Christmas My Way: Reindance

Christmas music can affect you in many ways. You have the quiet reflective aspect, the melancholy dreaming aspect, the romantic aspect, the childhood aspect, and you have the goofy fun aspect. Beyond just the songs, though, the fun aspect can be made even more fun and silly. Here are a few videos of people enjoying themselves way too much with Christmas music.

First up is my favorite new Christmas video this year. Preston Leatherman is an Oklahoma born, currently Nashville living musician with a ton a charisma and not and ounce of shame. He has done a tom of videos that you can find on his PRESTON LEATHERMAN WEBSITE.

One thing he has tried are a couple of videos called DANCING WITH AN IPOD. The latest is his enthusiastic dance to Mariah Carey’s ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU. The concept is that he goes to a busy mall, puts on his headphones and begins his dance to the song. The conceit is that only he hears the music because he is playing it through the headphones of his iPod.


Of course, there may be no better Christmas dancing than the gang from A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.

The City of Detroit has it’s own unique Dancing Santa.

I’ve posted this before, but I love it. RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER by Billy May And His Orchestra.

Flash mobs are always a ton of fun, but those that pop up where you least expect them to are the best. On October 30, 2010, inside the venerable Center City Philadelphia Macy’s store (It used to be the flagship John Wanamakers), hundreds of singer surrounded the GRAND COURT , world renowned for it Christmas light show and GRAND PIPE ORGAN, and broke out in a glorious version of Handel’s HALLELUJAH CHORUS,

Pepsi-Cola decided that when Santa wants to dance while on his own holiday, he wants to dance and doesn’t want Coca-Cola.

A few years ago, OFFICE MAX had a character based on THE SPINNERS song RUBBERBAND MAN. For Christmas, they did a special version.

And to wrap up, a quick look at what may be the most misguided Christmas TV Special ever. THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL.

Christmas My Way: Bad Tidings

I’ve already said that I love Christmas Music. Yeah, I really do. And of course, I even love the bad ideas and silly recordings, the ones that will make you wish for coal in my stocking. So, here are some truly silly Christmas songs. Try not to sing along:

First up, ELTON JOHN recorded a Christmas single in the 70’s called STEP INTO CHRISTMAS which has become traditional despite being just an OK recording. However, true Christmas cheer can be found on the flipside, a little ditty that sounds like it was recorded on the fly after a very long night of drinking. It’s called HO-HO-HO (WHO’D BE A TURKEY AT CHRISTMAS)

BEN FOLDS is one of my favorite musicians and he has a sometimes very unique and slightly skewed music style. He showed that in this song called BIZARRE CHRISTMAS INCIDENT.

Be warned. This has some language and is NSFW (Not Safe For Work).

Here you go.

Now, it would be too easy to attack the JINGLE DOGS and the JINGLE CATS. No one really expected quality music out of them. What you may not realize it that way back in the 70’s, it had already been done by an assemblage known as the SINGING DOGS.

From the world of Saturday Night Live comes this odd version of SILVER BELLS sung by Paul Simon, spoken word by Steve Martin, and reportedly Billy Joel on Piano.

The Sixties had a minor run of “Drop-in” records, which were comedy records that consisted of situations and questions that were answered by brief segments of popular records. SANTA AND THE SATELLITE was done by the king of these recordings, BUCHANAN AND GOODMAN

THE BEATLES used to release a recording just to their fan club members each holiday from 1963-1969. They started out as just fun banter sitting around a microphone into elaborate Monty Python style recordings. This is their 1967 recording, with the song CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE AGAIN.

Beatles sound-alikes THE RUBBER BAND (also known as THE BEATMAS) recorded Christmas songs in the Beatles style. Here is the Taxman-influenced RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER.

There. I made it through without pure treacle like THE CHRISTMAS SHOES and GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER.

However, I want to leave you with one of my favorite Christmas novelty records, by the great satirist STAN FREBERG: “Christmas Dragnet”

Christmas My Way: Day Ten (We Will Be Right Back Merrily)

Christmas has always involved the commercial, and let’s face it, the exchange of gifts has grown into a sales time that can make or brake the profit picture for a store.

Television has of course merrily joined the party and at Christmas, you are bombarded with holiday ads that want to sell you lots of potential gifts with as garish or ridiculous a premise as possible (Raise your hand if someone is getting you a Lexus this year).

But despite an onslaught of overcaffinated shoppers like TARGET’S truly terrifying Christmas Champ Lady (who didn’t even bother to celebrate Thanksgiving) to shoppers at Best Buy quite happy to piss Santa off over their shopping accumen.

However, TV can also create quite moving and lasting memories from simple adds that sell a product but don’t substitute the three of the gift hunt for the joy of the Holiday season. TV networks have done a few classic ads and promos that are charming and heartwarming. Here are just a couple of them:

This may be the most beloved Interstitial that a network ever did. During the 60’s, CBS-TV used this very simple pen and ink animation to capture the sound of Christmas.

Local stations used to do their best, as well, with spots and promotions aimed at their own audience.

One early example was a holiday special with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra perform a Christmas Concert from the Academy Of Music in 1955, sponsored by the Tasty Baking Co. (Tastykake). It was called THE TASTYKAKE CHRISTMAS HOUR. The University Of Pennsylvania has a webpage for it.

The TastyKake / Philadelphia Orchestra Christmas Hour

The simplest and most lasting memory may have been the variations on the WPIX-TV NYC Yule Log. This was broadcast Christmas morning for a few hours and consisted of a loop of a burning Yule Log coupled with Christmas music. Perfect to unwrap the presents and then fall back to sleep for a little while.

Some of the best remembered Christmas ads are for products that are not normally associated with gift giving. Snacks and beverages have long been the leader in timeless Holiday spirit. Here are just a few ads from across the years. Back soon with more Christmas blog merriment.

Christmas My Way: Day Nine (Caroling)

For those not yet tired of the radio stations playing Christmas music 24/7, lets add to the merriment. A few tunes to move your reindeer hooves to…

First up, a little HAPPY HOLIDAYS with a Manhattan Transfer Swing. BTW, for those from the Philly area, MT member Tim Hauser is a Villanova Grad..

Next up, some more retro swing with Brian Setzer: ‘ZAT YOU SANTA CLAUS?

Now, let’s dive way back to the great Jazz Guitarist Django Reinhart: CHRISTMAS SWING

A little fun version of the Bing Crosby/Andrews Sisters classic version of JINGLE BELLS by my brother Tommy;s favorite, Barry Manilow

And a classic cool down from Nat King Cole: