of the station's Christmas music programs from the mid 80s (length: approx. 20 min.). An aircheck is a recording made from a radio or television broadcast, often used for demonstration or quality control purposes. It comes courtesy of SoundCloud, an online audio distribution platform and music sharing website based in Berlin, Germany, that enables users to upload, promote, and otherwise share audio. Think Spotify or Pandora. Or YouTube.
SoundCloud is apparently popular with professional musicians looking to showcase their work. Check it out. Click here to reach their site directly. It might start you on a whole new career for the New Year. Or just enjoy the snippet. It will take you back to a kinder, gentler time. It's harder to put good stuff on the radio, or anywhere else, than you think.
This year's installment marks the 20th anniversary edition of The Skelly Family Christmas Website
Slightly more positive Christmas Spirit than the previous six years at this time. However, notably larger than usual bulge in mid-range response ("Do You Hear What I Hear)." Which way will this sentiment trend as we go deeper into the season? A bi-polar stock market offers little guidance. Unusaully small curmudgeon factor at this stage ("Bah Humbug)."
Better than last year, better than previous benchmark. But lower than usual top score. Alan Greenspan, that gifted explainer of all kinds of markets (even though he helped give us the Great Recession because he wasn't worried about derivatives), would say the Christmas Spirit Index, while quite positive overall, at this point lacks the irrational exuberance of other years. Then he would equivocate by pointing out we've still got ten days left to get irrational. Party on, Garth.
Still not not exuberant yet. Certainly not irrational. Still growing, but last time the index stood below 3.75 on Dec. 20 was back in 2012. Top septile (the red one) at this point would ordinarily be in above-30% range. However, some of those years were just crazy. Perhaps this is just you being sensible. We'll see next week.
Other Christmases have been merrier, spirit-wise. Market feels the same way, evidently. Hopefully, boh will revive in the new year.