Holiday Playlist: Merry-an the Contrarian Cheers Up a Little

Yes indeed, this post is long. It occupies significant vertical space. But no one will make you read it, you Scrooge you.

These days, we start hearing "Jingle Bells" around October 1st, and the holiday jingle onslaught continues 'til the post-Christmas clearance sales are over in mid-January. As much as we love classic songs like "Silent Night" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", we thought we'd suggest some alternate tunage to you this year. Each of us editors will be presenting our Fab Five Holiday Playlist, of songs that remind us of the joy (and stress) of the holiday season, and some fun gift ideas that tie in with 'em.

Merry happy everything, everybody. This is Marian, telling you to put your headphones on, get your wallets out, and spend a few minutes with an assortment of people who would make for great theoretical party guests.

First up on the guest list is one Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich. He gets to be here because he composed the Coffee/Arabian dance from The Nutcracker, along with, you know, the rest of it. It's a gorgeous piece of music, very moody and evocative. (You may remember it as the fish part of Fantasia.) The associated gift is a bottle of 1) Bond No. 9's New Haarlem ($230), a unisex coffee fragrance. It's spendy, but so what? It's Christmas! (Though the first mid- or low-end scentmaker to create and market a good coffee perfume will make millions. I should get on that . . .)

Wondering why we started posting these so early? Ask Angela Lansbury. She explains it better than we ever could. Here she is in her long-before-Jessica-Fletcher days as one of the biggest names of Broadway, singing "We Need a Little Christmas" from Mame. (Look for "Bosom Buddies" from the same show if you want to hear her in a Broadway bitchfest with a similarly younger Bea Arthur. It's obnoxious and awesome.) Get your Auntie Mame on for those holiday parties in this 2) Daymor taffeta jacket with trumpet skirt ($470).

Now what says Christmas like a Japanese animated musical about a bunch of Roaring-Twenties-era actresses from around the world who fight the undead in steam-powered robot suits? With ninjas and a teddy bear and a French cabaret for backup? Nothing, that's what. (How I would have loved to be at that pitch meeting.) "Kiseki no Kane" is the big Christmas number from Sakura Taisen, and I like it. Translated lyrics here. Keeping up with the theme of "spendy", here's a 3) DVD of the voice actresses giving a Christmas concert ($87), because they make DVDs out of platinum and unicorn hoof shavings in Japan.

Now this video is awfully short, but Nat King Cole has always been my favorite of the old crooners, and I also really like "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen". Buy yourself a 4) portable keyboard ($100), cope constructively with your regrets re: quitting piano lessons at thirteen, and become the chanteuse you always knew you could be.

So we got Nat, we got Angela, we got Pyotr and a whole troupe of actresses. But it's not a party without Britney! I've never been the biggest fan, but "My Only Wish (This Year)" is adorable - "I have been so good this year!" Walk in the weather the way she describes in these 5) glossy red Hunter boots ($125).

Hey, you know what? You can turn all of these videos on at the same time. It's Christmacacophony!

marian_attribution.jpg Marian the Contrarian here: I love love LOVE to help would-be gift-givers find just the thing for their hard-to-shop-for relative, sweetheart, friend, boss, or iguana. I'm also a perfume enthusiast, and whether your budget for scent is Barneys or Big Lots, I'll help you find something beautiful. Miss M______, the official Outblush cat, resides with me and picks out my clothes.



Posted on 11.30.11 at 8:30 PM

Although Hunter boots are fantastic, if you have big calves like me they don't fit. I've heard the Huntress line is more generous, just a tip for my fellow runners out there!

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