Fandom Friday, Music

Five Fandom Friday: My Favorite Holiday Songs To Spread Cheer

Five Fandom FridaysIt’s Friday. That means another edition of Five Fandom Friday from geeky bloggers all over thanks to the genius of Super Space Chick and The Nerdy Girlie. Today’s topic: My Favorite Holiday Songs To Spread Cheer. Holiday songs mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  I have very distinct memories associated with my top five choices and so today’s post will be a little more personal as I share those memories along with my song choices.

We Need A Little Christmas

Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell is one of my mom’s favorite movies. Growing up she always had older movies one and I would get so annoyed at having to watch them, but now I’m so grateful she introduced me to so many amazing films (Some Like It Hot, Arsenic and Old Lace, and just about anything with Katherine Hepburn).  My mom’s love of Auntie Mame has inspired many of us in the family over the years and the scene where this wonderful song plays really helps show the true meaning of the holiday.

Just before I moved back to California from Rhode Island (it was mid-November) I was having a very tough time and thought “What the hell, Christmas music might help.” That turned out to be a bad idea because as soon as this song (by Angela Lansbury from the original production of Mame) came on, I was bawling my eyes out.  It brought home the importance of my family and how much I missed them. Turns out they feel the same about me which is why they’ve told me I’m not allowed to move out of state again…

Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Happy Xmas (War is Over) 

This song was written by John Jennon and Yoko Ono and performed by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir. The song was released in 1971 as a protest song against the Vietnam War. It’s now a Christmas standard and has been covered numerous times (but the original is still the most powerful).

The song reminds me of my dad and a drive we took when I was in high school. I had a holiday basketball tournament and it was happening on the same day as a family holiday get-together.  My mom, though a staple at my games, couldn’t see going to my game when there were tasks to be done at my aunt’s for the holiday. So it was just me and my dad.  And as we drove to my aunt’s house following the games, this song came on and we both sang happily along.  It’s a simple memory but it means a lot to mean. I’m extremely lucky to be so close to all of my family and I don’t take it for granted. That’s why sometimes the simple memories like this are so important. I also tend to recall this moment because my dad told me a hilarious story about a distinct memory he had involving this song, walks to a pay phone in the rain, and my uncle.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas 

This not so well known song was written by John Rox and performed by 10-year-old Gayla Peevey in 1953.  Gayla Peevey actually performed the song on the Ed Sullivan show in October of 1953. A popular legend holds that the song had been recorded as a fund-raiser to bring Peevey’s hometown city zoo a hippo.  But more recently; Peevey clarified that the song was not originally recorded with that purpose but instead appropriated for the hippo campaign due to its popularity. The campaign succeeded, and she was presented with an actual hippopotamus, which she donated to the city zoo. The hippopotamus lived for nearly 50 years….

I spent several years working retail at KB Toys (RIP).  As you can imagine, a toy store is quite the place to be working during the holidays.  We had discs provided to us each month by the company to play in the store.  As we got closer to the holidays, the discs became more heavily loaded with holiday songs.  My first holiday season with KB Toys was the first time I’d heard the Hippopotamus song.  I didn’t think much of it until I saw the store manager singing the song.  He explained that while he wasn’t generally a fan of the holiday music he loved that song.  And since that moment, I think I listened to it with a different perspective and IU grew to love it too. I think part of its charm is that it isn’t one of the more well-known songs and as such it isn’t played to death.

To add to my memories of the song…my most recent trip to Disneyland (for the Avengers Half Marathon) saw the park all decked out for the season.  I had been talking to my aunt about the hippopotamus song (and even sang some of it to her) because she’d never heard it before.  And of course, while waiting in line for the Jingle Cruise (the Jungle Cruise has finally gotten in the spirit too), what song did we hear? “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas…”

Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24

You probably know of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra even if you don’t think you do and it is most likely due to this song.  Though I’m a huge fan of all their music and will admit to crying when I hear many of their holiday songs, this one hold extra special meaning. The song was released in 1996 on the first album of the Christmas trilogy, Christmas Eve and Other Stories.  And this album was the heart of their Christmas tour until recently.  I highly recommend seeing Trans-Siberian Orchestra live if you have yet to do so. They always put on quite the spectacle.  (I’ve actually seen both the east and west coast troupes, but my heart will always be with Al Pitrelli and the West Coast troupe, probably because that’s who I saw first…)

It was 2001 and well before the events of September 11 I had purchased tickets for my mother and me to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra live for the very first time.  They were playing at Memorial Auditorium and it was an amazing show.  This particular song was what introduced us to the music of this wonderful group. But played in the context of the story when the world was still hurting was extremely emotional.  It was a moment I’ve never forget.  This also started a new tradition in which I tried to attend yearly with my family (which hasn’t always worked but is amazing when it does).

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays 

“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” is the first and only single from ‘N Sync’s second studio album, Home for Christmas. Don’t judge me. It’s actually a great holiday album.

I actually don’t have a distinct memory associated with this song yet. I just know it never fails to make me smile and get me in the holiday spirit. Clearly, there’s still time to make more memories.

 Honorable Mentions:

  • Yellin’ at the Christmas Tree by Billy Idol
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) by The Chipmunks
  • Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano

Music is powerful and helps us remember moments in time. I hope you  find your favorites and stop to reminisce about holiday moments and memories you’ve shared with people in your lives.  That’s my list Favorite Holiday Songs To Spread Cheer for Fandom Friday. Forgive me while I go reminisce and listen to some holiday cheer. You can check out more interesting favorite holiday songs from these women:

If reading about my favorite holiday songs (and related memories) hasn’t got you in the spirit, you can head over to twitter and search #Fandom5 to find even more favorite holiday music.  What’s your favorite holiday song?

8 thoughts on “Five Fandom Friday: My Favorite Holiday Songs To Spread Cheer”

    1. And Santa ‘won’t have to use [your] dirty chimney flue, Just bring him through the front door, that’s the easy thing to do”

  1. LOVE The War is Over and Trans-Siberian Orchestra! Those always tell me it’s Christmas! 🙂

    And sometimes when I’m feeling down, Where Are You Christmas! Or Lonely Christmas Eve by Ben Folds !! OMG YES! Now I’m off to listen to it.

    1. Where Are You Christmas is perfect! I’ve definitely had a some years I’ve spent crying and listening to that song and wondering exactly why I can’t find it.

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